Once your unit is configured, it’s off to the battlefield, where you’ll fight other lances. You’ll start off in a PvE environment (you versus AI-controlled units), but as you gain experience, better gear and a reputation, you may start encountering other human-controlled units.
Mechwarrior Tactics is turn based, but with a twist: you issue orders, as does your opponent. When you’re both ready, the orders execute in real time. First, you’ll tell your mechs who to attack.
After issuing attack orders for all your units, you then declare movement.
When that phase is done, and your opponent is ready, all the orders execute in real time. Each set of orders represents a few seconds of actual combat. You get to watch events unfold onscreen, but have no control until the end of the phase, similar to games like Combat Mission or Laser Squad Nemesis.
I sat down with a friend and played through an entire combat encounter. The user interface is slick, and works well. So far the only complaint I have is that the popup when issuing movement orders sometimes obscures enough of the underlying hex that it’s tough to actually click on the hex. Mostly though, the user interface is intuitive to use and works well. During our encounter the lance I commanded offered a mix of slow, heavy mechs and fast, jump-capable light mechs.