GameOver Game Reviews - Heavy Gear 2 (c) Activision, Reviewed by - Lobo & Rebellion

Game & Publisher Heavy Gear 2 (c) Activision
System Requirements Pentium 166, 64MB Ram, 3D Accelerator
Overall Rating 85%
Date Published , ,

Divider Left By: Lobo Divider Right

Heavy Gear 2 is the sequel to the original Heavy Gear which was released November ?97 by Activision. This game has been greatly anticipated by most people who enjoyed the first, and with the likes of Mechwarrior 3 released at about the same time, it is obvious that Activision is positive about this game, and they feel that it has what it takes to be even better. I think that Activision?s gamble to release it now may well have paid off.

Taking a good look at the story line, I was quite satisfied. No gaps or holes in the story made it crisp clean and easy to follow. The setting is a distant planet where war is raging on. You are the leader of an elite strike force known as the Stealth Squad, and are given various missions to carry out with examples being: Search and Destroy; Covert Missions etc. You and your team fight in high-tech mechanized units equipped with the most lethal weapons on the planet. The story line is a basic war-tactics-and-combat-situations type which is all you should expect for a game like this.

When I first entered into the game, I was greeted by a graphic and beautiful interface which I find always puts me in the mood for getting stuck into the game. Easy to handle and quick. The basic configuration options were supplied as well as a single and multiplayer section. The single player section was split up into a variety of sub-sections which I thought was a nice added extra to draw me even further into the game. I had no trouble making my way through it and after creating a pilot and reading the briefing information, I was into my first mission of which there are a great amount of. I knew my over clocked Celeron 450 with Voodoo 2 and 64 megs of RAM should handle the game well, and it did. (That was shameless. -ed.) (One thing that people should take note of is that the game requires 3D hardware and does not support software mode.) The game was smooth and enjoyable. I had no trouble with lag or fluency which reflected the low system requirements. The fluency of the interface and the great game speed was a sign of large amounts of effort put into it.

The game is a mix between your normal first person shoot-em-up, and Mechwarrior. However, it is less complicated. There are a range of missions which have to be completed, as well as training missions to teach you the basics before you head off into battle. Thudding around in my large mechanized battle machine gave me a real thrill. The idea of being able to run in one direction, but swivel your torso and shoot things at your side was well put together. The in-game effects are also something which I liked. In the first mission, you arrive at a dark, rainy swamp with claps of thunder and lightning flashing in your face for a split second every now and then. You are given certain targets to search out and destroy which turned out to be great fun. Being five times the size of normal human enemies helped out a great deal. One shot from my multiple-fire rocket launcher, and the poor, courageous human burst open and splattered all over the ground. Something which many action addicts, like myself take pleasure in. I must also add that the shadow effects on the mech are done very well. This is something which I find many companies neglect. The game is also packed with features for all types of people. For the lovers of action, you will not be disappointed. Explosions, gun-firing and mayhem are definitely not one of the game?s weaknesses. For all those lovers of strategy and strategic play, there are a range of commands and controls for crouching, jet-packs, radar, NAV computer and few of the commands being: ordering your group to rendevous at a certain point, or to attack your target or even defend your target. It seems that they didn?t leave out anything in this well thought out game.

When considering the sound of the game, I was certainly impressed. The heavy thudding of the mech?s steps and the cracks of thunder made the game seem much more real. The explosions and screams of pain from dying victims were also the result of achievement in high quality sound effects. Although the game does not support surround sound, it did not make the game less enjoyable at all. With speech, music and great sound effects, I just locked into the game and relished the ground shaking sounds produced at all times.

The controls for Heavy Gear 2 are quite complicated in the beginning and it takes a while before you get used to the large amount of command keys which have to be utilized. You have your regular movement controls, and your mouse for aiming and firing. In addition, you also have to assign a couple more to accomodate for throttle speeds, weapon cycling, Radar, NAV commands, a large range of orders for the other team members and other arbitrary commands which sometimes prove quite useful to have. After you have assigned the keys to your liking and after a few missions, you?ll have no trouble controlling your unit. In fact, most people will find that it is much better to have a wide range of control options and commands. This is why I feel that Activision did a good job in making the controls not too complicated yet not having too little.

Heavy Gear 2 definitely supports multiplay. You can choose from Internet play or IPX/TCP network play. The multiplayer section offers a good range of ways to play such as Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Teamplay and Duels are among the possible modes of play. This is basically all you should expect from a game such as this, and more. Multiplayer games are fun and action packed leaving you blown away. It may seem a little slower than the average chaotic Quake game, but that is not what the game is designed to be like. Here, it offers you the enjoyment of harnessing the power of destructive technology well beyond our future.

Heavy Gear 2 is one of Activision?s finest games. It never let me down in any departments and often surprised me with new, exciting ways of play as well as introducing me to the action and fun-filled enjoyment of this great combat simulation. If you are the type of person who enjoys devastatingly powerful machines and first person action, then this is a game you will enjoy. Activision should feel proud that they have released an awesome sequel, which is not often achieved by other computer game manufacturers.


Graphics (to a small extent)

Rating System
Overall Impression8/10


Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

The last of the big three mech sims has finally made it?s way into the ring to battle for the Clash of the Titans 1999 title. This, of course, is Activision?s Heavy Gear 2. Activision was infamous as the home of the big mech for much of the 90?s. In 1997, that was to completely change, as FASA pulled their license, and Mechwarrior would move to Microprose.

With that said, Activision already had the designers, all they needed was a new idea. Moving away from the big mech and into something a little smaller, Heavy Gear arose from the remains of Mechwarrior 2, in fact, even using the same, somewhat enhanced engine as MW2. I, unfortunately, never had a chance to play the original, so with Heavy Gear 2, I?m a virgin Gear jockey.

The first thing you?ll notice when you get in the game is the graphics. Out of the big three mech games (Starsiege, Mechwarrior 3, and Heavy Gear2), Heavy Gear barely beats out MW3 for top honor. The environments are rich and nowhere near the flat, sparse, lands in SS and MW3. You are surrounded by rolling hills and even trees on some planets, or the vast emptiness as you battle through zero-g in space, or through mining colonies and cities. The atmosphere seems much less desolate and non-distinctive. Modeling is very well done, although it does look a little cartoonish. Heavy Gear draws heavily from the anime style mechs and therefore has a small resemblance to Shogo. While it may have the richest environments, I was somewhat disappointed by explosions and textures. Explosions could sometimes be very unconvincing, although the fire effects were good. Buildings also have that crappy ?break into a bunch of misshapen polygons? syndrome that looks really horrible, with the buildings appearing more like they?re sinking into the ground then exploding. The ground texturing isn?t the best I?ve seen and ends up looking pretty fuzzy. You don?t get the cool footprints in the sand effect like you get in MW3 and SS, but dust clouds and water are both very well done.

The audio quality is also well done, although it?s not overly exciting. Sure, there?s plenty of metallic thunder, but there?s not a huge variety in sound effects. What it does have are crisp and sound great though. It also has plenty of in-game speech, including the beginning cutscene for each mission and various cutscenes within some of the missions. Your squadmates each have a distinct personality, which is rather nice, although it doesn?t really affect the gameplay.

The biggest issue with any mech game is the control. Even though HG2 looks like Shogo, it handles more like MW3, even beyond the complex controls in some respects. The main control addition is the zero-g thrusters. Early on, a lot of buttons had to be pressed just to get where you need to go, not even thinking about fighting someone. Now I?m not sure what kind of joystick might fit well into HG2 since I played with the keyboard, but a flightstick with a throttle and rudders might be able to scale down the complexity of the controls (although that adds a whole new level of configuring the controller). HG2 does come with some preset joystick layouts for quite a few of the more popular sticks, so if you got em, use em. Controls back on earth are a little more easy to master, although it does combine aspects of both a FPS, like sidestepping, crouching, and jumping, with the more traditional mech movements like torso twists on top of left and right movement. It does add a level of superiority just in the design by allowing you to do a lot more than the usual mech game. While MW3 had its little zoom feature, HG2 has a full out sniper mode which can be quite handy at times. I didn?t find particularly the radar system in HG2 all that impressive, but it?s enough to get the job done.

One big difference you?ll find in HG2 as opposed to MW3 and SS, is that your Gear is a lot smaller than a mech. This will make veterans of those series a little distraught at first since you just can?t run into combat guns ablazing. A few hits at close range and you?re a pile of smoking metal. There?s a little more dancing and strafing involved, taking a little more FPS skill to dispatch your enemies.

The core of HG2 is well thought-out, although the storyline just isn?t engrossing enough. When Activision lost the FASA license, they came up with their own background storyline. This brings advantages and disadvantages of all sorts. The primary advantage is that it allows for a more open plot base where different ideas can be played out without offending players of other things on a certain license. The downsides however also have the tendency to drag the game down by not having a huge following and the more knowledgeable backing of a company that spends time dedicating to a gaming universe. This makes creativity come down heavily on the designers of the game and that can lead to an environment more created for the game itself rather than the world around it. Don?t get me wrong, HG2?s storyline has good ideas, but it just doesn?t inspire me like MW3 and SS did.

Heavy Gear also features a decent assortment of multiplayer options, although nothing real unique here when it comes to gameplay. My only major discontent with it is that with a high threat level setting, everyone gets a big gun, and like I mentioned earlier, it doesn?t take much to get killed. One shot, One Kill multiplayer games just aren?t all that entertaining for deathmatching. Of course, you can set your own limits, but if you?re not the server than you won?t have much choice. It works well across the LAN and decently across a modem connection, so no real complaints in the performance department. Multiplayer rounds out the game as a quality title.

Activision has continued the HG saga very well. It?s a beautiful game to look at and with it?s unique controls, it can be interesting to play. I?d recommend HG2 to anyone who?s into mech sims and for FPS gamers who want a little more complicated game of Shogo. While it may not take top score in the metal robot category, it can definitely hold its own. The design is just slick and although the controls aren?t the easiest to master, practice does smooth out the rough edges. I?ll be playing HG2 for awhile (well at least until the addon for MW3 comes out).

Highs: stellar graphics, slick design
Lows: complicated controls, somewhat boring story line

Rating System
Overall Impression8/10


Screen Shots
Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Back to GameOver