Cons: Some players on live don't know how to rethink their team strategies
The Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Xbox Live is this a must have title
Introduction I've owned MechAssault 2 since it first came out and I can honestly say that I've enjoyed it far more than Halo 2. While Halo 2 got all the marketing and hype, MechAssault 2 easily slides in as the better Xbox Live game. This is truly a 2.0 release
What's new The new features of MechAssault 2 are new vehicles, new 'Mechs and new maps. While this doesn't seem to be that revolutionary, it really is. If you are a MechAssault fan, prepare to play in new and different ways.
Single Player The campaign in MA2 begins where MA1 left off. The entire original cast is back, but now you'll notice much better cut scenes, better animation and higher production values. The story is decent, but remember this is a game: The story is glue that binds playable sequences together, to bring the player into the game and entice him to play. The core base of your player is a pilot. This is just you running around with no armor. The pilot is a means to get in and out of 'Mechs. But there's more. You'll need the pilot to do stealth runs, hack computers and plants bombs. But be careful, you have limited health as a pilot! You'll get chance to fly the VTOL: The most versatile vehicle in the game. While the campaign allows you to use it, the true value of the VTOL does not appear until multiplayer. However, the campaign does give the player a taste of things to come such as picking up tanks, dropping off salvage, making bombing runs, carrying battle armor... Oh yeah, the Battle Armor.... The BA is not like the elemental in MA1. The BA is far more advanced, boasting a laser and a high power mortar. In addition, the BA has a claw which allows the player to making swiping close range attacks, attach to the VTOL for speedy getaways, and to use with the jumpjets to climb buildings. And best of all, you can use it to attach to enemy 'Mechs. Doing so brings up the Neurohack interface: Press the right buttons in the right order and you'll eject the 'Mech pilot leaving the "mech empty and yours for the taking! The graphics and sound in MA2 are breathtaking. If you thought the explosions in MA1 were good, wait until you see them in MA2! Not only are there many effects, the ground and buildings take on a warping effect which essentially draws in everything around it as the explosion creates a sucking vortex in the air. The music is hard-driving rock, so if you're into that, the great. If not, you might want to turn it down except for the 2 bosses. Papa Roach and Korn contributed music to the game and they are very well suited to the levels in which they are heard.
Gameplay Those who have played MechAssault 1 will feel right at home with the controls and gameplay of MechAssault 2. While the 'Mechs have been slowed down to better indicate their relative size, the control scheme is the same. For those new to MechAssault, the controls are very easy to learn as is most of the campaign missions. The buildings are all new graphics and much better looking than in MA1. The environment is completely destructible and many buildings offer a gorgeous 2-stage destruction. Destroy the first stage and you are left with a smoldering, scaffolding raining down rubble and fire. Keep going for the final destruction and watch the earth shake. Truly impressive.
Multiplayer MechAssault 2 is hands-down one of the finest Xbox Live games. While it supports split screen and System link, the real bread and butter is Xbox Live. Supporting 12 players in a slew of game types including destruction, CTF, base war, Snatch it, and more, MechAssault 2 is the most fun youll have on Live. MA1 fans beware, the changes from you usual play are different. No longer do you get to choose your Mech beforehand each map is pre-populated with Mechs and vehicles. This, however, is a good thing. One of the downfalls of MA1 was going into a game and seeing everyone choose either Madcats, ragnaroks or Atlases. This will require every player to master all the vehicles and Mechs in the game. And since you start off as a pilot with the race to get in vehicles, you may not get the Mech you want even if it is available! This game makes you play smarter and more diverse. Of note is the distinct sense of scale the pilot provides. In MA1, the relative speed of the 'Mechs never gave you the true impression of how big these 5 story behemoths are. This is all changed in MA2, as being a pilot and a battle armor now give you a sense of scale. The 'Mechs are absolutely HUGE in this game and the sense of scale has finally been achieved better than any other title in the MechWarrior universe. Much like other team games such as Battlefield and Tribes, MA2 has specific roles and you will need to master each of them. The roles are as follows Mechs: The main vehicle of the game, these are the brutal destruction machines that make up the staple of the game Battle Armor: Use this to Neurohack other Mechs to steal their ride. But watch out! They can buck if you if theyre faster than you! Also important for CTF or snatch it games. Attach to the VTOL, ride over to the flag, grab it and the hop back on to the VTOL for a quick getaway. Tank: Featuring invisibility through cloaking and a high powered sniper cannon, the tank is perfect for taking out Mechs from a distance. Power up the cannon, and zoom in on legs and you will nearly always knock the feet out from even the heaviest of Mechs allowing your teammates to pummel him while hes down. VTOL: He who masters the VTOL will rule the game. The VTOL is a support vehicle through and through. Use it to grab power ups from the VTOL pad and deliver them to your comrades in arms. Pick up tanks for a flying sniping machine. Pick up the other teams tanks and carry it away so they cant use it. Carry up to 2 battle armors into a fight or to grab cores. Pick up bombs from the VTOL pad and carpet bomb the enemy in a vicious attack. The choice is yours and your use of the VTOL is often the determining factor in who wins and who loses. POV turret: This stationary turret has a high powered laser for medium range combat or lets you switch to POV missiles mode. Fire the missile and you switch into a first person view of the missile! You can steer the fast-moving missile directly into enemies or detonate it near them for splash damage. All while at the relative comfort and safety of your base! It should be noted that MA2 features Live 3.0 features such as clans and advanced real-time stats available at http://www.mechassault2.com.
Conquest As if good old MP was enough, the folks at Day 1 Studios have also given us a mode called Conquest mode. This is a perpetual universe made of planets owned by one of several houses. You must join a house and fight to turn planets to your house. If you like Massively Multiplayer games and Mech games, this is your cup of tea! In order to turn a planet to your side, youll need to win games of each game type. So make sure you are proficient at each game type and not just Destruction.
Conclusion If you are a fan of MechAssault 1, you need to get this. If you are a fan of team strategy games, you need to get this. If you are a fan of perpetual universe or Massively Multiplayer games you need to get this. This is the most fun youll have online through Xbox Live. The diversity of game types, strategies, and vehicles will keep you playing this game long into the morning hours.
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About the reviewer
Jeffrey Kafer (jkafer)
Voice over artist specializing in audiobook narration. Hear more at http://audiobook-voice-over.com/ and http://JeffreyKafer.com
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MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf continues the massive destructible environments, intense combat and addictive online multiplayer gameplay that gamers have been praising since MechAssault first hit Xbox. Continuing in the 31st century, MechAssault 2 allows gamers to encounter entirely new experiences in the epic BattleTech world. This third-person action/shooter game defines immense destruction taken to another level, as each environment in the game's five worlds is fully destructible. In MechAssault 2, you're the man, not the machine. For the first time ever, you'll now have the ability to get in and out of your ‘Mech to experience warfare up-close and personal. Attach to ally and enemy ‘Mechs, scale walls, or hitch a ride on a VTOL aircraft. With BattleArmor, you can hijack enemy ‘Mechs and use them to help your teammates rain down destruction on opponents.