Review by sorethumbjonny
This game is a pure shot of adrenaline, without the need to dumb-down the action. Contrary to one of the very rare negative reviews for this game that I saw, you DO have to think about what you're doing to be successful in this game. There are several levels where, through trial and error, you figure out which Mechs will work better to get you through the level. Sometimes you will need a fast Mech, sometimes armor is more important, and of course there's always..... firepower. Gradually, you figure out which weapons work best on which enemies, but you also have to balance this with your Mech's heat level. There IS strategy here.
The only reason MechAssault doesn't get a 10 for graphics is because of the Far Cry: Instincts, Quantum Redshifts, and Fight Nights of the world. This game is gorgeous, and while it does fall victim somewhat to the Xbox's tendency for low brightness level, it IS colorful and well-crafted. The explosions are great, the environments vary, and the modelling of the individual Mechs is well done. The attention to the characteristics of the different weapons also really adds to the experience.
I don't have a surround-sound audio system with a nice subwoofer, but wow, would I love to play this game on one. The high-quality, wide ranging sound is excellent. Clear highs, booming lows, everything in-between. THE MUSIC IS AWESOME. Very talented musician(s) involved. Music ranges from atmospheric/ambient to techno to industrial rock, and they are all very good. The music fits the mood of various sequences very well. For instance, you're walking around looking for your objective, and there is this calm ambient music in the background. Suddenly, an enemy Mech emerges, and the music transitions into hard industrial rock. Great presentation.
The sound effects are so well-done, especially the explosions. Little extras, like the sound your Mech makes when it activates its signal nullifier (anti-missile), or the crumbling rock after you take a gauss shot at one, are great examples of how the game is complete and rounded out. Like the graphics, excellent job on the Mechs themselves, and very individualized sounds on the weapons.
The overall gameplay is very good. The bottom line here to me: is the game fun? YES. Varying objectives, many different types of enemies, great powerups that are distributed with just the right amount of frequency so that you don't get a huge advantage, but so that you also aren't left drowning without a life vest. The controls are good and make sense.
A few things that make it not quite as fun as it could be - I wish the levels were a little more open-ended. Don't get me wrong, the levels are large, you can move around plenty, and there are many different places to explore, but the game is guilty of the "walk between these two cliffs" syndrome at many parts. Fortunately, most of the MANY, MANY Mech battles you will have, take place in fairly wide-open areas with many environmental factors to spice up the action, like rocks and buildings to hide behind.
Fun Factor: 10
Combining all these factors, and adding in the intangibles, such as how many times I yell, "YEAH!" after blowing up a Mech, I have to give this game a 10 for Fun Factor.
Overall: 9.5 Action/Adventure can't get much better than this.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/06/09
Game Release: MechAssault (US, 11/11/02)
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