Retro Game Review: Mech Commander 2
Released in 2001, Mech Commander 2 remains to be an entertaining foray into the Real Time Strategy genre.
In these times, the Mech Series was at its pinnacle moment, with titles springing up almost yearly with Mechwarrior 4 being the latest then. Mech Commander series put into a new spin into the franchise by allowing players to control a team rather than being a pilot of the machine itself.
The main campaign are divided into 3 separate acts and it tells the story of a mercenary commander that is thrust into a political conflict between three ruling classes, House Steiner, House Liao and House Davion. Without giving too much details away, you begin the game, appointed by House Steiner to bring down rebel movements, similar to how current governments hunt down terrorists,etc. But things gets a bit more complicated from there when the rebel leader was an ex-officer of rival House Liao which uses your attack as an opportunity to justify their actions to engage House Steiner. It is an exciting story of cat-and-mouse and political intrigue mixed into the core tale of a soldier-for-hire that grows a heart. The thing that I found most impressive of the story is that, though it uses the same Full-Motion Video style of Command and Conquer, it is able to develop a tightly wound Sci-Fi story that grips you through all the way to the credits.
Mech Commander 2 share some similarity with the top RTS titles of the day, such as the Command and Conquer series and the Warcraft series, in the sense that the camera is viewed from the top and the game involves mostly a lot of mouse-clicking. Where it defers though is in its approach to game play. Whereas in Command and Conquer for example, the player controls large-scale armies and build buildings, in Mech Commander 2, the player assumes the role akin to an officer leading a platoon. You will be able to first of all, choose your pilots among a roster based on their skill-sets which matches your playing style, after which you will then have to purchase a Mech for them to pilot and lastly a weapon sets befitting for their skill sets.
In combat, you control your pilots through mouse-navigation similar to Command and Conquer with a bar at the bottom of the screen that shows your pilot’s health and Mech Armor levels. Gameplay is fast-paced and due to the small number of squads available, rushing through the fray rarely brings success. Instead, planning is often required and choosing the right Mech for the right tasks are the key to success.
There is no doubt the graphic is top-notch back in their days. One of the few RTS that employs 3D, its lighting and attention to detail, especially on the mechs, makes immersion that much easier. Even today, replaying the game, we can see that the graphics are still serviceable.
A well-packaged game filled with excellent story, engaging game play and beautiful graphics, it is a game that is highly recommended to be played (or replayed).
I cannot wait for a sequel. Someone please, start working on it.
I give this a game an overall score of 5/6