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Game Over Online ~ MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf (c) Microsoft Game Studios

MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf (c) Microsoft Game Studios

Published: Wednesday, October 27th, 2004 at 07:09 PM
Written By: Jeff 'Linkphreak' Haynes

Ah, I love the smell of burning mech in the morning…

When MechAssault was unleashed on Xboxes two years ago, the Mechwarrior universe finally made a successful jump to consoles. But this was no simple port of the classic battle simulations found on PCs; instead, console owners received a responsive, easy to pick up action title with a great plot, explosive gameplay and tons of replayability. What furthered the popularity of the game, however, were the extras downloaded from Xbox live, along with a thriving multiplayer community that challenged even the most veteran pilots. If there was a game that begged for a sequel, this was definitely at the top of the list. Well, looks like your holiday wishes will be answered as MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf will power up gamers this December 28th.

The plot builds off of the first title, although you don’t really need to have played the first to get into the storyline. The game starts on the planet Dante and focuses a small strike force of the Wolf’s Dragoons. Major Natalia Kerensky handles many of the operational details, controlling intel and oversight of missions. Lieutenant Foster handles the retrofitting of equipment and the maintenance of mechs. The player assumes the role of the nameless pilot who commands the hulking Mechs in combat. On a salvage mission on the planet Dante (which was also supposed to be a bit of R&R for the weary fighters), Foster discovers a data core which he uses to build a new kind of battle armor. The team has very little time to test the new equipment, because the planet is suddenly attacked from space.

In their haste to get off the planet quickly, the team scrambles the experimental battle armor and sends you out into the midst of the warzone. As one of the newer features of the game, the Battle Armor is essentially a smaller scale mech (quite similar to the Elemental armor for Mechwarrior fans) and packs both a pulse laser and mortars for weaponry. It also has jumpjets for additional mobility, allowing the player to get additional height on their targets or explore their surroundings quickly. The Battle armor also has a claw, which has multiple uses: First, it can be used to latch onto friendly mechs and VTOL units to hitch rides. Second, it can be driven into buildings or other surfaces to provide a temporary ledge that you can use to propel your self higher up a vertical surface. However, the third, and possibly most interesting is the ability to perform a mechjack by attaching yourself to an enemy robot. By pressing buttons in sequence, players can eject opposing pilots from mechs, giving them a free ride to walk around in.

In fact, there are many more vehicles that you’ll be able to commandeer in Lone Wolf than before. In the first game, you’d commonly run into around nine robots. By contrast, there’s at least 30 separate mechs from light to assault classes, along with the option to leap into tanks, turrets and VTOL crafts. This isn’t restricted to the single player either; Most, if not all of these are carried over to the ten multiplayer game types in Lone Wolf, which also dwarfs the four from the original. While all four return, there’s also modes like capture the flag, Snatch it! where you have to capture data cores, and Base War, where you have to destroy an opposing team’s base generator. There’s also the incredible and totally separate online Conquest Feature, which will promise ongoing online competition between the Houses of the MechWarrior universe for control of the galaxy. Not only will this have continually updated war stats, but the developers are promising the availability of e-mail updates to constantly provide you with information on the progress of your side.

While the first MechAssault game was incredible, the early version we received promises that Lone Wolf will easily surpass that title. You’ll see plenty of primary and secondary explosions that literally shake the screen, along with massive towering mechs that truly impart a sense of scale to the game. The voice acting is great as well, and looks like it will definitely draw players in when they suit up for battle this December. Check back for a full review!

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf for the Xbox? Talk to us!

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