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After that, we'll move on to the hands-on previews, starting with PC Gamer:
Inside your spaceship, the Argo, there's a room past the MechBay, navigation console, and other stations where you can examine your budget. Here, everything gets tallied up: the cost of ship upgrades, mech upkeep, and pay for your pilots, doctors, and mech technicians. It's not a granular, sim-like Excel sheet or anything—for example, you set a single, shared pay rate for all your pilots, rather than typing out salaries for each character.
But unlike other games in the genre, like XCOM 2, nearly everything in BattleTech costs credits. Repairing your mechs. Moving your ship on the galactic map. Even using a hyperjump costs extra, like passing through a cosmic tollbooth. Worrying about your bottom line might encourage you to build mechs that don't expend lots of ammo, because every missile or autocannon round you fire in BattleTech costs money to replace. If you're low on funds or underpaying your MechWarriors, you'll also encounter a set of special events on the Argo.
You'll also have to weigh pay against salvage and your reputation with the factions you take missions from. In a 'negotiation' phase before each mission, you have a chance to set how many credits and how much salvage you'd like to earn. Demand less salvage and less pay, and you'll earn more reputation, a resource that will ultimately drive factions to trust you with harder jobs, or offer discounts at stores on planets they control.
A key part of that I liked was how you negotiate terms before each mission, using money, scrap, and personal reputation as bartering chips. You can’t have all three, so you have to decide whether you want more money to pay your crew or more scrap to upgrade your mechs - or less of both so that people will think higher of you later on. It’s a super cool system, and one that doesn’t seem like it will always have an easy answer
I also really like that your character isn’t a faceless commander in all this. Similar to the opening of a game like Mass Effect, you customize your look and choose from a series of backstory choices that help define who you are and where you came from. Then you get to climb in a Mech for yourself and fight alongside the rest of your Lance, the BattleTech name for a squad.
Where the rest of BattleTech’s mech pilots (called MechWarriors) are procedurally generated, building stories and personalities as you actually experience them in missions, it will be nice to have a specific face to connect with in the battlefield. It will also be a bit of a tactical advantage, as your player character doesn’t have permadeath in the way every other MechWarrior does.
And, finally, PCGamesN:
Harebrained Schemes have devised a clever campaign for BattleTech that is part scripted and part procedurally generated. The central story is offered to you as a breadcrumb trail of contracts, all focused on helping a deposed princess take back her throne, but surrounding this type of scripted event are missions that are spawned out of your circumstances. If you help Corporation A against their rival Corporation B, then Corporation A may start offering you better and better paying contracts against Corporation B.
This balance of crafted and generated missions should colour the galaxy you are travelling across, letting your redraw it with the knowledge of personal alliances and rivalries you have formed, and the stories you have uncovered by chance.
Across these missions, your pilots will level up, unlock new abilities, and increase their skills in the cockpit - either becoming masters of a single style of machine, or spreading their experience across multiple builds. Similarly, you will salvage a collection of mech chassis and fittings from the battlefield. In BattleTech, salvage is more important than what you can buy on the open market because you aren’t living in the golden age of humanity; the engineers of your time are not as talented as the mechbuilders that came before them. This mean you can only salvage the best mechs and equipment in the game by first defeating them on the battlefield (so long as you do not damage it too badly).