Game review: MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, PC, 7/10
Despite having some of the more rabid fanbases in PC-only gaming, top quality mech-centric video games have been conspicuously absent from the public eye for what seems like an eternity.
Gone are the fabulously naive days of PC gaming wherein our wildest fantasies of skyscraper-sized robot deathbringers are sated. Truth be told, mech-suits have been relegated to the realm of stuff too 'nerdy' to warrant a major studio pumping money into. Perhaps Mech stock would suddenly return to vogue if HBO were to announce them as the focus of their newest flagship series? Perhaps the only reason this review is being written is because it's that time of year again where the bottom of the barrel is being thoroughly scraped for new releases?
Nevertheless, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries arrives as quite literally the first numbered instalment in the series since the year 2000. For all that time between releases, you'd imagine that the developers would have tried their damnedest to usher the series in to the modern era with aplomb, but instead we are met with a game that looks dated to the point where it isn't inconceivable that some textures from the previous instalment in the series may have been reused.
Underneath the lackluster exterior, however, MechWarrior 5 impresses from a mechanical and depth point-of-view. Once you get past the (deliberately) clunky control layout, the actual act of manouevering one of the over 50 mechs is incredibly satisfying. The sheer amount of versatility in your mech selection, as well as individual customisation is genuinely staggering.
The mission selection is rather barebones, though there is the illusion of great choice that is very quickly eroded away as you realise that it usually boils down to 'go to X and then completely annihilate Y beyond any possible recognition'.
It must be said, though, that the lack of mission and even environmental variety is greatly mitigated by the huge diversity of mech-suits available.
MechWarrior 5 is not for everyone. Mech games in general may never be for everybody, though they make no pretensions otherwise. You aren't even really supposed to be playing these games without lavish joystick setups that can run into the hundreds of euro.
That being said, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is still an absolute blast should you think yourself capable of investing the time it takes to become anywhere near good at it.