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Forgotten Mech Games
As a pure Battletech enthusiast, games like Mechwarrior, Mechcommander, and Mechwarrior Online are titles I’ve played repeatedly. Mechs in those games are slow-moving powerhouses of bristling weaponry that always find a soft spot in my heart. But, of course, there are plenty of other mech-related games and universes out there.
Let’s look at the top forgotten mech games that aren’t in the Battletech Universe.
Robotech: Battlecry [Xbox]
Released in 2002 for the Playstation 2 and the original Xbox, Robotech: Battlecry was possibly one of the best video game representations of a Veritech fighter ever produced. Many in the Battletech fandom have always seen the Robotech universe as close cousins (if not just plain copies) of the Battletech mech offerings. However, while the Wasp and the Phoenix Hawk were Battletech’s version of the Veritech fighter, no game captured the look and feel of this transforming mech like Robotech: Battlecry.
This game puts the player through their paces by showing the value of each of the three forms the Veritech fighter can take. As a mech, it can utilize its mobility. As a plane, it can use its trademark missile swarms. Finally, as a hybrid vehicle, it can utilize its ability to hover and still have speed and mobility. Put all of that together with an art style that matches the Robotech anime series, and you have a game that desperately needs a sequel or reboot!
Born out of the days when there were tons of great JRPGs on the Playstation console, Xenogears was a gem. Set as the genesis of the now mech-less Xenoblade Chronicles series, Xenogears was an RPG that boasted of a great soundtrack and an even better story. As the game rolls along, you and your heroes battle loads of enemy mechs in a turn-based fashion. Not only was Xenogears considered the best RPG of the year by various publications, but it was also critically acclaimed with high scores across the board. It is a shame that this game has not seen a remaster or reboot.
Titanfall [PS4, Xbox One]
Developed by the makers of the early Call Of Duty games, Respawn Entertainment leaped with Titanfall. Titanfall attempted to merge the fast pace of FPS games with mech combat spectacularly. Pilots ran and lept about the field with heightened agility and speed. Pilots would be able to call their mech called Titans down from a dropship above at a certain point in the match. Not only would the pilot be able to leap inside and drive their mech, but they would also be able to command their mech from outside. The mech could defend or attack on its own while the pilot ran about looking for other pilots. The experience was and is still quite unique.
The game and its sequel performed reasonably well and ended up losing favor with gamers due to the lack of content. Whether you were a Mechwarrior or a Titanfall pilot by preference, all players agreed that there was a dire need for more variety in the Titans that could be used in battle. Not only that, there was a desire for larger battles with more players per map. At the time, developers explained that the combination of player and Titan AI would make for a difficult time on the hardware it was designed to be used for. Hopefully, that just means that next-gen is the place for a larger Titanfall battlefield to shine!
While the rest of us Mechwarriors sit and hope for Titanfall to be revisited, Respawn Entertainment can hopefully find a way to reinvigorate and expand the TItanfall universe!
Chromehounds [Xbox 360]
Revolutionary during its day, Chromehounds was a cult classic that didn’t see a lot of popularity. The gameplay was a bit slow, and the controls were infuriating, but with the ideas and the innovation, the game has secured its place on this list.
Where Chromehounds excelled was in its persistent war idea. When you played, you chose a nation to represent and fight for. There were smaller squads within the nation that, as you played, you would play online as. In Battletech, these squads would be like a Regiment, while the in-mission groups would be your lances. Every game you played contributed to a larger war, so victories and defeats meant more than just a K/D ratio.
The nations each had different technologies and weapons you could buy and use for the mechs you pilot. With stress on strategy more than pure action, the mission types would require a variety of different mechs and technologies.
One day, a brave developer should revisit and reboot this series.
Iron Brigade [PC, Xbox]
As a hybrid action tower defense game, Iron Brigade was a fun little coop shooter on the Xbox 360. Battletech fans would instantly gravitate to the weapon loadouts and the use of different tech to help against different enemies or missions. Meanwhile, Iron Brigade managed to make mech combat fast and fun in a way that hadn’t been seen since Mechassault.
Since the game had you defending against waves of enemies approaching from various lanes, this game was designed to be played in a coop fashion. You have a ton of mech upgrade options as well as tech that can be used as defensive towers. As the game progresses, the missions get harder and harder, requiring you to think twice about prioritizing mobility or firepower for your mech. Either way, the action is plentiful, and mech heads will adore the varied loadouts.
Front Mission 3 & 4
In a storyline with nations fighting against each other with giant robots, it is odd that Front Mission 3 was the first Front Mission game to reach the US. Released in 2000 on the PS1, Front Mission 3 was one of many JRPGs that dominated the console’s impressive library of great games. Much like Xenogears, Front Mission 3 was a tactical turn-based JRPG that featured wanzers, mechs. Much like in Battletech, Front Mission required the player to pay attention to the wanzer and its loadout and the pilot. However, the difficulty was modest as you were forced to strategize and use tactics to position the right mech for the job while avoiding significant damage.
Front Mission 4 on the PS2 simply up’d the ante with better graphics and deeper wanzer customization. Only the die-hard mech fans would be able to manage to balance weight distribution and weapon systems for the wanzers in this game. Much like the previous game, Front Mission 4 required strategic decisions over arcadey action found in most other mech games on this list. Still, Battletech fans would drool over the customization despite the drab grey paint jobs all wanzers had.
These games are definitely just the tip of the iceberg. Franchises like Gundam, Armored Core, and others also provide their mech action to speak of. There are even quite a few mobile games featuring hot mech action! Sound off here if there are more that you know of![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]