MechWarrior 4: Vengeance is the most recent part in the MechWarrior game series. Released by FASA and Microsoft in 2000.

The Story

Short version: It's 3058. the Inner Sphere is counterattacking after the Clan invasion. Victor Steiner-Davion went to war and left the dear home unguarded. Katrina Steiner, leader of Lyran Alliance, saw the opportunity and seized the FedCom. Eric Scharpe, duke of planet Kentares IV, claimed that Steiner-Davion was the only true leader. Katrina disagreed and invaded the planet. Scharpe's son returns from the war and as the first thing hears is some bad news. *sigh* Woe!

Well, somehow I think Mechwarrior 2's background story is still much better. =) But I do have to admit that MW4's cinematics are a bit better - 3D animations and live action. Very cool.

Game stuff

Technically, MW4 is absolutely stunning. MechWarrior 3 was cool-looking, but MW4 is even cooler-looking.

For example, here are some cool new things:

  • The "Flush coolant" command now releases only a little bit of the coolant, which means you can ration the stuff better. (In MW3 you got "about two" shots of coolant.)
  • The weapon groups are still there, but the weapon groups are now mapped to specific buttons by default. For example, you can make the trigger fire Group 1, button 2 fire Group 2, button 3 fire Group 3 and so on. On the not-too-inspiring side, the weapon/group selector does still work, but there's no indication whatsoever of which of the things was selected. Another pain in the neck. =(
  • The joystick throttle now has a "negative range" in the low end; While throttle setting used to give speed from 0%...100%, it now gives speed from ~-10%-100%. You can yank the throttle lever to the back, and you start walking backwards - not too fast, of course. Handy for finetuning movement but tricky to get used to.
  • Better graphics. Finally PPC fire looks like PPC fire should look like. Oh, yeah, and the weather effects are pretty nice. Also, the 'mech outlook is very nicely customizable. (Mot much more improvement, but improvements nevertheless...)

Ambiguous ("You hate it or love it"):

  • BattleMech refitting is now based on hardpoints that only accept one type of weapon: For example, you can't put lasers or energy weapons to Timber Wolf's shoulder racks, you can only put missiles there. This makes sense considering the 'mech construction and models - "It looks like a missile rack, so it should fire missiles." Of course, some people don't like this. (I do. As mentioned below, it's realistic. Not that I care much, I use pretty much the 'mechs the games have always offered by default...)

Just Bad:

  • Aiming missiles is just - pardon my french - goddamnedly fucking annoying. In previous parts, all you needed to do was to select the goddamn missile, select the enemy from the nav computer, move your crosshairs within the square in your HUD, wait a second and push button. "Laaki ja vainaa." In MW4, you need to point at the damn enemy 'mech itself, not the background or something else... You can't fire until you see the whites of their eyes - and even then, it needs some massive luck. And as you know, my favorite 'mech is not made for close quarter fighting!
    Or maybe there's something in the system that I still haven't understood...
    (Update: Maybe it's the patch 2.0, or maybe it's just me, but aquiring missile lock seems a bit easier in version 2.0. Or maybe I just developed a brain. Or something. I still think the missile lock should come easier - what use is an all-seeing, surgically specific, futuristic radar if missile locking requires visual contact? =)
  • You can't trample humans with your 'mech (I think it was possible in MW3, I think I heard couple of screams when I left one base... or something... =). Not that I care, but some sadistic individuals will probably find this disappointing. =)
  • The "quickzoom" feature from MW3 is still here, but a) it opens a HUGE window, and b) zooms too much to be useful. (Or maybe my battles just have gone too close.)
  • Music and story isn't as good as in the good ol' times.
  • Can't play as clanner, but at least the logos of the Clans are all available in player options.

"Die, subhuman freeborn scum!"
"Crawl back to the breeding vat, clanner freak! Remember Tukayyid?"

- reportedly some chatter on the multiplayer servers sounds like this =)

Just want to clarify a few things about WWWWolf's writeup.

Ok, that's it. Mechwarrior 4 is a great game, if your a Mechwarrior fan, or even if you're not, its well worth buying it. Don't be turned off by the fact its been passed on to Microsoft either, they did a top job.

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