The sequel to One Must Fall 2097 features a 3D engine with a perspective positioned behind the lead character's shoulder. As in the 1994 original, players select from a list of robots and their pilots before entering a tournament, where they must fight a series of opponents until they emerge victorious. Eight robot types are available, each possessing distinct fighting moves and special abilities. In addition to their rivals, players must be wary of the arenas themselves. The Blade Pit, for example, features circular saws spinning from the ground, while the Canyon's rocky cliffs are home to powerful guns that will fire upon players throughout the match.
Each robot character is controlled by one of over 30 pilots rated in agility, strength, focus, and endurance. Robots are guided across the eight arenas using four directions, while melee attacks make use of six buttons, including a jump button to evade oncoming projectiles such as fire blasts. Various finishing moves are available to reduce a rival opponent's robot to scrap metal, and the glory of victory can be revisited over and over again after recording the fight. One Must Fall: Battlegrounds also features a dynamic soundtrack that changes during battle.
One Must Fall: Battlegrounds is the first game to put players in a position where they have to fight against multiple opponents in arena-style fighting. The fighting is very kick and punch, with players making use of elevations, obstructions, and hazards to put opponents in positions where they may take extra damage. It is almost like a PC version of TV's robot wars. The player will be able to choose from 12 arenas, over 50 pilots, each with their own set of attributes, and 8 robots. The robots can punch and kick, but they are also equipped with heavy firepower special moves, and some will even fly. Each robot also has a few options for it's look on stage.
There are many characters to choose from, each one has strengths and weaknesses. Once you pick your character you choose your class of robot, which don't have any real strengths or weaknesses but have varying types of attacks and moves. I prefer the biggest and strongest, ummm to be just like me!
The arenas themselves are filled with objects that are not robot friendly. In the iceberg level you can find yourself pushed into the ocean that surrounds the arena, which is a quick death. In the power plant level there are the electrified walls and the hovering droids that will shock anything directly under them. These obstacles can be used to help destroy your enemies as well and it all makes the game more fun to play with.
Controlling the robots is done with the keyboard and without the mouse, which is only used for navigating small menus. It actually was a bit hard to get used to as it didn't use the standard movement keys. I did finally adjust the setting to the ever standard W-A-S-D key setup. I also dug out my old trusty Microsoft sidewinder game pad and used it as it was supported. The game pad seemed to lack some axis movement.
The actual fighting was a simple series of punches and kicks with some special move combinations and a couple super moves added in. Many combinations were possible and it really gave me the feel of an old SNES fighting game. The combat was more about evasion than about aggressive attacks. As we're using robots, the punches were a bit slow. I also found proper facing was harder than it should have been. Perhaps some type of targeting feature would have been a welcome addition.
To get into the meat of the game it is best to do some training. This mode takes you to the arena and lets you beat on another robot until you get the hang of the moves and attacks. It added a nice round of clapping when you attack, good for the confidence boosting. It was a great chance to try out any of the combinations and see what they did. This mode is really better than reading a help file as it allows you to be in the real action, hazard free.
The next step was to go into the single player mode, which really is training for the multiplayer mode. Here you rise through the ranks of amateur level tournaments and then through the professional leagues. If you win you gain trophies and status, also along the way you can be challenged for certain other matches. I was challenged twice by other controllers who for some reason wanted vengeance on me; after I won they were eliminated from that next tournament. Before each match there is an almost comic book like exchange of preset words. Different teams verbally abusing each other. It was an interesting feature with sports like smack talking appeal. I must say after playing a few rounds I found myself more interested in the game than the first play. I actually felt it was time to play the multi-player game. This is really the major focus of this game, so now was the time to test all the skills I learned against AI on other human players.
There are 2 games in multiplayer mode, with team-based variations on those games also. Last Man Standing is where the final player alive at the end of each round gets a point, and the winner is whoever reaches the point count set by the servers host. Last Team Standing functions exactly the same, except the group of players that defeats the others first wins. In Demolition, matches are broken down into three-minute increments, with points awarded for most damage delivered, highest hit combo and least damage received. Players respawn in this match, so defeat doesn't automatically lock you into observer mode. Finally, Team Demolition operates just like regular Demolition, except points are distributed according to the group of players that perform the most efficiently.
Well my overall impression of the game was great if you're under 12 years old. Not the kind of game you play if you're a strategy gamer or a high end shooter, definitely a Saturday morning cartoon crowd game. With decent graphics and an easy to understand game play it is a good family game with little actual violence. I would have to say though if I had a choice I would have rather played it on a console system in front of a big screen TV. The graphics were above average. The sounds were very generic as was the music background. The clanging of steel is only fun the first hundred times then it requires the sound to be turned down.
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