Specific Ratings

Learning CurveA-
Replay ValueA-

Pros and Cons

  • Exciting Xbox Live multiplayer
  • Fairly faithful to original MechWarrior specs
  • Free downloadable content
  • Nice graphics
  • One of the most played Xbox Live games
  • Some singleplayer missions can be difficult
  • Singeplayer campaign can get boring
  • Only 8 people to an Xbox Live server
  • Not many rookies anymore on Xbox Live

MechAssault (Xbox)

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It has a fun singleplayer campaign, but you're really missing out if you don't play this one on Xbox Live



When gamers are asked about the best Xbox titles, they probably think of newer games such as The Chronicles of Riddick or Ninja Gaiden. One game, however, was released early in the Xbox's run and still continues to be a favorite among gamers. I'm talking about MechAssault, which has the distinction of being the second-most played game on Xbox Live. Borrowing from the famous pen and paper RPG, MechAssault brings gamers a new version of the famous MechWarrior series on the PC. This new game is more action-packed and less simulation-based, which may disappoint some of the MechWarrior fans, but it's also helped MechAssault grab a new playerbase on the Xbox.

The singleplayer campaign in MechAssault begins on a strange planet. With your character's drop ship shot down from space and yourself equipped with only a light armored Mech, you find yourself stuck on a strange planet where devotional fanatics of a strange faction maintain their stronghold. Forced to deal with this tyrannical force which has been killing local civilians as of late, you slowly make your way through the game as a one-man army. You steal more powerful Mechs along the way until you can find out who is responsible for the enemy's actions and also repair your drop ship and escape back to the secure confines of outer space.

The gameplay in MechAssault should be no problem for first-person shooter fans. It isn't exactly an FPS, but it plays like it, only in a third-person view. Depending on which Mech you choose at the beginning of a mission or multiplayer match, your Mech is already set with certain weapons. As you explore the map and kill other Mechs, you are allowed to pick up salvage and upgrade the weapons and armor on your Mech. The more you play, the better you get. Often time, Mech battles become hide and seek matches with Mechs quickly diving for cover once they launch off a salvo of missiles or lethal PPC cannons. Whichever environment you fight in, the game does a nice job of displaying the size of your Mechs. Skyscrapers and cars are quickly leveled as you fight for dominance in urban areas.

While the singleplayer campaign can be fun (but sometimes frustrating), the best way to enjoy MechAssault is to connect to Xbox Live. MechAssault still enjoys a reputation as one of the busiest Xbox Live games and it's never a problem to find a quick match. Servers can hold up to 8 players and the types of games vary. Everything from a popular "Capture the Flag" match to a common "Deathmatch" (better known as "Destruction" in-game) inhabit the servers. There are several types of games and while the previous two are the most popular, it's easy to find another type of game.

Xbox Live can be loads of fun but it's important not to get frustrated in your first attempts to play the game. Right now, many of the MechAssault gamers are vets who have been playing the game for months, if not years, so it will take some practice to become one of the elite players. Xbox Live conveniently tracks the stats for all players.

The graphics in MechAssault are pretty darn impressive. When buildings blow or bridges collapse, the game does a nice job of portraying it. The Mechs are decked out in full detail as well. The sounds of the game rely more on your damage and combat instead of heavy background music. Also, another perk of the game is that MechAssault has a vast library of downloadable content including new Mechs, maps, and game types. The game also has an optional $5.00 pay-per-download content pack, but I wouldn't recommend it as most gamers still play with the free content.

If you're looking for a new intense action-based game and love competing online against other players, MechAssault may be the game for you. It's an easy game to find on the Game Trading Zone and is also in Xbox's "Greatest Hits" collection so you won't have to trade much for it. If you don't have Xbox Live, I'd probably recommend that you leave this one to a rental and trade for it later if you immensely enjoyed the singleplayer campaign. Otherwise, Xbox Live gamers should definitely try and trade for it first. This game is one of the few titles that truly shows how Xbox Live can give extended life to a game.

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