MechWarrior Tactics Previews

A trio of new previews for Roadhouse Interactive and A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games' turn-based strategy/RPG MechWarrior Tactics are ready for your scrutiny, courtesy of last week's Game Developers Conference.

The three main tenets that the development team is building the game on are collection, customization, and combat. Collection comes by way of STACs. STACs (or Surplus Tech/Armament Containers) are you bread and butter when it comes to creating your mechs, essentially working as weapon and armor loadouts that can be customized before each mission you embark on. You can use them to beef up the general stats on your vehicles, or give them specific boosts that the battle might call for. You'll collect resources for STAC creation frequently by winning missions, but those who are simply looking for a quick and easy way to customize their mech would be able to do so with real-world money.

Customizing your mechs is all done through the Mech Bay, where you can upgrade various vehicle types, including Jenners, Hunchbacks, Atlases, Spiders, and the traditional 325. Missions are 4 on 4 (Lance vs. Lance) affairs, and unfold on a familiar hex-based grid.

The Escapist:
After you've assigned moves and attacks, the next few seconds of combat plays out in a real time cinematic. The interface disappears as the camera zooms in to follow your mechs as they run and jump across the battlefield and unload fire on their enemies. Missiles arc up and out, smashing into enemy mechs in a fiery explosion. Laser dart across the field, missing their targets and impacting the ground. After the turn plays out, the player returns to the regular interface to plan the next move and attack. The best news is that each of these replays are saved, so you can rewatch the entire battle once it's over.

Throughout the course of the battle, you can earn various rewards, including booster packs, which will contain new items and mechs for you to use in your next battle. You might get an autocannon, or special ammo, or another heat sink, or a stripped down Atlas you can add to your stable. The customization options in the mechlab allow you to not only build the mech you want, but also outfit it with a unique paint scheme or decals. All of this stuff is visible in the game, which not only gives you a nice boost to your vanity, but also lets your enemies know right away the types of weapons you've brought to the fight.

And Games Radar (with an embedded video interview):
Once the chaos of battle ends the next round begins, and the action starts all over again, with a move phase, an attack phase, and another awesome cinematic scene. At the end of the game, all of these cinematic scenes will be weaved together into one video that can be replayed and shared, showing off the full war as it happened without all of the turn-based stuff in-between.

We're sure some of you cringed when you saw the words "free-to-play" and "browser-based" next to each other earlier, though you might want to hang up your old prejudices. Things have changed, and neither of those need to be dirty words any more. The game's free-to-play model is actually exciting, letting players buy booster packs of sorts, which give out new mechs, weapons, and items. These can be purchased with real money as well as in-game currency, so you'll never actually need to throw down cash. The booster pack system also has the added benefit if being really, really fun and addictive, as any Magic: The Gathering fan can tell you.