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MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Review

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Review

I want to preface this review by saying that my only prior experience playing any of the MechWarrior games was when I was six years old and watching my cousin build this giant death machine in MechWarrior 2. That being said, I was absolutely fascinated with the game and became a fan ever since. I just never got around to playing MechWarrior until now. Well, it has been over 15 years since MechWarrior 4 was released. If you disregard MechWarrior Online, that’s over 15 years since players have been able to explore the universe of MechWarrior and its lore.

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MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was developed by Piranha Games and takes place in the year 3015 and will support game time play up to the year 3049. It is primarily a single-player game but there are online co-op plays available once Act 1, which is largely a tutorial act, had been completed. What was great about playing MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is that as a newcomer to the series, I did not feel lost even once during my playthrough. The tutorial, while very long and consisted of an entire act that took me almost three hours to complete, did a very good job in teaching me how to play the game. There was a lot of handholding followed by throwing me into the firefight to figure out the mechanics on the fly. I can see this annoying the veteran MechWarrior players but for someone new to the series, this was the ideal way to teach me how to play the game. The only complaint I had about this was that once the tutorial ended, I had to build up my reputation before I could progress in the campaign. This would have been fine if the game told me just how high my reputation had to be but instead, the only mission objective I was given was “Build up your reputation to take on more contracts.” This was so vague and frustrating since I wanted to hurry up and get into the campaign. So there was a lot of grinding by doing random missions for the various Houses in the Inner Sphere.

There was also a marketplace where I could buy parts for my Mechs, ammo, and even new Mechs. I could also go to barracks and hire new pilots to join my mercenary company. At first glance, this was very intimidating especially since I did not know what a lot of the parts or Mechs were. But the tutorial did a great job walking me through how to order and how to place parts and repair my Mechs. The same with hiring pilots and selecting which pilots to join me on missions.

There were a number of missions or contracts that were the default missions. They ranged from assassinations, defending areas, eliminating a certain number of enemies, and destroying specific buildings or targets. The contracts could slowly be negotiated for higher payouts which depended on how high my reputation was with that specific House. I could also opt for insurance where the House will pay for damages done to the Mechs during the mission. After each mission, I was able to select what salvage I wanted. This was where I felt there should be a description when your mouse highlighted over a part. For a newbie such as myself, I didn’t know what some parts were nor what I should be grabbing. Honestly, at first I just randomly selected the most valuable salvage which was probably not the smartest thing to do. But this was merely a minor annoyance as I quickly learned what each part was and what I should be looking out for.

Week 28 4 AA

One other thing that really stood out to me when I booted up the game was the soundtrack. It definitely was a set to pump me up and make me feel like I was the most powerful being in the universe. Honestly, I could rock out to it consistently. Usually when I play games, I would have a Spotify playlist playing in the background but with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, that was not necessary. There was no greater feeling than walking through a building as a guitar riff blasted through my speakers. That being said, I could still hear all the sound effects of the lasers and guns on my Mech over the music which I greatly appreciated. It was very satisfying to watch things explode as an epic drum solo played.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was created in the Unreal Engine. Now, I have to emphasise here that I was not playing with the graphics on the highest setting but instead, the second highest settings. On the second highest setting, I would have to say that the graphics were not as impressive as I would have liked them to be. This may be because there was so much detail in the planets from all the trees falling over when I walked straight into them to all the rocks that were scattered around the area. The game itself was extremely beautiful, but I felt that even on the second highest setting, it could have been better. When I spoke with my crew on the ship, the animation of their mouths seemed a bit forced and they barely moved. The guards on the ship would stare at me and watch as I walked by them. On a whim, I decided to have a staring contest with one and to my horror, I found that the guard would never blink. He would only move his head to follow my movement. Terrified, I ran away to go do a mission. On missions, I had found the explosions of non-mechs and buildings to be pretty underwhelming. In this day and age, I would have expected a bigger explosion followed by wreckage scattered across the battlefield. Instead, what I got was an orange flame and a darker version of the enemy that I destroyed. When buildings get destroyed, they would slowly get flatter. Although, for the smaller buildings that I was able to just walk through to destroy them, I could see the path that I took. At first, this was pretty exciting but eventually this became a bit underwhelming as well. The buildings sometimes seemed more pixelated when in pieces and if I looked at them closely. However, a brief glance and looking from a distance, they actually did look awesome and well rendered. The Mechs certainly shined and were obviously where a lot of the graphics were focused on. They looked phenomenal on the ship and in the field. The walking and running animation looked exactly how I would imagine a robot would walk. I also had a lot of fun customizing the paint colours of my Mechs.

03 Base Defense

The controls in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, while numerous, were actually very easy to learn and simple to use. I remember when my cousin played MechWarrior 2, he had to use the numpad a lot, but in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, I never had to touch the numpad. I was able to fully customize the controls to what I wanted and mostly kept everything on default. Perhaps the hardcore MechWarrior fans would lament the loss of a more complex control system but for someone like me who would be considered new to the series, these “simplified” controls were ideal. There were also options to use a gamepad or a joystick but I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to try those out.

The story itself was, while interesting, was pretty slow paced in the beginning. It did not really capture my attention nor did I really connect with any of the characters, including the main character who I played as. This is not to say it was not entertaining, but that I felt it could have been written better, especially since the game spans across a lifetime. Fortunately, this was somewhat saved by some pretty decent voice actors.


Overall, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was an amazing game and ideal for newcomers to the series. I feel that even veterans to the series would love this game. However, there was no PvP in this game which I know for a lot of people is a drawback. Not only that, but there is no in-game voice chat. Instead, Piranha Games suggest that players use Discord or other VOIP servers. Also, the story did not really captivate me as much as I had hoped it would. The graphics were decent and overall were pretty well rendered save for some minor parts. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is definitely a good game for both new players and veterans to the series and especially for players who just want to shoot robots mindlessly. This was definitely a fun and addicting game that I will be playing continuously in the future.

8.50/10 8½

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is a great introduction to the MechWarrior series and is primarily a PvE game. Players can expect to be rocking to an awesome soundtrack as they destroy their enemies on the battlefields.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Joshua (Shnook)

Joshua (Shnook)

Staff Writer

Will do his very best to not avoid team killing everyone.

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