Review by KChang

"Definitely a step in the right direction, but it's too short and AI too stupid!"

Mechwarrior 3 is a worthy successor of Mechwarrior franchise. With superior graphics, plenty of mech configuration options, and multiplayer options, this game is definitely a step in the right direction. On the other hand, its extremely short single-player campaign (only 20 missions), dumb AI (reliance on triggers and predefined patrol routes), and bad inventory management screens makes half of the game quite frustrating.

The graphics in MW3 is definitely state-of-the-art. The mechs limp convincingly when damaged. They fall down and get back up. They even leave footprints behind! The ability to change paint jobs (though just choices from several different schemes) helps in a sense of immersion, though it still can't match Starsiege's custom paintjob (edit your own).

The terrain that you fight in are limited to the included maps (not that many). The terrain is fully deformable. You can reduce a hill down with repeated missile salvoes.

The mechs are fully configurable, with a full range of IS and Clan weapons and techs available. On the other hand, the interface could benefit from a some notebook tabs so one does not need to scroll up and down just to see what's available when the list gets long. It is quite possible to change the mech's characteristics completely, if you have the parts.

The game is also compatible with multiplayer services like MS Zone or MPLAYER, though I've never tried it.

On the other hand, with only 20 missions, the game is extremely short, and most are very easy due to dumb AI.

AI relies on trigger points. As long as you don't activate the enemies, they won't take any actions toward you unless you get too close or hit them. This means you can summon your MFB's for repairs just outside the enemy base and they won't bat an eyelash, and other idiocies.

The inventory management is also horrendous. Instead of sorting the items available by name, like in the mech design screens, the MFB inventory screen is sorted by when you first decided to keep this item in the MFB. This leads to completely UNSORTED list of weapons and ammo, making it virtually impossible to find how much ammo you have for each weapon, and deciding how much to keep. It sure doesn't help when there are multiple sizes of each weapon, each requires their own ammo packs (for example, LRM5, 10, 15, and 20). Add the Clan version of the weapons (fortunately those can use normal ammo packs) and the mess is virtually impossible to decipher.

Finally, there's the complaint that somehow you aren't doing much. In MW1 you're out to avenge your family heritage. In MW2 you're trying to make your way up to Khan. In MW3, you're just a lieutenant in Eridani Light Horse, an elite unit... No promotion or bigger stakes. So what?

All in all, MW3 is a worth successor, but it has its own share of problems to keep it from being a true classic. Fix the problems, and MicroProse could have a great game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/03/00, Updated 11/03/00

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