Early ‘BattleTech’ Footage Reminds Me Why I Love Mechs

The crowd-funded reboot of the fan-favorite series looks a lot like XCOM, but with giant robots.
August 4, 2016, 7:19pmUpdated on November 7, 2016, 8:49pm

Last year, Harebrained Schemes raised over $2.7M on Kickstarter to fund the creation of a new, tactical BattleTech game. Today, the studio released the first gameplay footage for the game—and now the rest of my day will be spent thinking about giant robots.

In this "Super-Pre-Alpha" gameplay demo, some key members of Harebrained's team offer a look at the new game's tactical combat gameplay. Like Harebrained's recent Shadowrun games or the super successful XCOM series, BattleTech is a turn-based tactical combat game, but what seems to separate it from the rest is (of course) the giant mechs. The battle between massive walking tanks plays out in the valleys and canyons of a mountainous forest, and even though it's only a five-on-five fray, the size of the combatants give the fight a real sense of scale.

This first look video does a good job of communicating how the unique characteristics of these mechs are represented in the gameplay. Unlike athletic shadowrunners, battlemechs can't simply turn on a dime, so you need to manage their momentum if they want to move tactically. Once you have the drop on your opponent, you'll also have to manage the temperature of your units—fire too much, too often and you'll overheat. As in the classic MechWarrior and Battletech series, the mechs here also take damage according to where they happen to be hit—a leg hit can slow down even a speedy machine, and a direct hit to the critical head unit will knock down even the massive Atlas unit.

Like the video says, this is an super early look at the game, and BattleTech won't be releasing until sometime in 2017. But what's here has made sure that I'll be paying close attention to whatever comes next.

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