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Mechwarrior Tactics video shows two hours of the mech lab and hex-based combat


Till now we’ve learned little but the barest of details about Mechwarrior Tactics. It’s clearly trying to do for Mechcommander what Mechwarrior Online is doing for the Mechwarrior series, namely converting a relic of gaming excellence into a modern free-to-play game, but what depth the Tactics will have has been under wraps.

Finally, many questions about how the game will play, look, and work have been answered in a two hour video showing the game’s beta.

The video begins in the mech lab, showing how your squad of walking battle tanks are represented as cards. Each mech card has a combat value and details about built-in weapons systems and customisable slots, but essentially, you’ll have a maximum combat value for your deck for each mission and you can select your cards to go for numerous low score mechs or a couple high power, high score mechs.

The customisation has clearly been simplified from the depth available in the tabletop game and older Mechwarrior titles but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The hard point system streamlines your customisation options, speeding up squad loadout preparation – it puts the onus on getting into a fight, not spending all your time in menus. This is a good thing.

Once in combat the game has a colourful, almost cartoon style to its simple geometry and textures. The style nicely separates it almost entirely from Piranha Games’ high fidelity, Cryengine-powered Mechwarrior Online. At about the 32 minute mark we learn how heat and coolant systems are present in the game (wouldn’t be Mechwarrior without it) adding a layer of depth to the turn-based combat; you’ll always need to be aware of the placement of your mechs in regard to their heat levels – a mech caught in the open after it’s had to shut down its onboard computer due to firing pulse lasers too long is a mech that’s about to get riddled with bullets.

Combat doesn’t look dissimilar to the recent XCOM remake. There’s the core movement and attack phase but also the various special abilities each unit in your squad commands. Plus, line of site, cover, and symmetrical maps all make an appearance.

To get into the closed beta for Mechwarrior Tactics you’ll have to buy into the game’s Founder program. Otherwise, it’s playing the waiting game till its free-to-play launch.

Cheers, PC Gamer.