How Nostalgia And MechWarrior 5 Could Mean A Better MechWarrior 6

My friends have often told me that there’s something wrong with me. I seem to be missing the nostalgia gene that has so many MechWarrior fans replaying the older games instead of the new hotness. I speak of course of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the greatest MechWarrior game yet made.

I made that statement when I gave my initial impressions of MechWarrior 5, and I still stick by it. And yet, so often do I read people pining for MechWarrior 2 or 3 or 4, explaining in flowery posts how these games are somehow superior despite their age. 

I don’t get it. I’ve played every MechWarrior game, I’ve loved every MechWarrior game, and yet I don’t get fooled into thinking the Timber Wolf in MechWarrior 2 looks better than a Marauder in MechWarrior 5

But let it never be said that I’m not capable of growing, or getting to understand other people’s points of view–even if I think they’re wrong. So in a quest to change hearts and minds (possibly even my own), I ventured into the BattleTech community to better understand why people seem to think that the older MechWarrior titles surpass MechWarrior 5. And in that journey, I may have discovered the perfect way to blend the old and new schools to make a truly phenomenal MechWarrior 6.

Nostalgia Is A Helluva Drug

MechWarrior 5 Warhammer Building Explosion

Before I set out, however, I decided to first check in with an expert on why some fans love the old over the new. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, as they say, and I really wanted to know the high that I was missing.

“A positive memory can be triggered by a sound, a smell, a certain image, or a thought,” explained psychiatrist Michael Feldmeier in an interview with Wired. “This in turn triggers a person’s reward center in their brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and salience. People can gravitate towards retro gaming as they are seeking a known trigger for a positive emotional response.”  

“We have the rose-colored glasses. It’s literally serotonin, endorphins–the brain fries with nostalgia, overriding objectivity.”

So, nostalgia is a drug, and it might be driving people to older games. That’s not to say that you can’t get a similar or even greater hit of dopamine from playing a new game, but older games can do it reliably–at least, in certain people. Throw me back to MechWarrior 2 and I’ll certainly remember things with a sense of fondness, but I won’t get the same dopamine kick I’d get out of playing a newer game.

Certainly, nostalgia is keeping older MechWarrior titles on a bit of a pedestal. “I really wanted it to, but I’d rather play the old games–especially the MechWarrior 2 trilogy–than the new one whenever I want first person ‘Mech action,” Pastor Recoil told me, summarizing an opinion shared by many of the people I spoke with. When I asked why, he told me that MechWarrior 5 felt too “slick,” and that MechWarrior 2 just “had that vibe.” 

Given his profession, I chalked up Pastor Recoil’s vague explanation to his attunement with the ineffable. I preferred the more scientific explanation, and it was heartwarming to find out I wasn’t alone in that respect.

“It really is a nostalgia thing with MW2,” Bishop Steiner reiterated. “We have the rose-colored glasses. Why? Same reason old farts say there are no good movies, music, etc. It’s a simple fact, the things of our teens and early 20s create those strong bonds, and very little that comes later ‘settle’ in the same. 

“It’s literally serotonin, endorphins–the brain fries with nostalgia, overriding objectivity.”

It would be all too easy to just end things right here and conclude that everyone who loves MechWarrior 2 is simply blinded by nostalgia, unable to see the numerous improvements MechWarrior 5 has made. But again, this is about personal growth. Rather than take the easy way out, I reached out to Emil of The Art of BattleTech, someone who’s made the MechWarrior series their academic vocation with a Ph.D. in game studies, to better understand that “vibe” Pastor Recoil was talking about. 

“MechWarrior 2 really excels at [tone and atmosphere], where it is not afraid to have quiet moments in between the intense ‘Mech combat moments.”

And oh boy, did he have a lot to say.

“There are some things that previous MechWarrior games do better than what MW5 does,” Emil began in an explanation that spanned several pages. “One thing that’s very subjective to really discuss is the tone and atmosphere. For me, MW2 really excels at this, where it is not afraid to have quiet moments in between the intense ‘Mech combat moments. In each mission, there is this lull and quiet on your way to a nav point or a mission objective until you’re greeted with the foreboding ‘enemy power-up detected.’ This quiet but increasingly intense feeling as you head towards facing some very dangerous ‘Mech combat really makes [each moment] more distinct and different from each other to really underscore the intensity of ‘Mech combat.

“Instead, much of MW5 suffers from this modern game design trope where there has to be something to shoot all the time otherwise it’s boring for the average player. Vehicles and VTOLs and turrets constantly spawn in the ‘quiet’ moments to make sure the player isn’t looking at their phone. And this takes away from combat being important or distinct enough.”

Emil admits that these quiet moments might no longer be viable in the modern gaming market, where letting up the action even for a second might lose your younger audience. But for older players, the constant influx of targets in MechWarrior 5 was definitely a turn-off.

“It feels soulless to me. Dilluted by turrets and vehicles,” author Russel Zimmerman said. “I modded the snot out of it to make the turrets and vehicles go away so my stompy bois could shine.”

Emil went so far as to create a mod specifically designed to change MechWarrior 5’s pace to be closer to MechWarrior 2’s. This customizability–largely due to MechWarrior 5’s active mod community–is a point we’ll return to later.

Memorable Moments, Features, And Feelings

MechWarrior 5 Locust vs Panther

What Emil kept coming back to, and what I heard again and again from the BattleTech community, is that MechWarrior 2 just had more memorable moments. Fighting the crusader Wolves for stolen genetic legacies on an orbital platform in Ghost Bear’s Legacy, or defending a convoy from Rifleman IICs and Summoners that jump down from towering mesas in MechWarrior 2‘s Umber Wall mission are both standouts. It’s the same with escaping the invading Clans in a stolen Kodiak in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, or fighting Galaxy Commander Brendon Corbett in the middle of a volcano in MechWarrior 3

I admit, it’s hard to think of those same sorts of setpiece moments through MechWarrior 5’s campaign. Perhaps finding the Nightstar, or defending the Kestrel Lancers on Tikonov, but neither really reaches the same level as MechWarrior 4’s Solaris games. A problem when most missions–even the high-value sidequests–make liberal use of procedural generation.

“Much of MechWarrior 5 suffers from this modern game design trope where there has to be something to shoot all the time otherwise it’s boring for the average player.”

MW5‘s procedurally generated stuff means you are basically replaying the same five missions over and over again, with slightly different window dressing,” Bishop Steiner added. “MW4 even with the ‘wrong’ ‘Mechlab, had unique missions, and was easily the best for replayability.”

The thing that each of these missions all had was something unique–either a unique setting, or unique actions from enemy units, or a unique objective for the player. Despite always being different, procedurally-generated maps and missions all feel like they have a certain sameness. 

“But does this mean that I would have wanted MW5 to try to emulate or achieve the same as what MW2 did for me back in 1995?” Emil asked. “No, actually not, because clamoring for something that was unique to that historical moment to be replicated again is simply not possible.

“But more importantly,” he added, “MW5 excels in other areas that I think we as old nostalgia-blinded Mechwarrior and Battletech fans tend to forget.” 

Here’s where Emil and I get onto the same page. That procedural generation, for example, is actually quite powerful. There’s way more overall variety in MechWarrior 5 than anything ever seen in MechWarrior 2, 3, or 4–so much so that it all kinda blends together. They might not stand out compared to the setpiece moments of earlier titles, but that’s partially the point. MechWarrior 5 wants you to tune out and get lost in the wanton destruction. 

“MechWarrior 4 even with the ‘wrong’ ‘Mechlab, had unique missions, and was easily the best for replayability.”

And it’s that destruction where MechWarrior 5 truly shines. In no other MechWarrior do you truly get the sense of being in a multi-ton walking death machine. In no other MechWarrior can you literally walk through buildings and watch concrete tumble off your ‘Mech’s shoulders. There’s a weightiness to your movements, shock as you’re struck by missiles and PPCs, and satisfaction as a well-timed alpha strike cores a Locust and sets off a massive explosion. 

I wouldn’t want MechWarrior 6 to ditch procedurally-generated missions. I’m the sort of player that likes to enter that flow state and grind out contracts to build up a stable of ‘Mechs before I embark on a longer campaign. Whether you like them or not, having those missions available is strictly a bonus. 

MechWarrior 5 VTR-9A1 Victor

There are other features too. Melee combat, airstrikes and artillery bombardment, a reputation system, nearly 60 ‘Mechs with three to five (or more) variants each, customizable paint schemes, and four-player co-op are all features that no MechWarrior has ever accomplished. For the first time, you can paint your Hatchetman whatever color you want and then wield it against foes while your friend launches waves of LRMs in support. That’s incredible, and something that easily matches those more cinematic moments from older MechWarriors.

I will admit there are technical issues in MechWarrior 5 that were better solved in earlier games. MechWarrior 4’s animation, for example, was top-notch, with every ‘Mech receiving both a walking and running animation that switched seamlessly once the pilot reached sufficient velocity.

“MechWarrior 5 excels in other areas that I think we as old nostalgia-blinded Mechwarrior and Battletech fans tend to forget.”

But even here, not everyone agrees. “I feel like walk cycles were one of those top five things for people to complain about in the MechWarrior Online/MW5 games whenever people want to whine about how good they’ve convinced themselves the old games are,” Ultra-Laser told me over Discord. “Hell, I counted it as a win when I got someone to admit that the Grasshopper‘s bouncy walk cycle was cute. Name one MW4 ‘Mech with that kind of Hop!”

Our conversation eventually descended into what I’ll generously describe as the BattleTech equivalent of a foot fetish, but that’s a topic for another article.

People have told me that they preferred the sounds, visual effects, voice acting, and cockpits of older MechWarrior games–all of which have been vastly improved since MechWarrior 5‘s launch through mods. Some mods even restore aspects of older MechWarrior titles, like the Bitching Betty mod which brings back the “all systems nominal” gal of MechWarrior 2.

PGI could do a better job of fostering its mod-maker ecosystem by perhaps integrating popular mods or giving mod-makers previews of coming DLC so that each update doesn’t break everything, but there’s no denying how MechWarrior 5 is the most flexible and customizable MechWarrior to date.

What We Could Learn For MechWarrior 6

MechWarrior 5 Firestarter vs Hunchback

What everyone kept coming back to is feelings. The feeling you get from MechWarrior 5 is mostly one of mindless destruction, or being in a shooting gallery where you and your merry band of mercenaries blow through entire battalions of ‘Mechs and armor. That’s certainly a potent feeling, but for some, it’s not enough to surpass the entirely different feelings offered in older MechWarrior titles.

So, I get it. What it boils down to is that I’m just more of an action junkie than the MechWarrior fans I spoke to. For them, the allure of MechWarrior 5’s “slick” combat just can’t compare to the cinematic, set-piece moments found in MechWarrior 2, 3, or 4. I can disagree, but I can acknowledge the appeal of more scripted moments. 

The good news is that MechWarrior 6 is most likely on the way. We haven’t received an official announcement or anything, but PGI has hinted rather strongly that one is coming soon. And since it’s still coming from the same developer, we can safely assume that much of the same technology that went into MW5 will be there as a strong foundation for MW6. That means MW6 will already have the great combat feeling of MW5–we just need to throw in some of the lessons of older MechWarriors.

It’s going to be a tricky thing. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the two camps of players. If you tone down the combat, you lose the adrenaline junkies. If you keep it where it is now in MechWarrior 5, you lose the players that pine for the pacing and gravitas of MechWarrior 2 through 4

What I think it’ll boil down to is a slight refinement. To use an appropriate BattleTech metaphor, MechWarrior 5’s procedural generation and ‘Mech combat are the myomer muscles of a good game, but they’re not really going anywhere without a chassis to ride on. That chassis will be a compelling story set in the BattleTech universe and interwoven with memorable moments in unique environments. 

And even more good news, that’s where PGI is already headed. Legend of the Kestrel Lancers and Rise of Rasalhague both featured far more intricate missions and more non-procedural maps than anything found in MechWarrior 5’s main campaign. PGI is already refining these more memorable moments in MechWarrior 5’s DLC, which makes me very hopeful for MechWarrior 6.

MechWarrior 5 Hanger

Thanks to everyone I spoke with for this piece: Russel Zimmerman, Bishop Steiner, Steven, Pastor Recoil, Ultra-Laser (I’m here for the Grasshopper bounce), Detocroix, and Birthday_Truck, who made an excellent video critiquing MechWarrior 5, especially when it comes to its technical aspects. I encourage everyone to give it a look.

And a special thanks to The Art of BattleTech, who literally wrote me a treatise when I asked for his opinion on MechWarrior 5 compared to older MechWarrior titles. I’m sorry I couldn’t put even a fraction of what he wrote into this piece, but I’m lookin’ to post it separately just so I can point to someone who truly knows his MechWarrior.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

43 thoughts on “How Nostalgia And MechWarrior 5 Could Mean A Better MechWarrior 6

  1. Matt

    I am old school player, started on the tabletop in the mid 1980’s and have played every PC version of MechWarrior since the first version that fit on one high-density 3.5 floppy disk. The biggest enjoyment with MW5 is the absence of the Clans. Returning to the early timeline was very enjoyable for someone that started on the table top role playing out our little part of the fourth succession war. In addition I thought the mech lab was an admirable nod to the game’s table top origins while still making it work on the computer. I have played more MW5 than any other version other than MW2 and it won’t be long before I have play MW5 more than MW2. MW5 could certainly be better but I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline of MW5, especially the DLC and the lack of Clan tech unbalancing the game made it all that more sweet.

  2. TheOldDragoon

    I hope Mechwarrior 6 takes the time and effort to be faithful to the current tabletop game art and miniature sculpts. My least favorite thing about the current crop of games has been the Mech interpretation. It’s time the franchise had a unified look once more.

    1. allegedlynerdy

      I think a big part of the issue is the differences in the way they have “reseen” the unseen mechs. For me personally, I do like the variety, but overall I think that the tabletop reseen have been better looking than the MW ones. One thing that would be cool, if impractical, is to have both the MW and tabletop style mechs, as different models/manufacturers/eras, since many have reconciled the changing style of mechs over time as being due to differences in manufactur over the centuries

  3. Ken

    I find MW5 extremely ugly. It suffers from the “dark pallet syndrome” that certain other games suffer from – I feel like I’m just staring at dark shades of brown. Nor do I like any of the aesthetic in terms of how the mechs look. It’s also just kinesthetically unpleasant. Nothing about the game feels like BattleTech or Mechwarrior to me. My favorite mechwarrior PC game is MW4…and MW4: Mercenaries is even better. Looks better than MW5, plays smoother than MW5, and feels like Mecharrior/BattleTech. Despite melting armor animations, MW5 just fails somehow, and certainly fails to be BattleTech/Mechwarrior.

    1. Kantoken

      This. I 100% agree with this.

      It just doesn’t feel like a Mechwarrior game. It looks ugly, the story is boring, the missions too repetitive. It has no soul, no engaging core that keeps you playing.

  4. Goodnight, Gyr

    MW5 is a vapid, mediocre husk of a product that has no soul. HBS’s Battletech did lore immersion exponentially better than PGI’s soggy napkin of a ‘mech game.

    1. Wolfbane2004

      It’s just too bad HBS hasn’t indicated that there would be a sequel to BattleTech. Especially if it provides the fate of the Aurgian Coalition because technically…how could it exist in later eras with powers like the Calderon Protectorate, Fronc Reaches, etc. in the same rough area. Though…maybe if HBS/Paradox with Catalyst and Piranha Games could collaborate maybe we’d get a MechWarrior 6 that could follow on the canonical Sourcebook: House Arano and give us that story (and maybe give us the first MechWarrior game that’s fully canon). That and make the hardpoints far less restrictive (aka use HBS’ hardpoint flexibility…I would love to arm a CN9-A like a baby Zeus like I can in BattleTech).

      And yes, I think Yang was the better AdTech than Fahad – he had so much more flavor (including Triple-F Burgers). Not to mention him and Sumire bickering did provide some gold in the campaign.

      To be honest, I’d like to also see a canonical version of the story of how Carver V became Liberty as well…minus Jason Cho (he’s the Kunckles of House Liao).

  5. Daniel

    As a 32 year old who was just introduced to Battletech last year I would say I have similar hope for Mechwarrior 6.
    Since I did not play the old titles when I was young I can say that not everything that is said to be “rose-tinted glasses” is just that. It is often used as an argument against older stuff and video games in particular just to not acknowledge that some stuff really has been done better in the past.
    I played Mechwarrior 4 Vengeance and Mercenaries before MW5 and for me the some things are just better in MW4 than in 5. The Story and Characters are much better for example and as you said the unique missions were way more memorable and way better paced. I would also like to mention the music. MW5 really lacks in that part. The music is really generic rock music which does nothing for the setting and immersion.

    What Mechwarrior 5 has going for it is the much better visual presentation. While the procedual generated maps are way to obvious for what they are, they look fantastic. And the ‘Mechs especially are great even though some walking animations are wonky. While I can’t say how lore accurate the ‘Mechs look, they look way better than the old 80s and 90s art-style which looks a bit corny for me.
    I would also disagree with fellow “Ken” above. MW5 is everything but dark and brown. There are all kind of colors on the ‘Mechs, the effects, the environments and the artwork in the menus. We came a long way since the late 2000s and early 2010s were every game had to be brown and grey.

    So for me Mechwarrior 6 would also be a combination of both game styles. MW5s visual presentation and controls with MW4s story and mission design. Coupled with better music and a bit more lore it would make a very immersive and great game!

    1. Rob C.

      I think the issue is there isn’t really good writer working for PGI at the moment. Perhaps if MechWarrior 6 is the real deal, they can afford one of the writers working for CGI to do it or at least one who knows the lore well for BattleTech universe to give the game more story substance that 5 may be lacking for some.

  6. JPArbiter

    So I got some thoughts on this. My house was an Apple Computer house growing up, so I missed Mechwarrior 3 and 4, and only played the base campaign of 2 (the Bear and Merc expansions never made it to Mac). so I lack the Nostalgia for those titles. my gaming experience growing up, and still today is as a filthy console peasant, which is why I love MechAssault, the SNES MechWarrior, and MechCommander more then the MechWarrior series.

    MechWarrior 5, particularly since it is available on Xbox, excels at accessibility for the new player. I can play the game on the couch with a controller and not have to spend an hour setting my controls exactly how I want. (litterally every person with a PC I played MW4 at had a subtly different setup on controls, which made it impossible to learn the game.)

    as far as MechWarrior 5 “Memorable Moments” there are a couple of stringed together contracts that were entertaining as hell, one in davion space where a political candidate was resorting to violence and terrorism (a bit to on the nose these days, eh) and a Stiener oriented campaign that ended in what I can only describe as an all out war, where you and your lance are supporting the Lyrans in a push up an extremely well defended ridge that had me screaming “THIS IS WHAT BATTLETECH IS ABOUT!” at the top of my lungs.

    for all the emphasis on quiet pace building moments, I compare to my Mechwarrior 2 experience and the limitations of computers in the mid 90’s and I realize there was just not a whole lot going on in MW 2 missions. some people call it the quiet build, I call it an inability to keep up a good pace over a large map, and compressing the map would not keep the player safe enough to be able to win a mission.

    I do hope that MOD support comes to the console they way it does with Skyrim and Fallout 4. I would love to put in a sound patch for PPC and Missile fire on my Xbox to insert the animated series weapon sounds (lasers are fine as is)

  7. YeJJowjacket

    I personally think that the only thing hurting MW5 is a lack of flair and personality. Aside from a few moments across the DLCs, the repetition of each mission starts to wear down on the player. With the same objectives time and time again with little changes or twists, you end up bored pretty quickly. Which is why some extra flair would be nice, to distract the player from the repetition. A critical explosion that could shake the ground, a building collapsing, or even a ‘Mech powerup right on top of you would seriously change the pace of the game. One of my favorite additions to the game from the DLCs is when if you’re in opposing mercenary territory, they have the chance to spawn in at either the beginning or the end of the mission and throw off whatever you were prepared for. It might not be a lot, but it is definitely a step towards the right direction.

    Then there’s a lack of personality. In games like MW3 and MW4, character dialogue during the campaign was a lot more fluent with pilots having a bit of sidetalk with eachother before the fun began, or quipping in whenever the commander spoke. Things like that helped make those games more memorable, compared to MW5 having Ryana do almost all the talking and Mason giving back four word responses, if at all. Plus all the DLC features being unavailable during the vanilla campaign make it kind of slow compared to the rest of the game. I think if it could just tighten its grip on all the procedurally generated maps and objectives it would improve greatly. Alternatively, if it could become more fleshed out, say with more modes(Convoy escort/destruction, Duels, full on WAR), more vehicles, VTOLS and tanks(Striker, Galleon, SRM Harassers[anything please Im tired of all the Scorpions]), and destructible assets(blowing up a dropship, a massive fuel tank explosion, collapsing buildings) it could seriously become a force to be reckoned with.

    I am still very aware of all the benefits that the modding community has brought to the game(thanks :D), and I hope that PGI will incorporate most of them into MW6. I think that the only thing that I havent mentioned that MW5 could benefit from is simple or absolute closure. In MW2 through 4 there was a closing scene to signify that the story was complete, rather than some mindless chatter into a credit roll. And sure, the game is still going because theres still more money to make in the Inner Sphere, but story-wise with both Andreas Kane and Kenzo Yamata dead, and even more secrets uncovered about your father and Clan tie-ins, something better to close out the main story would be entirely appreciated. Then in terms of the player’s story, absolute closure would come in greatly. For example, if MW6 is to be set in the Clan Invasion (which it most likely is), good promo would be Jake Mason taking his unit to face them(The Clans) down and result in a massive blaze of glory during the early early days of the Invasion (3049-ish). Kind of like a Halo Reach ending. Mason would have been 53 at the time lore-wise, Fahad would be 69, and the unit as a whole since its formation would be 44 years old. The point is, with the units destruction at the beginning of the Invasion, it would mark an end of the story for MW5, plus Jake Mason, and open the doorway for the next protagonist in MW6. While I hope they aren’t a remnant group from your unit in MW5(Since thats really how you got started in MW5[and technically MW4:V]), we can only speculate where it will go. I just hope I can customize my character and origin is all I’m wanting.

  8. Matt

    While I started with MW:2, I still feel like MW:3 did something better than any other attempt since; the mission briefings. I’m the person who skips most of the cutscenes in any given game, as usually they aren’t anything to write home about, but the MW:3 ones really felt like an actual real person was briefing me on the details of the mission, rather than a voice actor reading some generic dialog. The probe fly-overs giving you an idea of the route you’d take and points of interest on the way was cool, as was the fact that sometimes you just didn’t have all the info and got surprised. Outside of some sort of AI-generated briefing created on the fly, I’m not sure how you could get the same experience with procedurally-generated missions.

    1. Stu

      Here’s a little secret; they’re not really procedurally generated. They’re benchmarked, as in when you reach a new reputation level the next level of non-storyline missions open up. The story line missions are somewhat procedural, but since nothing you do changes outcomes or what comes next, it’s still a scripted timeline. So Damacles Commando type briefings are quite possible, and Ryana sort of does some already. Not as well, but she does some.

  9. KhanCipher

    “There are other features too. Melee combat”

    Wow, a system that has zero depth and just feels like it was done just to say it was done because ‘TT had melee’. Also you have like zero reason to run up and punch a mech ever. If anyone wants to disagree with me, I want you to tell me what melee adds to MWV in a pure mechanical sense.

    “airstrikes and artillery bombardment”

    Okay? Am I supposed to be impressed by this? One of these you’d only ever bring out to a certain objective type, the other is more of the same ‘there must be something happening every 5 seconds’ nonsense the game is filled with.

    “a reputation system”

    Ah yes, otherwise known as modern gaming’s obsession with xp bars. Because we need to get engagement numbers up or something.

    “nearly 60 ‘Mechs with three to five (or more) variants each”

    Most of which in vanilla mechlab MWV are either so garbage that there’s no point to using them, or are largely copy-pastes.

    “customizable paint schemes”

    It’s nice and all, but I want a tightly designed gameplay experience first.

    “and four-player co-op”

    Imho the only good thing that MWV did at the end of the day, and it didn’t really do it that well tbh.

    1. CommanderHunter

      “I want you to tell me what melee adds to MWV in a pure mechanical sense.”

      it gives you an option to attack the enemy when you’re up close and are running low on ammunition/heat is up, without damaging your ‘Mech like charging and DFA do.

      However, I will say that it lacks some more utility with the lack of any gyro mechanic in the game (whether than means reducing speed and maneuverability like the Merctech mod accomplishes, or a knockdown system like the games of old), to give it that extra incentive to use more than your available weaponry up-close!

  10. Sean

    I played MW2, GBL, Mercs, MW3, on their release, and still to this day love them and go back every once in awhile to just enjoy that vintage awesomeness. Granted it’s on a vintage computer that can run MW3 without issues or hiccup (mostly, game still buggy) but it’s nice to go back to that. Even Mechassault on my OG xbox is a nice distraction even if it’s against Wobbies rather than clanners or Kuritans.

    MW5, it’s, eh. Fine. Once the campaign is over and the add on missions complete, I don’t really feel any impetus to go back and play through it again because that procedural generation does feel hollow. As much as I love my custom rifleman and neato paint scheme, I find my tabletop games with my gaming group much more satisfying than a romp in MW5. I’ve gone through the Battletech PC game twice and that’s fun and all, but I think mods like roguetech and all these mods for MW5 are going to be the salvation of these newer products in the long run. But at least the storyline in Battletech had depth and was at least interesting and carried me place to place. I don’t really feel that in MW5. I feel like I’m just, going through the same motions constantly.

    With that, I wish GOG or someone could figure out how to get MW3 to run stable on a modern PC, until then I’ll keep popping my vintage CD-ROM disc into my ancient laptop that exists to do one thing. Play MW3. And 2. And 4 when I miss Duncan Fisher calling out the arena hits on Solaris.

    1. Aaron M. Litz

      Oh Hell yes; I would play MW3 all the damn time if I could. A decent story, good fights, and an actual joystick!

  11. Pietor Malthus

    One of the things that MW5 got right was the ‘Mech customization. If there ever is a MW6, it can have the same, if not better, level of customization.

  12. ZeroSum716

    The only things MW5 does significantly better than it’s predecessors are graphics and modern OS compatibility. Soundtrack is pretty good too. Everything else has either been done as well if not better in previous Mechwarrior titles or in other Mech sim games (Heavy Gear 2 did mech melee and melee weapons back in 2002, Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri had far better squad controls, etc). This is not nostalgia speaking as I didn’t play most of these games outside of Mercs4 until fairly recently and now that I have I can say without any doubt that any further MW titles would benefit immeasurably from taking a moment to learn something from what made all those 90s and early 2000s games tick.

  13. AlphaBlu

    I first played MechWarrior 2 when it was on the Windows 95 Games Demo disk that came with my Pentium 166. I’ve been hooked every since. I’ve watched plenty of gameplay from MW5, but it just seems so limiting. Soulless even.

    I think doing everything as a procedural generation is a double-edged sword. It means you have endless missions, but it also means that everything kind of blurs together.

    I think to Soldier of Fortune 2, a bad sequel to a great Ravensoft FPS. It was a FPS with a “skirmish” mode that did generated a map and enemies for you each time… and it was pretty much always the same. It was never fun, even if there were a few variations. It got old very quickly.

  14. Asheram

    Yeah, I see what you mean.
    The original Mechwarrior games were closer to Arma in a way.
    The maps were huge and you could tread on there for quite a while, just hoping you weren’t walking into an LRM ambush.
    I believe it’s the modern “Time To Kill” mindset that kept them from that. I wager that their focus groups complained when you went longer than 5 minutes without being in combat.

  15. Spazz866745

    The biggest problem I have with mw5 is that 75% of every mission consists of walking somewhere and shooting random turrets, when you aint doing that its awesome.

  16. Wyvern

    For me, personally, the thing that grates the most about MW5 is the incredible inattention to basic verisimilitude.

    The game’s got VTOLs showing up on airless rocks, for example, which just physically does not work. And then the gravity is the same everywhere, and the environment has no effect on mech cooling rates…

    I mean, yes, I’d also prefer a game where individual opponents were more meaningful, rather than one that gives you magic damage reduction skills and expects you to take down three times your weight in opponents, but – at least for me – that’s more tolerable than seeing a helicopter flying around when there’s supposedly no air, or seeing rocks floating in space because we’re fighting on an asteroid and yet my mech’s still subject to the same 1G fall rate it’d see anywhere else…

    1. datameta

      I haven’t played MW5 yet, but if I do, I imagine this would be single most glaring offense when I play it. No environmental heat mechanic? No gravity variability?? These two things are what let MW4 Mercs have me feel like I was in a hermetically sealed warmachine protecting me not just from the thuds of AC fire or flash vaporization of lasers – it let me exist in an alien atmosphere that would boil water or the cold hard vacuum of a barren moon surface.

  17. CommanderHunter

    I’d like to constructively contribute more explanation to this topic, as an enjoyer of not just the classic titles but MWO/MW5 as well! While the game *certainly* does manage to innovate in a lot of areas, but there are a significant amount of mechanics and that were left behind or downgraded, some of which having been since MWO:

    lack of more nuanced heat effects (‘Mech slowdown, visibility reduction, etc.)
    no gyro mechanic (I don’t even mean it has to be a knockdown, it could be a slowdown mechanic like the MercTech mod has implemented)
    worse lancemate control than Mech 1,2,3 and 4 (only a few control abilities, no utilization of TacMap for said commands like MechWarrior 1(989))
    Downgraded critical hit effects

    Little to no explanation of some advanced tech like Ferro Fibrous, XL Engines and Endo Steel

    Lacking better damage feedback from Betty

    Severely lacking targeting more in-depth and nav point controls(can’t easily cycle through allied targets, no nav point naming and targeting (Mech 2, 3 and 4) and autopilot like Mech 2

    No terrain deformation (Mech 3)

    Shoddy camera shake fails to mimic Mech 3 and 4 aim-throwoff mechanic from being shot or shooting big weaponry (your ‘Mech’s torso would be thrown off-aim and would recenter, requiring some player input)

    Lack of HUD/MFD customization (changing unit/target damage readouts, for example)

    Shoddy night vision + lack of thermal optics or other view modes

    Lacking advanced sensor controls (active/passive modes for example)

    Messy tacmap view (used to be pretty decent pre-DLC1, now impossible to read elevation and whatnot)

    Single 3rd-person view mode (no alternate camera angles or adjustable perspective

    Now on to a deeper critique of the ways that Mech 5, while quite innovative, still falls flat for many of us:

    The reputation system; feels somewhat gamey from the xp bar-type system it revolves around (which isn’t even done correctly, the bar is supposed to be a proportional representation of the raw numbers. The only numbers you get are what you *gain*, not what you have already allocated, so you can’t really do the math to figure out how much you need to get to the next level).

    Contract and handcrafted mission (high reward quest) generation, being tied to above; a step down from Mech 2 Mercs (and possibly Mech 4 Mercs, don’t know for sure?), in which they were tied to the *timeline*, with a limit on how long you have to negotiate and accept the contracts before they disappear. Instead, it revolves completely around the player, meaning not only do you have to move outside of the immediate area for any new contracts to appear, but high reward quests can be done at any point in time as soon as you get the transmission for them.
    While convenient for balancing purposes, it takes away the feeling of “independent merc company trying to survive a daunting and unfair Inner Sphere”, and instead gives a feeling of “all your employers and markets revolve around you, it’s all centered on you and your hero merc company!”. This is made even worse with the fact that even with all the DLC’s unlocked, there’s only roughly 1 or 2 high reward quests per region, per reputation level, so once those are done you’re stuck with the standard proc gen missions again until you move to a different area, grind your reputation, or one of the DLC questlines pops up. Furthermore, proc gen missions being primarily one-offs rather than mostly multi-mission operations is not only super at odds with lore (yes, older games like Mech 2 Mercs did it too, but this is a new game that’s supposed to *improve* remember?), it also makes the issue of monotony even worse. That leads into..

    Proc gen + high reward mission variety (or lack of), and minimal player agency; The variety of mission types at launch, while okay, was still relatively little and, again, made worse due to lack of focus on Multi-Mission operations. DLC 1 took steps to improve this by adding the overall impressive Beachhead mission type, which is pretty dang challenging and well designed! DLC 2 took it a step further by introducing V2 versions of the other existing mission types, adding new procedural modifiers and alternate objectives that definitely reduced the monotony! But alas, the impact of these changes was softened due to the fact that vanilla missions still generate alongside them, instead of being integrated with them + receiving the random side objectives, even if you have DLC 2. (Fun fact, DLC 4’s Rival Mercs system was only implemented for the V2 mission types, so while never marketed, DLC 4 also includes them even if you don’t have DLC 2!)
    DLC 4 added the Infiltration mode, which while unique and a good attempt, fell flat due to the odd implementation of “stealth”. Guarding AI stand completely still and are almost oblivious to your existence until *you*, the player(s), directly approach them (they don’t give a rat’s ass about AI lancemates funnily enough), or shoot at them. No patrols roaming the map you have to hide from or anything that’s legitimately stealthy. And then when you’re detected, you only have 1 minute before reinforcements arrive, and that’s only *barely* enough time, and in fact not enough time at all if another objective and its guards were generated nearby on the map!
    This makes it almost impossible to complete all of the objectives without tripping the alarm and getting utterly overwhelmed. What’s worse, is that the mission recommends you take lighter units to do this (in part because the AI guard units have reduced range to detect said lighter units), which results in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation; if you take the lighter units, you won’t survive to complete all the objectives, especially if you run out of time. But if you take the heavier units to match the stupid arbitrary tonnage limit (more on this later), you’re more easily spotted and can’t use your speed to run away before the timer begins! I can’t even say if it appears in any multi-mission contracts either, where it would make more sense, though wouldn’t matter much any way because of a lack of more agency…
    speaking of which, the multi-mission system falls short as well! It’d be much better if, rather than just a string of missions tied together, you are presented with a main overall goal in mind, with branching results of succeeding or failing to meet the requirements. Heck maybe even some instances of the player picking which locations to start the operation in and work their way through from there…
    But to provide example for the former, perhaps a Beachhead multi-mission could start out with you taking a (hopefully improved) infiltration mission to scout out the area where your target has multiple connected outposts situated, where you are tasking with finding the arrays that allow communication between the target and potential reinforcements from elsewhere in the system. if you get caught, then you will instantly be bombarded in a more difficult Raid mission to take out the communications arrays, whereas before you would’ve just been met with the resistance you found in the Infiltration mission, give or take a few. If you fail that, the eventual Beachhead mission will be *exceedingly* more difficult for you and the allied forces, but at the same time giving you the opportunity to make up for your previous failure(s) and recuperate the pay you lost, and perhaps then some, especially if you manage to defend enough of the allied forces. This is just one example of the immense opportunity that has been left untapped.

    Negotiation: A system that tried to mix its MechWarrior 1(989) inspiration with a more player-digestible presentation. Unfortunately, it falls short in a few areas. There is no actual bartering with your employer, it’s just choosing the terms you want within the employer’s initial limitations. There’s no bartering back and forth on the values like in Mech 1. Not only that, but the point-based share-based system has some key flaws that still haven’t been addressed.
    With salvage, it’s a set amount of shares per mission, meaning no matter how many enemies you take down and are successfully salvaged, you still can only claim that set amount. This means that unfortunately, you often find yourself just short of salvage to pick up even a *single* ‘Mech (I’ll argue that you’re far more likely to buy a ‘Mech than salvage one, even in late-game!!), and the value of said salvage shares is a bit too vague anyways (is it based on the tonnage of the item? C-Bill value? Both!?!?)
    It’d be better if there were more variety in negotiation terms. For example, sometimes the salvage rights are based on *overall tonnage and/or c-bill value of all assets recovered*. So the more units you manage to take down, the more likely you’ll be able to get that ‘mech you took out because the stockpile of other units you took out means that ‘Mech doesn’t exceed the percentage limit of your salvage rights!
    Furthermore, in missions where your negotiation values are boosted because of weather effects and the like, a key flaw is the fact that airstrikes always cost the same amount of shares (1 per strike). So if there’s a negotiation boost, the airstrike becomes less valuable because it takes even *more* potential damage coverage/salvage shares/mission payout away without increasing return (i.e. a bigger or more precise airstrike)! This is an issue largely due to the fact that all terms of negotiation are tied to the same alottment of points, rather than all negotiated a bit more separately, and in more dynamic numerical values rather than singular points.

    Tonnage limits: this is where things start getting pretty ridiculous. The tonnage limit is tied *directly* to the difficulty level (i.e. Difficulty lvl 25 might mean a 100 tonnage limit), always being the same regardless of mission type as far as I can tell. The problem with this? *missions of the same difficulty level end up actually being easier or harder than each other depending on the mission type!*. For example, a demolition mission (single target area, most enemy forces focused here) often ends up being much less nerve-wracking and difficult compared to an assassination mission of the same difficulty (multiple target points to search, significant enemy forces spread out between each area, assassination target pretty buffed in skill and stats even when your already worn down lance reaches them…ironically high reward quest assassinations can sometimes be easier than the proc gens tend to). Additionally, factors such as unit engagement ranges, speed, weapon assortment, in combination with the mission rhythm (raid vs assassination being very different) are far more important than the game makes note of, and not even Ryana helps with advice on what units to take for what mission types (except Infiltration, I’ll get to that).
    You could try to increase the tonnage recommendation for Assassination, but that still means that Difficulty X is not the same between mission types, and it also means that some the limit for assassination difficulty is *less than 100* (as the tonnage limit for Difficulty 100 is 400 tons, and an Assassination mission would have to be *higher* than that which is impossible). You could also try to somewhat rebalance assassination missions’ unit spread and difficulty, which is a better option, but this still doesn’t address the lack of attention to the other necessary considerations for lance composition, and there’s another mission type that suffers from the tonnage limit issue even worse: Infiltration.
    Remember what I said about the “damned if I do, damned if I don’t”. This *could* potentially be fixed with a combination of lowered unit tonnage (wouldn’t break things like *increasing* tonnage limit would) and rebalancing it with smarter and less punishing design, but it still shows the issue of trying to tie tonnage limit linearly with mission difficulty value. Infiltration would be a confusing outsider compared to the other “400 tonnage at difficulty 100” mission types, and there’s also no guarantee that even with the lighter units at the appropriate tonnage limit, that those units will do the scouting job well (some, like the Urbanmech, are far too slow and just completely ill-equipped for anything of the sort).
    And then comes the penalties. It used to be that you just could not go over the tonnage limit at all, which was obviously stupid. Then they changed it so that if you go over the limit, you get less pay and salvage. A little less stupid but still so. Why would you get paid less? There’s no communication that the employer is paying for your fuel or anything like that. And the reduced salvage implies it’s the employer *punishing* you. Why? If anything the employer would be *thrilled* to see you take a heavier lance than expected, and getting the mission done more efficiently. It’s a sign of a bigger concern; if PGI is so concerned that players will start steamrolling missions, it’s for reasons that are pretty different from what they seem to realize, such as..

    Weapon tiers; an ingenious system at first glance, but the values are just way to bloated. It seems as though it was born from a cycle of “enemy numbers are a bit overwhelming, so give the players some stronger guns and Gunnery skills! But now the enemies are going down too easy, so give the enemies them too! But now the players are getting pounded again, well the Shielding skill and some even *stronger* weapons will help them out!” It’s just this constant back and forth of excessive number bloat. Not to mention the rewarding and distribution of higher-quality weapons and the like is done in a really player-centered way, rather than properly representing the various factions’ inventory quality (for example, House units would be equipped with the best of the best most often (Tier 4-5), going all the way down to ragtag pirates and small independent states having mainly scraps and thrown-together repair jobs to work with (Tier 0-1), with various levels in-between the two extremes). Not to mention, tier 5 weapons would normally be what “lore-accurate” (tabletop) weapon damage values represent while everything below is it getting steadily worse and worse. The game’s attempted merc-company-trying-to-survive atmosphere could be enhanced if, say, you *start out* having to fight against units with lower-quality weapons as well as salvaging/buying them, and as time goes on and you become stronger you can try to take contracts against stronger Merc or House units to acquire more pristine weaponry. Oh, and of course acquiring higher-tier weapons through storyline missions and suitably difficult high-reward quests is perfectly acceptable.

    Deeper lancemate skillsets and ranks; these would be pretty great!…if they were tied to actual AI performance instead of mostly just damage +- modifiers, and there weren’t caps on lancemate skill forcing you to hire new ones.
    For example, splitting Gunnery between the three main weapon types is really cool! But unfortunately the accuracy curves are instead governed by the “level” of the lancemate (Recruit, Novice, Veteran, etc.), and are universal between all weapon types. What does the Gunnery skill do? Slap increased weapon damage on already bloated numbers thanks to the tier system (as discussed above).
    Shielding? Nope, not an AI reaction by rotating the torso to spread incoming damage MWO-style, instead it’s a reduction to incoming damage that only Lancemates can have, (seriously? Why the heck is the strength of your *armor* tied to the skill of the *pilot*??? Just as infuriating as the Gunnery skill) as well as a likely reason why AI often far outnumber your mere 4-person lance (to be elaborated on)!
    Now Evasion and Heat Management actually makes sense somewhat, with the former being based on both movement a speed and your direction of movement vs whoever is aiming at the target in question. It adds makes it harder for AI enemies to hit by adding a further to-hit modifier (yup, the AI aims just like in tabletop! Just with the added real-time attempt to simulate organic aiming with mixed results), and the latter I’m not too sure on, but I don’t think it just gives the AI increased heat dissipation, but if I’m wrong then screw that!

    These are the main ones as far as I can really tell…man this took me into the next day to really get off my chest! I may as well use this as a feedback post on, say, the Discord as well haha

    1. CommanderHunter

      I forgot to elaborate on the 4-player lance vs hordes of enemies thing, but…you get the jist of it haha

  18. Steel Shanks

    A LOT has been said… Especially this dude above Me, ( wowza… ) but here’s the deal…

    HBS BattleTech I’ll play Vanilla, over and over, and it’s great… MW5 Vanilla is… Well… It’s terrible… Without Mods, MechWarrior 5 is barely playable, even with the DLC’s. It looks good, except the Lasers, lasers look better in MWO than MW5. The Story, Characters, etc. are all dog-shyte. Mason? Who cares… The others on the team? Who cares… I cared about Yang, Sumire, etc. from HBS. PGI’s characters are all terrible, even the characters pulled from Lore. Acting was amateurish for sure. All the Lore breaking PGI is famous for is just aggravating. Weapons renamed just to be renamed, etc. Come on…
    House Marik is the BIGGEST crime. PGI what in the Nine Hells is wrong with You? House Marik Units should be in Marik Militia COLORS! Marik Purple, Blue, Red… WHERE did You get that Neon Green? It’s TERRIBLE! Take the Green away, and ye have Guard Colors… It’s just really terrible… If anything, how bout the different unit Colors throughout the Free Worlds League? Ye want that green, well it’s part of the Oriente’s Livery, etc.
    Story and substance beat fancy graphics everyday of the week… MechWarrior 2, 3, and 4, MechCommander 1 and 2, are like Original Star Wars… MechWarrior 5 ( and now MWO too ) is like Disney Star Wars… Hollow, written by 5 Year Olds, and just Sad and Disappointing all around…

    1. CommanderHunter

      To be fair, the Campaign story was slapped together within the last year. The expansion campaigns have shown they really can tell a good story, at least in many peoples’ opinion

    2. Wolfbane2004

      I think another crime is how Under-represented the Periphery is. They are all just lumped together instead of giving us distinct flavors of Taurian, Canopian and (Outworlds) Alliance factions. Again, this is something that was a missed opportunity that HBS BattleTech did better (though not perfectly especially with trying to get Taurian reputation or the lack of Periphery faction-focused Flashpoints). This is also something that PGI should really work much closer with CGL on, especially with regard to any sequel.

  19. Marowi

    MechWarrior 2 is the reason I am into anything BattleTech at all. Had that free disk not shipped with Windows PCs in the mid-90s, I wouldn’t be here. If they made a MechWarrior 2 (or anything like it) with the MechWarrior 5 engine and graphics, I’d easily shell out $100+.

  20. Zera

    Some people have already touched on it so I won’t make a full review but the long and short of it is that what holds MW5 back from true greatness is just how flat the whole experience it. I don’t think it’s nostalgia to make the factual observation that older Mechwarrior games had more of a structure to their campaigns. There was a story with a specific direction in mind that had you put into different and interesting situations. There was variety and it crafted an experience. MW5 is just a string of combat missions where almost every objective is a permutation of “blow up X” and forcing players to just sort of do their own thing without direction and grind until another story relevant mission pops up is poor design for the story mode. It’s fine for Career mode but I digress. This is more subjective but also leaving the entire Inner Sphere open for us to travel in just makes everything feel so much smaller and that there’s not a lot going on. Many other BT games have focused on a more limited area which I feel gave each story more of a focus and a sense of place.

    I also think the game struggled with a lot of little quality of life aspects or overall laziness just in general design that on their own weren’t so bad but when you have them all piling up on top of each other they really dragged the down. You look at Nexus Mods or Steam Workshop and the vast majority of the mods aren’t adding new mechs. They’re for things like expanding customization options, cockpit gauges with better visibility, better sounds, better contract negotiation options, the ability to paint your ship, etc.

    I think the big takeaway here is that many MW/BT fans ideally want more than “just combat” in the video games. We want an interesting and memorable experience as well. We love the setting because we love the universe it takes place in along with all the giant robots. We want to get lost in the setting and feel like what we’re doing has a purpose and builds to something like an actual story should. MW5 isn’t the best MW by a long-shot but it could have been. All the mods certainly get it closer. I think if PGI really wants to make MW6 stand out, they need to look at crafting a compelling campaign. That means a decent story, a good variety of scenarios and locations, and getting creative.

  21. ZANKBA

    I disagree with Sean this time.

    Yes, I played the three MW2, MW3, MW4, and MW4: Mercenaries. But I didn’t like Mechwarrior 5 because it didn’t “feel” like the other games, I didn’t like Mechwarrior 5 the moment when I realized that just in the place where I destroyed a VTOL there was another one without explanation, it just popped up there. In the world of the 3rd succession war, with limited resources and supposedly lost technology, everyone seems to have the resources to throw at me illimited numbers of enemies without tactics or strategy, just for me to stomp on. I think I actually quit the game for 6 months after that. Vehicles were very weak in most of the other games, true, but at least they stayed dead and didn’t come to me eternally to be destroyed. I try to get back from time to time trying to digest that but I can’t completely.

    Visually: MW5 is obviously superior just by force of technical advancement, no doubt. Sounds: I think most of them are better too. Music, sorry, the MW2 stomps over MW5 several times over. Story: Even MW1 had a better one. But it is in Gameplay that lies the whole issue for me.

    Basically, MW5 is an arcade game, closer to a FPS than a simulator. Shoot, stomp, destroy, shoot some more. I think many find that fun, I think it must be really fun in MW:O playing against other players, perhaps I could have found it fun 25 years ago, but not today.

  22. Aaron M. Litz

    I started playing MechWarrior games with MechWarrior 2, but MechWarrior 3 is my favorite. MechWarrior 5 certainly does look better, but I think 3 is a better game; I continued playing 3 right up until it no longer played on the contemporary Windows system on my new laptop years ago, and I still would if I could for one major reason: AN ACTUAL JOYSTICK. I bought a new joystick for MW5 and could never get it to work no matter how many things I tried, following everything I could find online. It was supposed to be a supported model. Piloting a ‘Mech using keyboard and mouse or gamepad just does not feel right, and seriously ruins the experience for me.

  23. Pyro

    Things that MW5 did really well:
    1. That old stompy robot feel. Only MW3 did as good of a job with this, in my opinion. MW4’s mechs often felt like they were gliding, and MW2’s moreso. 3 and 5 both made you feel like you were piloting something huge, cumbersome, and weighty.

    2. Mech lab. One of the better ones in the series. Late-game Star League era tech was fun to play with as well.

    3. SFX. The sound effects for weapons, etc. were pretty good.

    Things that missed the mark:

    1. Tempo. Too much SPAM. Occasional surprise VTOL attacks or turret ambushes are nice and add a bit of unpredictability. All the time gets repetitive, predictable, and means there’s overall very little suspense. Suspense is great. Imagine slowly prowling through a swamp, trying to stay under tree and terrain cover to delay detection as long as possible. Not only is there a tension there, but potential payoffs if you do it well (like catching the enemy before they can fully scramble all their forces), and a greater variety.

    2. Scaling. If you always have a target in front of you getting stomped, your little lance of mechs is going to plow through companies and battalions on a constant basis. That’s kinda nuts. Fewer, stronger enemies is more within the feel of the setting. Your average MechWarrior does not get 5+ mech or vehicle kills in every mission. Natasha Kerensky only gets that many on a really good day (and is probably insufferably cheerful for the rest of the week).

    3. Storyline. Not only was the storyline partly cribbed from MW1 (revenge for your father being killed, merc unit as a front for a conspiracy, etc.), but the unnecessary and lore-breaking Clan tie-in didn’t help.

    4. Salvage system. Don’t you hate it when you spend all of your points on salvage, but then the algorithm arbitrarily decides that everything you want is either unavailable, or costs 1 point more than you could afford with max salvage? Oh look, more urbanmechs, medium lasers, and jumpjets for you.

    5. Characters. MW5’s supporting characters were not really memorable, at least until you got to the Kestrel Lancers campaign – Ardan Sortek’s VO actor was good, and Alanna Damu was memorable. Aside from those, HBS did a much better job with its characters.

  24. Stu

    For my money, MW3 was the best of them. My only “gripe” with it was the ‘everything is omni’ loadout system. And really only because it looked dumb shooting a medium laser out of my Bushwhacker’s missile rack. Re-master that game with today’s technology… Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

    MW5 really got the in-mission passage of time messed up. They all feel like a 20 minute mission, not eight or ten days. MW3 had lulls in the action where you called up your MFB, and regrouped, MW5 just keeps spawning like rabbits. As somebody above said, who in the Succession Wars era had the resources for that kind of onslaught?

    Lancemate commands system was better in MW3 and was best in MW4. Unless you’re playing co-op, and can tell your peeps directly what you want, MW5 commands are too generic and some are just plain useless.

    Let’s face it, almost nobody in the industry is writing good story lines anymore. Hell, EA just chucked the whole idea out the window with BF2042. Didn’t even bother with a crappy campaign to justify the multiplayer this time (BC2 was the last great shooter IMO). Too much time and money cutting into the bottom line. If only there were already a ton of lore and source material for PGI to use for inspiration…

    Here’s hoping they hear a few of our cries when MW6 time comes.

  25. Nightmare Legion

    >>I speak of course of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the greatest MechWarrior game yet made.

    You mean, the one that its Nexus page is filled to the brim with quality of life updates, including TONNAGE LIMIT REDUCTION, OVERHAUL OF MISSIONS SYSTEM, REDUCTION OF VEHICLE SPAM, BETTER AI, instead of fan missions and new ‘Mechs? THAT ONE? Frankly, I see no point in reading after that can of horse*hit.

    The only things MW5 did well were visual presentation, it sounded nice (and its soundtrack is pretty good, although DLCs can be hit or miss) and when you actually get to fight enemy ‘Mechs, it becomes somewhat fun. And then hundreds of Scorpions respawn and you remember you play the game that doesn’t know its purpose.

  26. Jasin Moridin

    MW5’s main campaign comes off feeling like the framework of an amazing BattleTech game to me. There’s some great stuff there, but the lack of distinctive characters and how heavily it leans on procedurally-generated missions compared to bespoke battles make it far blander than it should be, and the “Let’s spam VTOLs, Tanks, and Turrets EVERYWHERE and make the little bastards respawn” thing really does hinder the feeling that you’re a MechWarrior being deployed into a battlefield with specific forces on each side.

    The fact that the heavily bespoke-mission-focused DLCs are *much* better regarded than the main game seems to indicate there’s a fair amount of agreement on that sentiment, too.

    My ideal MW6 would be in the Clan Invasion, with MW5’s basic framework, characters with actual personalities, and a mix of bespoke and generated missions a lot closer to what the HBS BattleTech game had after all the DLC were released. As stated by a lot of folk, there just isn’t much memorable to MW5, but things like getting involved in an All-Urbie Deathmatch tournament run by an absolute madman, or the scramble to yoink an experimental Raven, or the feeling of finally managing to take down both the Bounty Hunter and Natasha Freaking Kerensky at the height of her prowess after multiple attempts? Those moments stick with you. And the bland “Cardboard Cutout With Stats” MechWarriors in MW5 have nothing on you cat-herding a bunch of interesting individuals like Glitch, Yang, Sumire, and if you actually managed to not have him die, Dekker… but as someone who prefers Jagged Alliance to XCOM, that might be personal bias there.

  27. Kantoken

    Mechwarrior 5 is overall very forgettable. It did nothing new, and the established norms from the previous Mechwarriors were pretty badly implemented (‘mech feel, weaponry feel, aesthetics and designs (what’s with the weird neurohelmets on the pilots you can hire), UI). Nothing tells me that this game is the most recent one and from a modern era in gaming. It looks ugly, with muted colors, and the AI is downright awful.

    But the thing I really do want to forget is how I can’t skip all the talking. There’s just so much talking. You keep running from character to character to hear unskippable lines which you read three times over from the subtitles before it’s finally done. I have a comm-system. Friggin’ use it. But no, I’ve run multiple marathons on this stupid dropship to hear boring dialogue that seems to go nowhere.

    Remember how you were looking forward to the story unfolding and being presented with new missions and objectives? Yeah. Not in Mechwarrior 5. Revenge stories need to be written very carefully to be interesting through originality, and that’s where it also fails. The missions are cookiecutter, with only the employer, biome and flavor text being different. It becomes boring really quick.

    In the end, it says Mechwarrior 5 on the box, but it could’ve been any mecha game.

  28. schwerer gustav

    alright, I’ll lay this out as plainly as I can. mechwarrior 5 without mods is outright boring. the vast majority of the game is spent plodding from planet to planet, completing repetitive procgen missions on ugly, soulless procgen maps. not to mention the lacking quality of the handful of actually designed missions. the AI is atrocious, the multiplayer is lacking, the mechlab is bizarrely restrictive, the sounds lack punch and the enmy frequently spawns within 500 meters of your back. you have to mod nearly every single aspect of MW5 to make it acceptable. meanwhile, to have a bit of a fun time with mw4, and it’s expansions? you simply install the game , maybe add a patch for modern windows, and fire up the mechlab before hitting instant action.

    tl;dr: if mw6 is being made by the same piranha that can’t even give their balance guys for MWO a test server to test their changes on, you can count me out.

  29. Isaac

    The Mech 5 DLC where you participate in the start of the 4th Succession War was really good.

  30. Eric

    Just replayed mechwarrior 5 for the first time in a few yaers, certainly since the DLC’s came out. What a much better experience, though I also added some mods that made everything run smoother. The procedural generation has gotten better and has become less repetitive. Overall pretty fun. The variety of mechs that I actually wanted to start as a base greatly increased as well. What is missing from the old games is the reference library. I’m not a huge tabletop junkie with reems of reference books. I liked being able to look up all the really detailed references to the (at the time) clan I was in and have the things unlock as time occurred or I ran into different clans, allowing me to learn more and become more immersed in the game. The great thing about that is if you don’t like it you don’t have to read any of it, but certainly makes a game a lot better for me. Would be awesome to read a little bit about each planet you visit and have references in the actual gameplay. If there’s particular types of factories you should find more of that product, missions should all integrate with the lore you’re exposed to.

  31. Name *

    The Mechwarrior 5 game we have in its current state is in a pretty good place. It’s certainly in a much better place than not having a Mechwarrior game for 20 years.
    The lancemate AI is decent, the environments are destructible, you can actually punch another mech if it runs in front of your face (or get punched if you’re too aggressive), the sound is quite good- the desert with all the rock piles is a particular standout-, the mech customization I think chafes on players because they’re used to the freedom of the tabletop customization rules, but it prevents boating and allows the chassis to not be interchangeable.
    Not a single ground vehicle has spawned in my direct line of sight or 500m in my rear arc, and it has been that way for some time.
    The newer campaigns are far superior to the original but even the original had a couple great moments- one of the early missions when I was still in mediums and the campaign mission brought down a lance with a Warhammer at the very end when I had gotten myself fairly shot up comes to mind. The VTOL ambush in the one of the last missions was great. The sheer volume of mechs that the final base campaign mission throws at you is really impressive, that one got desperate and when I finally got through it I happily ate 12M in repair costs because I hadn’t lost any pilots or irreplaceable components, although my ECM Battlemaster had been turned into chewing gum (I basically rebuilt it out of spite).

    I don’t think the procgen missions are any more repetitive than HBS Battletech, although HBS’s banter is better- you do notice the repetitive map elements but I think I have most of HBS’s entire maps memorized at this point so no surprises there either. More procgen elements would certainly be nice for more variety.

    The fundamental gameplay- shooting the other mechs – I don’t think has ever been better (except Stream SRMs should track the firing reticule as they stagger fire so you can actually spread them). If it were up to me I would fix the incredible shrinking career mode map (don’t do anything here because your employer won’t appreciate it and your target will still hate you) and the bloated weapon inventory (the alternate fires could all be mechlab toggles, and artemis could just attach to a launcher although I’m sure this was done because of how ammo is coded).

    Mechwarrior 5 is vastly improved from how it began, and I think Mechwarrior 6 can be great as long as it builds on the very solid mech combat foundation, cuts down on the hassles, refines the procedural generation to allow for more variation, and improves the story writing and dialogue.

    I have a particular viewpoint because I recently picked the game back up, I wanted to blow up some mechs in first person and not deal with a PVP meta. And that rock desert track has taken up space in my brain next to some of the Mechwarrior 2 music. Good job whoever did that.

    (It would also be nice to stop seeing VTOLs in vacuum environments and acid storms)


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