by Microsoft Game Studios
If any title was going to get Xbox Live off to a great start it was going to be MechAssault. Unlike the almost simulation qualities of the PC MechWarrior titles, MechAssault is almost pure FPS action. The idea of getting evolved in a kind of Mech global combat will be a deal clincher in itself for both the Xbox and MechAssault. But what's it like if you, like us, don't have Xbox Live? We've put MechAssault through it's paces to see what it's like as a single player game.
OK let's get the big disappointment right out of the way. The game is not subtitled and you'll be missing out on all the verbal messages that come your way throughout the missions. We looked at MechWarrior Mercenaries a few days ago and it suffered from the same problem. Thankfully it's not so bad a problem as it was with MechWarrior Mercenaries but nevertheless it does come as one heck of a blow to deaf gamers.
The single player game is the campaign. There are no skirmish modes against the AI so once you've finished it that's all there is. There are four difficulty settings ranging from Green to Elite. Even on the easiest of these difficulty settings you're going to have a fight on your hand after the first half dozen missions are over. The story is concerned with the world of Helios. It seems that the citizens of Helios are under threat from the Word of Blake and it's upto to smooth the way for the impending rescue invasion.
Initially you'll be fighting off troops, small tanks and destroying bases but after a handful of missions you'll be heading for the real fun, combating other Mechs. Taking on the Mechs is pure fun. It's difficult when faced with two or more but the battles are brilliant. As you progress through the game you get to control increasingly powerful Mechs, all with their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Initial you'll begin with the Cougar and the Puma but eventually you'll get your hands on the mighty Atlas. Initially there are nine Mechs available to you but for those who have Xbox Live you'll have access to the downloadable content such as extra Mechs and multiplayer maps. The Mechs are very easy to control and if you've played Halo or any other FPS on the Xbox then you instantly be familiar with MechAssaults controls as they are basically the same.
The most impressive feature of the game has to be the explosions, they are simply the best seen in a game. Buildings are destroyed in a very realistic manner and it all looks very impressive. Best of all though even if the most hectic of battles the framerate never drops at all which again is very impressive. Explosions are not the only nice touch either. You can stealth your Mech so as it's invisible and it's rather funny to see nothing but footprints on the ground. The look of the game fits in splendidly with other MechWarrior titles.
We've already mentioned that there are no subtitles in the game, which is a crying shame but that doesn't mean the game is unplayable, it's just that deaf gamers are once more cut off from the story. You are given some brief details before a mission starts and if you press the start button to pause the game you are given a very brief summary of the objectives. A compass which is on the bottom left of the screen, points the way to your objectives and items that must be destroyed are highlighted with pointers over them. Whilst these are nice additions, they don't compensate for the lack of subtitles in the game.
As a single player game MechAssault is impressive, at least it would be if it were subtitled. You can play 2 player multiplayer but obviously this isn't going to compare with the eight player matches that can be had on Xbox Live. If you're a fan of the MechWarrior titles, or indeed FPS games then there is much to like about MechAssault but in terms of suitability for deaf gamers it is not that impressive.
Game Rating: 6.0/10