by Mike Shea on 2 January 2003
I picked up Mech Assault for Xbox Live. Both the professional reviews and the consumer reviews couldn't quit talking about it. My short review, it is a blast. Although Xbox Live is a royal pain in the ass to setup, Mechassault may be the one good reason to do it. While they failed miserably on the usability of the Live installation, they offered many nice features to get you playing with old and new friends alike without a lot of work. My name in Xbox Live is "mshea" if you wish to add me to your friends list.
The game itself is fast paced but doesn't make you feel like you should be playing with a mouse instead of the controller. You could actually use strategies like flanking without it turning into chaotically shooting anything that moves. The single player game seems to be a good way to get familiar with the controls and try out the mechs firepower. So far my favorite mech is the Atlas, a four-laser, four autocannon heavy mech. By holding down the fire button while on laser and then hitting the weapon switch trigger three times fast, I can send a volly of missiles, shells, and lasers upon my hapless victim. Can't seem to do this with any of the charging weapons however.
The graphics are awesome, although it should have offered a widescreen option and / or a 1080i HDTV mode. The sound seems ok, but almost any time someone is firing anywhere in the game it is coming from the center channel. Why you don't hear gunfire in the proper relative speaker is beyond me. I'm not sure it is doing a whole lot with the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound it should be using. There is a limit on the number of multiplayer boards, and a couple of them are pretty weak. Why anyone would want to battle in a snowstorm is beyond me, it made my TV look like it was broken.
Mechassault is the first game that really makes me happy I signed up for Xbox live. It is an excellent action game with enough strategy to keep it interesting. Team battle is excellent and the single player mode doesn't seem to be a total loss either. This is a must purchase for anyone with Xbox live.
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