Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries is a game that I have been waiting for since about 2005. The Mechwarrior series has been all but dead since the last iteration released in 2002, aside from the online multiplayer-only Mechwarrior: Online. There hasn’t been a single-player entry in the series since Mechwarrior 4 launched on PC in 2002. Now, finally, Piranha Games is bringing us giant stompy robots in a single-player game. Originally slated for release in December 2018, Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries was met with a slew of delays, pushing it back to December 10th 2019. Now the time is here to hop in our BattleMechs and take on the review. Reactor: Online. Sensors: Online. Weapons: Online. All Systems Nominal. Let’s do this, Pilots.
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries is a first-person BattleMech simulator/shooter. For those who have no idea what a BattleMech is, it’s a giant bipedal tank. Battlemechs range in size from 20-100 tonnes (and from here on I’ll just refer to them as ‘Mechs) There are four classes of ‘Mechs; Light, Medium, Heavy and Assault. Each has its particular use on the battlefield.
The year is 3015. It is the final decade of the Third Succession War. The four great houses are warring for control of the systems. The houses have been employing mercenary companies that use Battlemechs to fight over territory and resources.
The campaign begins with a tutorial that has you taking out a BattleMech for a test run, to make sure it’s in working order. While out on patrol with your father, your home base comes under attack by a rival mercenary company. After a reasonably short cutscene, your father keeps the enemy ‘Mechs occupied so that the rest of your company can escape. After the tutorial mission, you get thrown into the middle of a star map, and you are free to take contracts from any client.
The bulk of the game is about getting your Merc Company outfitted with good mechs, weapons and hiring pilots. You make money through taking on contracts from various clients. There are several different mission types, so you don’t get stuck doing the same objectives all the time unless you find one objective type that you really like. All the while, you’re trying to track down the people who killed your father and learn why.
Other than the campaign, there’s also an instant action mode, where you can jump straight into a scenario either by yourself or with up to 3 other friends. I’m looking forward to trying the multiplayer with some of my friends after I convince them they want to play it.
Playing Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries at 1080p, using a GTX 970 I rarely get frame drops. It seems to be very well optimized and runs well on my system. The laser effects and explosions are great. When you inflict damage on the ‘Mechs it looks like you’ve melted through the metal. The simulated damage effects are very nice. The ‘Mechs cockpits are finely detailed, and it looks really good when you’re stomping around. They’ve given you a dedicated key so that you can look around freely without rotating the torso and you get to see the cockpit and all the lovely buttons and switches within. Textures in the world are well done, also, but you won’t be spending much time looking at them when you’re trying to focus fire on a 100 tonne Atlas BattleMech bearing down on you with a veritable wall of laser beams.
I always wear headphones when I’m playing games, and the audio in Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries really got me immersed and feeling like I was stomping around in a giant pile of steel. The soundtrack is full of heavy metal guitars, and that really suits the Mecha combat. It’s really fun to stomp around while listening to heavy metal and shredding enemies.
I could spend countless hours playing Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries with friends. The way the campaign is laid out means there’s a lot of replay value. The instant action scenarios add even more game time. In my opinion, Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries has immense value for it’s relatively low $49.99 price tag on the Epic Store.
To summarize: Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries is exactly the game I’ve been waiting almost 15 years for. It ticks all the boxes. It made me feel like a kid again, stomping around in big robots in a sci-fi setting. I couldn’t stop thinking about what ‘Mech builds I was going to try out next, and just couldn’t get enough of the gameplay. I gave Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries the Thumb Culture Gold Award because in my opinion, it’s an absolutely fantastic game. However, it doesn’t quite get the platinum, but only because I know that the BattleTech universe isn’t for everyone (just the absolute coolest people, ha).
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.