Deep an enjoyable strategy
Table top games becoming digital is something that should be encouraged, taking the mechanics and ideas from these incredible ideas and making them easier for everyone to play is a wonderful endeavour and it is always nice to play a successful one. Battletech is a faithful recreation of the source material and one that does a lot of good with it too, however there is some bad that comes as a result of the commitment to the board game.
So to address the board game aspects, what represents this most accurately is the random number generation of hitting and evading attacks, while there is no doubt that it is all just statistics, there are far too many instances where your attempts of an attack go sailing past an enemy despite a high hit rate, only for them to retaliate with a low hit rate and somehow one shot your mech. Again, naturally it is all just hidden dice rolls here but it is still incredibly aggravating to have your hard work and strategy negated by what is essentially bad luck.
Along with this the battle have a few issues themselves as well, the pacing for example can be painfully slow. While the pace of many strategy games leans towards a slower pace, the time it takes for certain movements to occur in game can be quite grating, which is a shame because when there is a good flow the battles feel fantastic. The camera during fights is also a little off, often while following one of your units you will find your view being botched by a mountain or just another mech. None of this is a deal breaker of course but it certainly detracts from the experience.
Ignoring the above issues, there is plenty of strategy available to the player both in and out of the battles themselves. Starting with the composition of both your team and your mechs themselves, you can build a fighting force comprised of whatever style of units you want in order to bring your own style to the tactics. If you want to build a group of fast moving melee fighters you can, alternatively you can have slow moving long range mechs that trash your opponents before they see you. The variety is immense and the opportunity to tweak everything to your liking, while a little overwhelming at first, is a huge boon to the game itself and really helps it stand above other strategy games in that department.
Battles give a wide range of strategies too, often kiting an enemy into your range is the wisest thing to do, but it is all dependant on what you have available to you. While attacking you have to keep in mind the temperature of your mech, the damage that could befall it as a result of attacking, whether you you should jump jet in, use ranged attack, punch or kick the enemy, where to attack. The list is vast which always makes your choices feel meaningful, which of course makes the RNG so much more annoying. However, ignoring the RNG, the options available to you in each bout are plentiful which makes your victories especially enjoyable.
One of the most impressive elements of the game is in fact in the cutscenes, each one looks handdrawn as though it is concept art rather, they are genuinely beautiful to behold and the slight animation in each makes them a truly standout moment every time they appear. The writing is fantastic as well, the dialogue options are refreshingly realistic despite the fantastical nature of the setting, the voice acting, when it is there, is great as well.
Overall Battletech is an enjoyable if flawed strategy game, often it is held back by parts at its core, of course the things that some find annoying won’t have the same effect on others. The story is good and the game looks great and has so much depth it is easy to get lost in it. There are a few bugs still being worked out though, for example, we had to replay the tutorial twice as after the first instance the game crashed out rather impressively before we could save. If RNG doesn’t annoy you and you can deal with the occasionally bug then the game will be perfect for you, but if you find these things to be too much then it is worth keeping in mind before buying.
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