MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries is a great improvement on MechWarrior 2. It also returns to the theme initially introduced in the original MechWarrior: mercenary action. You begin the game as a mercenary taking out contracts in the Inner Sphere succession wars, experience the frightening arrival of the Clans and play through to their first defeat.
The game's graphics engine is basically the same as that from MechWarrior 2 except that the developers have added in some visual effects. You'll see improved real-time lighting when you fire energy based weapons and realistically computed smoke trails when you shoot missiles. Additionally, you get well detailed and visually appealing multiple types of terrain and fairly good mech models you would expect from MechWarrior 2.
Due to the game's setting in this edition, there is a bit more variety in the types of mechs and other items you'll see. In one mission you'll even get to view the world from a ground level perspective as you pilot a very speedy hovercar. Through it all, the game maintains a steady and very fluid frame rate, even the mission with the speedy hovercar. Considering the one year interval between this game and MechWarrior 2, though, it's a little disappointing that more improvements haven't been made to the graphics.
The game's sound effects and voice clips are done very well. Shots and explosions sound quite realistic and add significantly to the overall feel. Unfortunately, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries' music tracks don't meet the other sound effects' high standards. Some of the tracks are a bit catchy but there are quite a few bland songs as well.
MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries successfully combines the great mech simulator combat gameplay from MechWarrior 2 with the resource management aspect of the original MechWarrior and sets that against the timeline of the Battletech universe. The game begins with mechs available in Battletech's 3025 sourcebook and slowly makes newer mechs and equipment available for you to purchase as they're actually released in the Battletech game's timeline. You can even get superior Clan weaponry after its introduction into the game.
Because of the importance the game places on inventory management, you choose from a more extensive list of mechs than was available in MechWarrior 2. But you'll have to earn them somehow, either through purchase or through salvage, a decision that affects how you'll play the game. If you're not going to earn salvage, you don't mind unleashing huge Alpha Strikes that incinerate enemy mechs in one shot. Since your profits rely on salvage as much as the contract payoff, you'll want to aim for head and leg shots, especially against those hard to get Clan mechs. In great mercenary style, though, they're trying to indiscriminately blow you away too, so it makes your life a lot harder than if you just went for the Alpha Strike.
In some ways, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries is a worthy and successful sequel to both MechWarrior 2 and the original MechWarrior. It's a great addition to the series and anyone who enjoyed any of the previous MechWarrior titles will be happy with this game.
Graphics: Although the game does sport some nice effects and improvements over MechWarrior 2, it's unfortunate there isn't more in the way of improvements to keep the game up to date with current graphics (circa 1996).
Sound: The game has some very nice sound effects but has a mix of both good and bad music tracks.
Enjoyment: The game successfully combines resource management with classic MechWarrior 2 simulator combat to provide a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Replay Value: The randomized contracts do provide for some replay but also tend to be quite similar in nature.
The stand-alone follow-up to Mechwarrior 2, Mercenaries puts you in command of a small company of 'mechs whose only loyalty is to money. As there is a brutal war between 2 tribes underway, your goal is to cash in by doing tough jobs for both sides.
Buy and equip your mechs, hire pilots, and fight in a wide array of campaigns against rebels, pirates, the Clans, and even other houses of the Inner Sphere. In the Merc mode you will have to keep an eye on stocks of salvageable material, and use this to designate which Mercs are built next, while Story Mode plays like a straight-ahead action game. Internet options include play with up to 15 others around the world.
People who downloaded MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries have also downloaded:
MechWarrior 2 (Limited Edition), Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, MechWarrior 3, MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, Mechwarrior, MechCommander 2, MechCommander Gold, Jane's AH-64D Longbow Gold
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