Review by Version 2

"Harder than rock."

MechAssault is one of best Xbox Live launch games, additionally hosting a solid single player campaign. As it’s name implies, MechAssault puts you in the seat of a bipedal tank from the 3rd person vantage point to mutilate and destroy.

The first thing you’ll notice about this game is that it’s hard! I’m playing it on Easy and still having difficulty in some of these missions; you quickly learn how vital a role strategy plays in this game. In the single player campaign you’ll be given a list of various objects to complete before moving on to the next level, all of which relying on blowing something sky-high. That in itself would grow trite hastily, but MechAssault adds miniscule things into the foray to keep it fresh. You can topple buildings to crush your foes, lead a stray enemy into the explosion another Mech imparts with its death, or blow the ground out from beneath them when on a bridge.

You have your choice of Mechs prior to each mission beginning, unlocking more as you progress. Each Mech is evenly balanced with a mixture of speed, defense, and offense, along with specific weapons. Despite which, it would still of been appreciated if you were allowed to customize your Mech to some degree, but not necessary.

The combat felt sluggish, but still intense. For the majority you’ll be smashing people flat, and blowing up tanks and such, but where it gets really interesting is when the enemy brings in it’s Mechs. The computer strafes right along with you realistically, never making it easy for you, and your palms with be grimy with sweat after each occurrence. As aforementioned, when one is defeated clear the area before the explosion, or you’ll die. From felled Mechs or structures you can find health power-ups along with various other kinds.

MechAssault’s graphics definitely aren’t the best on the Xbox, but they suffice. One of the reasons for which is probably the fact that you can blow up everything in sight with your various artillery. The miniaturization of enemy tanks really adds a sense of grandiose adventure to the mix, excelling in creating an authentic atmosphere to wreak havoc. Like most things in MechAssault, simple is usually better.

The sound of metal being driven apart in a single flash of light from your missile pleases the ear. Although the music itself won’t win any awards, the sound effects are impressive. From the blast of wind emitted by your boosters to the heavy thud of your footsteps, MechAssault’s ambience is guaranteed. The music does do its role, providing intensity for the action sequences, but its simplicity makes it easily forgettable.

The biggest appeal though, is the ability to play against other people using Xbox Live. You can duke it out on teams or free-for-alls, whichever suits your fancy, using any of the available Mechs. The online aspect is highly addictive; when you’re not playing it or talking about it, you’re thinking about it and dreaming about it.

Unfortunately, I can only recommend this game to anyone with Xbox Live or the ability to get Xbox Live. While the single player is nice, on it’s own the game would fall flat on it’s face. Definitely a must-have for all Xbox Live’ers.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/21/02, Updated 11/21/02

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