Something New – Battletech

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Doing something other than an MMO this week. I’ve wanted to try this game since it came out and finally managed to catch it on sale on GOG for $30ish. I had $35 from when I refunded No Man’s Sky and promptly plunked it down on this beauty.

This is a genre I very much enjoy, but don’t typically play much of these days. It has a lot to do with spending most of my time playing online with friends and family and these sort of titles are pretty focused on a single player campaign.

hes dead jim.png

Unfortunately I haven’t had nearly enough time to do more than a few basic missions. Enough to trigger my next story mission, which I haven’t done yet.

random combat shot 1.png

Combat is pretty much as expected for this sort of title. Limited movement, line of sight, cover, and firing angle are fairly important. If you’re shooting at the left side of the mech then you’re gonna damage the left side of the mech.

heat and stab

There are a lot of various little icons and readouts that seem rather obscure at first, as they aren’t labelled and don’t get a lot of explanation. That meter in the middle, for example, is heat buildup. Weapons fire and jump jets generate heat and slowly fill this gauge up. If it goes past the little marker you start taking internal damage. Heat dissipates naturally as long as you lay off heat generating activities.

The meter on the bottom is stability. I still don’t have a good handle on it, but it goes up as you take damage and if you cross the line I think you get the unstable status. Hard hitting attacks like melee will cause you to fall over when you have the unstable status.

Those little chevron in the upper right are evasion “charges.” If you move a certain amount you can build these charges, up to four I think, which makes you harder to hit. A sort of abstraction of “a moving target is harder to hit.” I learned the value of the sensor lock ability quite early, because among other things it strips a mech of two evasion charges. I can go in with one or two mechs and strip the evasion charges then light it up with the other two.

damage readout

Damage is handle per part. The white meter and white coloring on part indicates armor status. The darker they are the less armor there is. Orange means the armor is compromised and the underlying structure is exposed. This is the poor enemy mech in the image further up. I took both arms out in one shot, poor bugger.

mech destroyed

The next hit didn’t very well for him either.

There is a month upkeep cost associated with both active mechs and the pilots on staff. The starting upkeep is around 250k/month and it starts you with just under 1m, so you have almost four months of expenses to make something happen. It seemed to me that time moved somewhat slower in a game like XCOM than it does in this one. Travelling from one system to another can easily take 2-4 weeks, so it’s wise to plan your jumps accordingly.

misson complete a.png

Mission pay can seem somewhat paltry at times, with this super easy one weighing in around 100k. You can ask for more cash though, you just have to give up some salvage rights. Salvage can be important though, it’s the easiest way to acquire new mechs and weapons.

salvage

While I only got paid 100k for that mission, I got 1.6m worth of salvage. Most of that is the mech pieces. Those things are typically 400k+ per individual piece.

That’s the other thing. If a mission goes sour, it can cost you a small fortune. I bungled one of the early missions and ended up spending about 550k and over a month repairing two mechs that were pretty much toast. I lost a pilot as well. It was an expensive lesson in caution.

shakedown

It also has these little pop-up style events. Not much to it, description of the event, make a choice, it tells you what happens. This is the only one I’ve seen so far.

pop goes the tank.png

I also cannot emphasize how satisfying it is to just walk up and step on tanks. It’s a riot.

That about covers my own experience so far. It feels like XCOM in the sense that there’s always that feeling of wanting to play just a little bit longer. I was staying up till midnight when I was playing it. I had to stop so I could catch up on sleep.

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