Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

BattleTech Arrives for PCs

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 24, 2018

When I was a kid back in the 1980s, on any given Saturday I could hit my friendly local gaming store — the kind with an area where players could run miniatures battles or run D&D games — and I would inevitably see half the tables dominated by BattleTech games. I was fascinated, but I was scared off by the budgets these guys had sunk into their collection of BattleMech miniatures and landscapes. (Then Warhammer 40k came on the scene and made the BattleTech players seem like pikers…)

I rarely played, and was never very good at it, but I was familiar with the rules and owned several of the game books. I loved the history and worldbuilding of the game. I read several of the novels. I really, really wanted to play games in that universe.

I played nearly every official computerized version of the game, from arcade games to the Infocom / Activision strategy/ adventure / RPG series (the Crescent Hawks games), and I was addicted to Mechwarrior. I eagerly awaited the Mechwarrior II release. I played the public demo dozens of times, which didn’t resemble the final game at all because the full game was re-built very nearly from scratch after the demo’s release. I joined an online clan and played Mechwarrior II competitively via Kali in the days before you could really play anything other than board games and MUDS online. (For you youngsters… Mechwarrior II was LAN only. Kali made the entire Internet seem like your LAN. And you don’t know lag until you are playing on a 14k baud modem…)  I even went to the Battletech Centers (Virtual World Entertainment) back when they were a thing in the 1990s, and played a few fan-made computer games (and even a MUD) back before there really were any official computer games.

I played the later games, and I also got into Mech Commander a bit… which was closer to the wargame in style. Mechwarrior Online… I’ve played. I have an account. I have mechs. I suck. I don’t really have much time to play, but I’m still enthralled by the concept, if not the execution.

So yeah, while there are many more hardcore fans out there than me, I consider myself a fan with a long history with the games, particularly the computer versions.

I have been a backer for the BattleTech game from Hairbrained Studios. As such, I had the chance to play the Backer Beta of the game a bit, and I was extremely pleased. It had the feel of the old miniatures game (or, since I played so rarely, how I envisioned the miniatures game ought to feel), but it did an even better job of handling the pilots and making them interesting, and having their skills play a tangible roll in combat. There is also a much bigger role for hand-to-hand combat than in any other computer BattleTech game I have played. I’m excited to play the full released game.

Which released TODAY.  I’ve heard it described as “XCom with giant robots.” I’m not sure how accurate that really is, but they did do a very good job in the beta of making the turn-based combat solid and fun. It’s available from GOG.COM and STEAM. If you are a fan of the BattleTech world and games, and you like turn-based combat (when done well), I think this game will be a winner.


Filed Under: Game Announcements, Geek Life - Comments: 3 Comments to Read

  • Dave LeCompte said,

    Glad you’re enjoying it! Each time a LRM volley lands, I think of your posts about Warhawk.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Thanks! Yeah, I think BattleTech was inspired by the same source I was… anime!

  • McTeddy said,

    I wish I could say I’m enjoying it but my first experiences were not positive. I’ve had dozens of minor bugs where my selected character is unselected as dialog plays and the entire game is insanely slow… like… let’s fire these missiles and these lasers separately with a 1 second delay in between.

    And then… it deleted my save. I can’t bring myself to play through the tutorial again.

    I genuinely think it’ll be a great game, but I’m planning to hold off for a month to see if they do some fixes. I can see the potential but I just can’t get past my frustrations.