Experience what it's like to be a MechWarrior in VR.
Wade through a war torn futuristic city, blow up your opponents and complete your objectives.
Get yourself immersed in one of the most awesome VR game demo available today.
Playing the original BattleTech (The Crescent Hawk Inception) on a Commodore 64 was one of my most memorable gaming experiences. The idea of Piloting a BattleMech as part of a Military game campaign was a very new one at that time and an innovative idea as well. Although robot warfare wsa previously introduced by the Japanese Anime industry, an actual Mech Warfare game on the current PC's of the day was an amazing thing.
Through the years, BattleMech gaming evolved under the direction of the FASA corp. which held the franchise. From the original RPG game to the MechWarrior FPS simulator series of games, piloting a huge lumbering hunk of metal armed to the teeth against other machines of the kind was an immersive, fun and challenging experience. The games even became popular in the arcades where players would group themselves into Clans and duke it out on the cockpit consoles that dominated the day.
Then, MechWarrior Online was released and the BattleMech gaming crowd had something to play with once again. This time, online with players all over the world. Unfortunately, FASA has long gone out of circulation and it was up to the game development community to somehow keep the original spirit of BattleTech alive. The old gamers of the 1980's who played Jason Youngblood's original adventures probably never imagined that the day would come that a wonderful innovation called VR would enable a player to experience piloting a BattleMech in a realistic as possible environment using a headset strapped to ones face.
War Robots VR: The Skirmish is a game being developed by Pixonic for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. A demo game has already been released on Steam, short but awesome and immersive. The game gives you a single mission run to capture a beacon and clear out the opposing forces blocking your way.
Playing in VR will give you up to a 360º point of view and you move your Mech in the direction you look at. The game uses a game pad or Vive controller set along with HMD movement tracking to control your Mech. You can actually play the game with the old MechWarrior style game play using the keyboard and Mouse but doing that in VR may not be an option.
In the cockpit, touchpad controls highlight when needed and an armor indicator is provided to show how much your Mech can still take the hits. The game has an awesome environment which really makes you feel in the midst of a war torn futuristic city. Even some of the objects in the environment can be destroyed like if you fire at parked vehicles, they will blow up.
Your Mech is armed with twin projectile cannons and rocket launchers. The game is mission based so you have to complete certain objectives. No worries though as you are not alone. You have the lead Mech up ahead of you who's pilot will tell you what to do. In this game demo, you're the wingman.
One feature of this demo is that the weapon system almost operates automatically. Aiming and firing at the target will auto release a barrage of combined cannon and rocket fire. The full game may have more manual options available like in MechWarrior where you could select the armament you wanted to use. Unfortunately, though extremely fun and immersive, the game is really short. Once the objective beacon has been captured, the game will soon end.
Graphics wise, the VR environment is awesome although the current map only show a battle torn city at night. Sound effects are realistic and loud enough for a Mech Warrior game. The thump of the giant Mech's footsteps where so cool but the voice-overs however could still be improved for the final full game. The lead pilot's death scream was kind of unconvincing compared to the old MechWarrior and MechCommander games where you could really feel the reaction of the pilots (especially the female pilots whose voice-overs where quite emotional and awesome to hear).
The soundtrack is lively and techno and jives well with the Mech combat atmosphere though the games theme is somewhat reminiscent of the old lassic BattleTech Crescent Hawk original soundtrack which at that time was awesome through an 8bit Commodore 64 computer's speaker.
Overall, the game and franchise is a promising alternative to the FASA Mech Universe franchise which a lot of old MechWarrior fans are missing so much nowadays. Also, it's awesomely in VR and, it’s free!