One of my favorite new features is the 'ammo conservation' order, which allows you to order your mechs to fire energy weapons only. This saves your precious missile, gauss rifle and autocannon ammo for the more dangerous targets. This is especially useful when trying to clear forest areas with no impact to your ammo stores.
(Way)Point the Way Chief!
All in all the missions are a great balance of fun and challenge, sometimes frustrating but always fun. There is still no in-game save function, which I for one am happy about. MCG is a tactical game and an in-game save function would take away from the tension level and free the gamer from the 'responsibility' of his actions. The missions are not that big where it would take you hours to get back to where you were when you were killed, so there is no need for an in-game save feature.
Personally, I love the fact that the missions can't be saved during gameplay. It causes me to analyze the situation as a commander in the field would and think more tactically. Your tactical decisions will definitely effect the outcome of the battle without the crutch of the Quake quick save/load mindset.
I've surprised myself many times pulling off a mission when I thought I was finished due to mech losses, but I slogged on and prevailed. The black shrouded map is still in place instead of a true fog of war, which has been a sticking point with a lot of people. Possibly we could se FOW implemented in MC2 but it works the way it is now just fine.
I Think We Got 'em!
The graphics are a bit more finely tuned and the new mechs each have distinct movement animations to bring them to life on the screen. The planet Cermak is a foreboding place, complete with vapor emitting release holes and fissures criss-crossing its blast cratered face, volcanic ash and more ruins than in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.
But being an old Star League outpost there are plenty of goodies to be found as I mentioned above, for the patient commanders out there. With some patience you can become the Sebulba of Cermak! All the tools to fight Kotare are readily available to you in these missions; it is completely up to your skill as a commander to take him down.
The only drawbacks to the game are minor but at times annoying. Pathfinding at times is a bit poor even with the waypoint addition.
Adding waypoints for your units should cause them to follow the path you've dictated as closely as possible and for the most part they do, but there are times when you'll hear "I can't get there from here, Sir." Even though there is clear ground ahead of them, you'll sometimes still run into this problem. It's annoying but not a game killer. Again there are no formation commands as had been requested but we hope we can see them in the next release in the series.
Click to continue
Another thing that wasn't added to the expansion pack is the use of direct IP connections for games. While allowing for multiplayer on commercial online services like Mplayer and the MSN Gaming Zone is there and works well, I find it hard to believe that this game doesn't have native IP support built right in.
Now it's Miller Time!
As if 12 new campaign missions, 3 stand alone missions, 6 new mechs and 10 new weapons systems weren't enough, FIT has included 10 new multiplayer maps and above all a most excellent (and much requested) mission editor! The new multiplayer maps are a fun mix and will keep you very busy until more and more user created maps come out in the coming months, an easy thing to do with this very versatile and thorough mission editor.
When I say thorough, I mean thorough. You can do just about anything with this mission editor and do it relatively fast, both single and multiplayer missions can be created with it. You have 2 tile sets to choose from, Port Arthur or Cermak and a whole boatload of terrain features, overlays, structures and units as well.
Up to 45 mechs and vehicles can be placed on the maps and you can create one helluva battle by maxing out the units in the mission. Be careful not to get too free with the units or you'll find yourself creating an
unbalanced mission, mission editing is an art and MCG's editor comes with a palette Picasso would envy!
Budding Artists Rejoice!
With 12 new missions (plus 3 solo and 10 multiplayer maps), 6 new mechs, 10 new weapons, improved graphics and the other refinements mentioned above such as the waypoint system and ammo-conservation order Mech Commander Gold is a must have for the Mech Commander and Battletech fans out there.
For gamers new to the series this is an excellent buy. At $29.99 you can't go wrong (there is a $10 rebate for previous owners of Mech Commander as well). Visit Dropshipcommand.Com and post your comments, suggestions and ideas to the board for the gang to hear. With continued input from MC fans and continued open dialogue with the developers the MC series will only continue to get better!
Core Rating: 80 (correction from original score of 90 on MC, it's not an overly complex game)
- Gameplay: 100
- Graphics: 90
- Sound: 95
- AI/Intelligence: 95
- User Interface: 95
- Fun Factor: 100
- Learning Curve: 1-2 hours and you'll be making scrap metal!
Overall Rating: 96
For overall excellence and replay value, we award Mech Commander GOLD a "Top-Pick!"
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