Gear Up for MechWarrior 5: Clans

MechWarrior 5: Clans Preview

While the idea of hulking, human-controlled mobile death machines dates as far back as H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, the more recent concept of mechs dates from post-war Japan. Fast forward a few decades and lots of mech-inspired fiction, anime, and games and you arrive at the BattleTech pen and paper franchise. Wildly popular, BattleTech made the leap to video games with MechWarrior, which has legions of fans. A spiritual successor to 1995’s MechWarrior 2, MechWarrior 5 and its new iteration, Clans, aims to focus on the human inside the machine.

Oh, the Humanity

MechWarrior 5: Clans is a five-person cooperative PvE action game with a stronger emphasis on telling a story through its human characters. You play as a young pilot, newly minted from the Academy and ready to save the world. Immersed in the lore of the BattleTech desktop game fiction, MehWarrior5: Clans takes place during the Clan Invasion of the Inner Sphere, a particularly tense and important period of conflict. Four other characters are in your squad, playable by either AI or humans. At a recent preview event, the developers emphasized that, left to their own devices, the AI was autonomous and perfectly capable of holding their own.

While we only saw a short slice of narrative and gameplay, it was clear that the developers want to tell a more emotionally varied story. The voice acting was quite effective, although the tone and dialogue stayed pretty true to the military action genre. It left me genuinely curious as to where the characters and story would go.

Make Way for Mechs

Kudos to Piranha for giving MechWarrior a bit of humanity, but of course the focus is still on intense battlefield action. The build we saw was an early one, but all the trademark MechWarrior 5 elements were there. In contrast to the infinitely more nimble mechs in Armored Core, the mechs in MechWarrior still feel like the 40-foot-tall war machines that they are. They can hit targets from across the battlefield, use a variety of sensors to pinpoint the enemy and it’s easy to direct your squad as combat unfolds.

The developers promise that MechWarrior 5: Clans will have, like the previous game, a wide range of biomes in which to fight during the six-act campaign. In large part, the environments and Unreal Engine graphics looked similar to MechWarrior 5, but controls have been changed and refined a bit. Combat effects and the destructible terrain make battles feel visceral and dynamic.

Both the pilots and the mechs will have extensive upgrade paths, a large number of weapons, and armor choices. The potential for playing with a squad of friends, each with a specific build and destructive power sounds like a lot of fun. Of course, that’s always been true of the MechWarrior franchise.

Clan Up

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries gave the series a strong, new identity and infused it with energy and many new fans. MechWarrior 5: Clans is more of what those players loved, but bigger and made richer with a more fully realized story. The BattleTech lore is deep and it’s great to see even more of it in the game. I’m looking forward to seeing what the full campaign has to offer later this year.

Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.

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