XBOX REVIEW: MECH ASSAULT 2: LONE WOLF

I know Stew already reviewed this game. I just wanted to write my thoughts about the differences from the first one and the online play.

As many of you know, MechAssault was one of the very first games for the XBL service. While the overall game was impressive the lobby and some of the online features just flat out sucked! You spent more time trying to find your friends than in the actual game itself. So I am going to talk about what I thought was some of the major things that struck me as being great in the sequel and the online features. Day 1 did a fantastic job with the controls which makes this a sequel that will not disappoint any fan of the first one. While this one technically was released in late December, it already has my attention for a Hoagy award in 2005.

Is LoneWolf that good? In short yes, it is. I will go further and say it is one of the best sequels for the Xbox to date. Now Stew already explained the single-player mode and I agree it is about the same in length as the first one. It just has so much more added that makes it stick out. The sound is great and as Stew said the Mechs look more realistic. Throw in the new features of jacking a Mech and running around and being able to create havoc without a Mech and this one is great. I found the music to fit and the voices well done. I would have liked a little more choices in the music but it does fit the game. It also has some great graphics and is highly addictive.

Now on to the online mode and my hat goes off to Day 1 in listening to the fans of the first game. You can see if a friend is playing the single-player campaign or is in a game. You can even send messages both voice and text. Everything is simple to use and in no time at all can you send out invites and have up to 12 of your friends in one lobby ready for a battle. The host now has options that the first game lacked including complete control of getting rid of unwanted players. Not that I am a fan of not allowing new people to join in. If you are not new to online gaming on the Xbox, you know that there are a few players who love to try and ruin your fun. This is no longer a problem so now there is a way to find your friends, get rid of bothersome players and have fun. The lobby won't disappear after the game is over and the host can change maps and even game types without having to open a new lobby. If you're looking for a game to jump in and play alone, they made improvements in that area as well. Simple to use is not frustrating and even those who may not have played the first game will be able to catch on quickly. I expected some lag issues since the game offers a lot of choices including the chance for 12 players, several different characters and options for the looks of the outfits. I am happy to say they have the new lag meter that was later added on the first game and shows how strong the host's connection is. There really were no lag issues at all that I found and the first night there were a lot of players on. I also found that the old players were offering help to the new players; something I have to admit is not common online play. It seemed everyone just wanted to have fun. The game does have some new things that take time to learn which adds to the fun. To be honest it is the best set up I have seen for any online game.

Is Mech 2 perfect? Of course not, however, it shows some great new additions and a mix of what made the first game so popular. The single-player mode is interesting. The online modes offer plenty and more to come with new download content. If you were waiting for another reason to buy this game, you now have it, plain and simple. The 2-disc set also includes some neat extras like music videos, G4 featurettes, and the making of the game. It is all packaged in a pretty nifty dual disc case that has a neat foil effect. The game really surprised me. After hearing how great it was going to be, I had some doubts. After playing it, I can say that the game lived up to the hype. While not as hyped as other games, Mech 2 delivers in a big way.

Review by StewXX
System: XBOX
Dev: Day 1
Pub: Microsoft
Released: Dec 2004
Players: 1 - Multi-Online
Review by Stew XX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
5
MUSIC/FX
5
VALUE
4.5

If you like giant robots, and blowing things up, then you'll love the MechAssault series of action games. It also won't hurt to have a high-powered sub-woofer in your Dolby Pro Logic II system to literally feel the effects of the explosions.

MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf is the sequel to the highly popular MechAssault which was considered by many to be game of the year in 2002. The wait is over. This version provides much of the same but it does so with better graphics, more features, more depth and an incredible variety of online games. In short, it's a blast.

Let's dispense with the storyline. Presented in cutscenes narrated by an annoying female commander, you will be presented with each mission's objective which is ultimately to, once again, stop the Word of Blake. If you've played the original, you know the drill. Find a reactor or some other enemy installation and blow it up while taking out as many enemy guards, mechs, tanks, choppers, etc… as possible.

Unlike the original, the cites don't all look alike. There is a lot more detail to this game which includes better looking destructible environments and more refined mechs. They animate very smoothly. More like dinosaurs from Jurassic Park than stiff moving bots. Expect a lot more bang for your buck in the visual department with lots of explosions and other great effects.

There are nearly 40 mechs. All of the old favorites are back and then some. There are six new mechs as well as tanks, turrets, VTOL and BattleArmor. Mechs are more varied this time around. There's at least a few to choose from for each mission, depending on your preferred combat style. Mechs can also be customized to a degree with the acquisition of Data Cores which may be used to outfit your mech with various shields, guns, missiles and abilities such as stealth, speed and increased power. This wealth of features gives the game more depth in that there is more strategy involved regarding the customization of your mech for each mission. Even more depth is required to use these weapons and abilities in any given situation.

Another neat addition is the ability to mech-jack an enemy mech. BattleArmor is like bot underwear. It's small and light which means you can move fast but it doesn't offer full protection. With the BattleArmor you can climb an enemy mech and by performing a quick button combo mini game, you will be able to eject the pilot and jack the mech. It's a really cool feature but it takes a while for the animation to finish, leaving you vulnerable to attack. This can be really dangerous in the multi-player online modes.

Power-ups can still be found hidden in various places throughout the game. You can also get more ammo, health and other goodies in the wreckage that you salvage after you blow up a compound or cause an enemy mech to go nuclear. There are few things as cool as watching an enemy mech sizzle and crackle seconds before it detonates.

Jumpjets will let you leap over buildings in a single bound. A claw allows you to scale buildings and other mechs. Shields can be outfitted on mechs to deflect damage and cloaking devices allows you to become invisible to the enemy. Target jams keep you off the enemy's radar and anti-missile systems will help stop some heavy attacks. While these features are very useful, you can't always hide behind them. There's no substitute for finesse. You have to carefully maneuver your mech around to avoid incoming while trying to counter attack when the enemy is open. It's the dance of death.

In some instances, I think there might be too many new power-ups. I liked the simplicity of the original game although I think being able to outfit each mech with a few options of your choice is a good inclusion.

The single player mode is about the same length as the original. You can get through it in a few days. Where the game excels is in the online play. There are some 10 different games. Many of them are variations of Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, although you can play many of these variations with teams. Communication via the headset is invaluable for team play as it will enable you to instantly assess a situation and issue new tactics and strategies to your teammates on the fly.

Conquest mode is very deep. It's almost persistent. In it you will travel from planet to planet attempting to take over the universe. It will require the formation of teams and clans and can take several weeks before it starts to swing. At this time it's just starting so I can't say for certain that it will be a great addition but for the first month it's guaranteed to be an adventure.

Metal music is still the preferred medium for the battle soundtracks. Instead of the generic "wrestling" rock of the last game, there are some professional, licensed tunes from bands such as Papa Roach and Korn to help kick things into gear. The various explosions that were the star of the original game are back and more devastating than ever. Crank it up sucker.

Whenever I have people come over to the house that wanted to see my Xbox and Surround System, I always pulled out MechAssault for my demo. It not only looked good onscreen but the sounds are incredible. Not to mention that most people could get the hang of the controls in a few minutes. Unfortunately for MechAssault, I now have a new game for my demo. Fortunately for MechAssault, it's MechAssault 2.

Preview by Chris

Xbox Live has some great games that allow players to play live against their friends. It may be hard to believe that the most played title is still MechAssualt, the very first Xbox live game released. The game has everything gamers love in a game including intense action and plenty of modes and team play elements as well. While the game had a few issues, like the rather simple lobby and some minor glitches, thanks to over 12 different content downloads the game is still the most played of all the Xbox titles. It also has the most downloads and was the first game to offer a premium download.

A game of many firsts for Xbox and it's still gaining fans thanks to a recent price drop. Now fans of the Mech game are getting excited about the sequel and we now have a name to go along with the news. The new game will be called Lone Wolf and will have some brand new features for those who just can't get enough of Mechs in battle.

MechAssualt 2 Lone Wolf will allow players to fight in their Mechs as well as out of their Mechs. Gamers can also "Jack" another player's Mech and take it over to use as their own as well as borrow downed Mechs parts and add them to their own Mech during the battles. The game has plenty of buzz and gamers just waiting to get their hands on this new sequel. It's going to be made by the same team that created the first one and will also offer a deeper one-player mode as well as the intense online modes of play.

Day 1 Studios has added new Mechs, weapons and options and the game is looking great so far. Rumors had the game to be slated for release around the next Anniversary of Xbox live. The game is now slated for a January release. It makes sense since another long awaited sequel Halo is going to be released around this time. More info and details are sure to be unveiled at E3 next week; however, we do have new screenshots of this one and wanted to pass them on. If the screen shots are any indication of what to expect, the game is looking to be great. Stay tune for more info and new screens after E3.

Click For Media
System: Xbox
Dev: Day 1 Studios
Pub: Microsoft
Release: Q1 2005
Players: 1 - 8
Review by Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
5.0
VALUE
4.5
ONLINE
5.0