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Quick Look: BattleTech

Managing a mercenary group of mechs takes a lot of patience, hard work, and jumping.

Sit back and enjoy as the Giant Bomb team takes an unedited look at the latest video games.

May. 13 2018

Cast: Vinny, Alex, Abby

Posted by: Abby

In This Episode:

BattleTech

96 Comments

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deks

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Been waiting on this.

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MeierTheRed

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Edited By MeierTheRed

Happy to see it finally getting a Quickest of Looks. Played around 14 hours now and I'm still having a very good time with it.

Edit: Having finished the Quick Look, i will give you a few things that helped my self be better at the game.

1: Dont try to be a jack of all trades with every mech, there will be too many shortcomings. Try to specialize a bit more, like having the BlackJack be a long rage sniper while ditch the close quarters weapons in favor for more armor or a couple of AC5's instead of the 2's.

2: Destroying a mechs center torso is a surefire way to only get one piece of salvage from it. Where as destroying both legs will give you 2. Best of all if you can incapacitate the enemy pilot you will get access to all 3 pieces. Which means you getting a brand new mech for your garage.

3: If a mech is overheating too much, consider pulling off some jumpjets or a another weapon system in favor for a heatsink and maybe a bit more armor. Its better to have less weapons constantly firing then having a bunch of guns you cant use for several rounds.

4: Precision strikes can safe your life. By hovering over a mech or right clicking you can mouse over the different parts of the mech, and the UI will tell you what weapon systems are located in what area. Going up agains a mech with an AC20 located in the should is dangerous, but focusing on that should and weapon could remove it within a round or two. Leaving you with less stuff to worry about. Also targeting areas where ammo is located has a higher chance of that whole part blowing up if the ammo is ruptured.

I'm probably missing something, but thats just off the top of my head.

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sa_drone

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Edited By sa_drone

I adore this game and the Battletech franchise, so I've been looking forward to this!

And a Vinny-led Quicklook with Abby and Alex is probably the best team I could have hoped for on this QL, short of tapping in Austin Walker or Rob Zacny as guest talent.

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Turambar

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Edited By Turambar

@alex The MechWarrior videogames came from the BattleTech franchise, so no trademark violations here.

MechWarrior was originally a pen and paper role playing game much like Dungeons and Dragons, and used the BattleTech system, originally a tabletop minitures game, for it's mech combat.

Observation: Dekker is already dead in this recording.

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smellylettuce

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Dekker died early on for me too. Those light mechs are death traps.

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GhostStalker

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Edited By GhostStalker

@smellylettuce: I've seen someone keep Dekker alive, running around in a Firestarter when he also has Assault Mechs in his Lance, up to around the second Smithon mission.

Helps that he uses him mostly as a scout to Sensor Lock things for his LRM-boats between jumping between cover, and also as a bushwhacker to take out already damaged mechs with Flamer (or MG) assisted melee. Cockpit mods and Ace Pilot also help a lot. It's been working out for him pretty damn well. He lost Glitch though, to LRM spam leading to knockdowns.

Of course, this is PoptartsNinja, who's been running a BattleTech tabletop LP on the Something Awful forums for the better part of a decade now, so he's got a very good idea of how to use Lights to their best advantage in game.

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kazzerscout

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Edited By kazzerscout

As a person with £300+ of Battletech sourcebooks which I read just for the background and don’t even play the tabletop game, I should probably try this.

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gaggle64

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This is one of those games that's had me sweatin' to get a proper gaming PC but I'm waiting to let my PS4 to run down.

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steveurkel

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I had a friend in Sunday school whose parents were pastors at a different church whome we would play battle tech ccg. It was a weird friendship because all we did was play that because he wasn't allowed to play video games. We went to different schools and stopped talking but I remember vividly most of the art and lore it was a super cool ccg. I also played lots of Mechwarrior growing up but couldn't afford the tabletop game. May actually give this a shot I thought it would be more like xcom when they started showing clips.

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Falk

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50 hours in and loving it, goty for me atm. I think Vinny did a really good job explaining the different systems here.

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LoktarOgar

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16 minutes in

What is this, EVE fucking Online?

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penguindust

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Danger Mouse reference right off the bat. Well done, Vinny. I played a bit of the table-top miniatures game back in the day (way back!), and I was a fan of both MechWarrior and Mech Assault. This looks more like the table-top game which is good. I have this saved on my Steam Wish List, so I am interested to see if it’s worth taking the next step.

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thefncrow

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A few notes about the game:

Mechs are operable until one of 3 things happen: the pilot dies (which can occur through continual injury or by destroying the mech's head), the center torso is destroyed, or both legs are destroyed. Center torso is usually unlikely to be hit, but if they were to manage to hit your torso or head hard, your mech could start a round showing hundreds of points of armor and health and then die in 1 turn.

For example, take the mech Vinny loses at the end of the video. Right before it's killed, it has 248 structure and 216 armor, and the attack that kills the mech does not deal this much damage. However, these numbers are cumulative across all mech parts. In reality, all armor had been lost from both arms and both legs, making it a very bad situation if either of those parts would get hit (which is what happened). The legs of the mech had been destroyed by Death From Above, the melee attack Vinny did to kill Striker. Normal melee is usually harmless to the mech doing the attack, but Death From Above involves using the jump jets to get a bunch of height and crush the enemy like Mario stomping a goomba. It does a lot of damage, but it does equal damage to the legs of the attacker. In that one attack, Medusa's legs went from good to near dead, and the attack at the end was enough to kill a leg and create a cascade that ended up with a dead mech.

You can't do explicit targeting of mech parts except against downed mechs or using the special ability that burns morale, but there's always a dice roll to determine what body part is hit once it has been determined that the weapon hits at all. If you look at the mech diagram in the top pane, the parts that can be hit in a turn have a red outline. This means you might need to be extra cautious about exposing your right side if the armor on that side has been blown off and you're getting into structure damage.

I could keep going but that's good for now.

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Lazyaza

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Edited By Lazyaza

Man I love this micro system stuff game seems way up my alley.

Almost seems a little excessive though between the morale and finance systems. Hoping once you get a ways in you can have more leeway and just say fuck it with heavy mechs kitted out in everything.

As a long time fan of the bt franchise I'll probably lose my shit over the mere sight of a timberwolf once again.

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Jagubrah

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damn, only 8 minutes in and I'm really gettin an itch to play this and we're still looking at the loadout stuff lol.

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hassun

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It's not a winner on a technical level but boy is it engaging to play.

I did lose like an hour in the tutorial mission by a mech jumping on me and killing me instantly after not having done anything for like 4 turns. That's that good stuff.

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TomyDingo

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@alex What really happened that night over Macho Grande? https://youtu.be/JswFF2dKiLM

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thepotatoman

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I'd actually say the game is pretty simple once you get past the number of systems. Your options on the battlefield are really limited compared to most turn based strategy games, and even though there is a lot of thought that can go into specing your mechs, it's not like you're respecing all that often.

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mrbubbles

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I've been waiting for this Quick Look so I can decide if I'll buy this game

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Rich666

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28 min and still in the menus... I checked out.

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archimedes83

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Yeah!!!! Love this quicklook Vinny. Penfolds crikey squad is amazing!Rock on!

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squigiliwams

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I've got like.... 60 hours in this game and im up to the 2nd to last mission and its whupping my ass. GOTY (so far) for me!

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soulcake

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Easy to learn hard to master. This isn't Crusader Kings II difficult of a learning curve or any other paradox clausewitz engine game.

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Sunnydunks

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Took a while for me to get a handle on it but man is this game good..

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Edited By Seikenfreak

Thanks for doing this QL @vinny. You did about as well as you could under the circumstances.

This game is prime for a weekly feature where Vinny just sits down and plays a mission by himself, sipping some coffee. Talk Battletech, Mechs, Gundams, Transformers etc.. And I'm sure Austin wouldn't mind stopping in once or twice. The more you play this game, the more it absorbs you and becomes addicting. The game opens up after the story mission shown here.

Just finished the story myself the other day. Maybe my GOTY at this point over God of War or Monster Hunter.

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reap3r160

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Nailed the management aspect of it, but you guys ended it before you really dug into the nuances of mech vs mech combat.

Facings do more than just determine line of sight. Depending on which side of a mech(indicated by the colored segment around the base of the mech) you have a greater chance of hitting limbs on that side.

So say you've been pounding, or taking a pounding, on the left side of a mech and it has some formidable weapons on that torso/arm, try flanking their left side to try and knock it out.

Similarly, if your left side has taken a lot of damage, try only exposing your right side to basically shield yourself from further damage.

I love Battletech on the tabletop and this is a relatively faithful recreation of that that basically just automates all the dice rolls and hit modifiers.

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KirkyX

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The art in this game is so ridiculously good--that opening cutscene starts things off strong, and it just keeps going from there.

The bit where you finally get the Argo is just beautiful.

And I can't get over how much I love Kamea's character design. I think I'm gonna try and model my next RPG character after her.

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MVHVTMV

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This quick look was a bit rough. Generally there's not as much travel and menu time as the start of this video, but Vinny picked one of maybe 2 story missions in the game that require you to fly to a separate location to talk to someone before going to the actual mission location.

It's a bummer they cut this video off right when the battle actually started to get interesting, after such a dull intro dealing with the tanks and turrets. Most missions go for about 15-20 minutes, and you see a lot more action.

To be fair though, this game is absolutely terrible at tutorialising it's systems, and Vinny seemed to have a decent grasp of them. I like it a lot, but it's the kind of the game that expects that you already know a bit of BattleTech and/or MechWarrior.

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Vicious17

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This seems like the most Austin game that could possibly exist.

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V3XED

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I dont comment very often, but I got to say. Glad you guys are still covering thees types of games!! I found this to be an excellent quick look where you really sussed out the games strengths and weaknesses but tried to show it in the best light. Keep it up!

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Edited By msoven

@rich666 said:

28 min and still in the menus... I checked out.

I also felt like this should maybe have been called something other than a "quick look." I'd heard a couple of things about the game, didn't know that much about it and was interested in seeing what the gameplay was like. At around the 40 minute mark, that started to occur?

If it's the case that more than 50% of the game is these menus then I retract this comment and instead offer my thanks for steering me clear of this one!

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party_hats

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Been looking forward to this ql. Played a couple of hours of this, so I haven't gotten a full grasp of the game yet. This quick look gave me a much better grasp of the game. Thanks Vinny!

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Edited By WezqApe

@msoven: Just showing what happens in missions would have misrepresented this game. Maybe not 50%, but a lot of time is spent managing your crew, finances and mechs etc. I think Vinny hit the balance pretty well, but obviously you can spend hours just fine tuning your mechs' arsenal and armor if you want.

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razorblade79

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Battletech the tabletop is the original thing that spawned all the Mechwarrior, mech assault, TV show and what not stuff and was developed in parallel with the novel line.

I've been playing the tabletop since the early 90s and this is finally a turn based video game version that - even though they changed a ton of rules - keeps the spirit and feeling of the boardgame and at the same time is faster to play.

If anyone wants to dive into the lore I would recommend the warrior trilogy novels by Michael Stackpole.

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msoven

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@wezqape: Gotcha. I think my attention span may have atrophied too much to handle these robots, then.

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kerse

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Edited By kerse

This game looks cool as hell. Would this run on older computers? I built this thing like 6 years ago so its not really up to par for most modern games.

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Turambar

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Edited By Turambar

@lazyaza: The game takes place in 302X, so there are no clan mechs available.

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Seikenfreak

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@msoven: The menus aren't that big a deal, it only seems that way when you're trying to explain everything.

Once you know what it all is (not long, it's pretty much all covered here), then it's just the small break in-between combat. You finish a contract, repair your mechs (typically just click the repair button), spend any XP on your MechWarriors if you want to, then pick another contract. Salvaging new, better Mechs and customizing them to your liking is where the fun is in the menus.

"Managing finances" and showing all that money stuff makes it look more involved than it is. Just look at the overall monthly bill to the left, look at how much money you have in the top right, and see if you're going to go broke before your next contract. Depending on how you play the game, money might not be much of an issue, especially in the end game. I watch others play it though and they get so impatient and whiny about everything in the game, they literally play paycheck-to-paycheck and have 50,000 in the bank, getting their Mechs and MechWarriors obliterated every mission through careless play and wonder why they have no money.

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Really enjoyed this QL as at least as an intro to a game I have been hearing a lot. It fits into the class of games I enjoy watching, but I'm not so sure about playing. Though of those, I do now feel confident and ready to pick up X-Com, especially after focusing on Dan's play. I'm sure I will do well, and be spared the needless concerns of base and player management, and also those time consuming mini-moves of the gameplay.

One thing I do notice is that the battles in this game might be lengthy, almost written into the fabric. There is a pretty good article on Waypoint covering the time investment aspect. I do like the granularity, but I am not sure why the Morale system is hooked into that one aspect of combat, probably did not understand it.

This is a game that I am going to read the wiki on, read more threads, and like Dark Souls, choose my moment of entry.

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@turambar said:

@lazyaza: The game takes place in 302X, so there are no clan mechs available.

Well shit that means no vultures or summoners too huh. Urgh.

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nickhead

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This was super informative, thanks Vinny!

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PaulKemp

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quick looks of super complicated games, and Vinny controlling the sticks? The best of times for quick looks. Keep it up beasties!

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PaulKemp

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And this game would be PERFECT set in the Mass Effect universe.

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Bageldrone

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great quicklook of a great game :) fingers crossed we get to revisit penfold's ship at a later date :)

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Vinny "Two Penfolds" Caravella

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ConVox

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@rich666 said:

28 min and still in the menus... I checked out.

I mean, that's fair enough but for anyone interested - they load in for Combat at roughly 30 minutes.

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I really wish they intro'd the UI more thoroughly. I've gone up to this mission now and a few contracts. There were things that I didn't even know about that Vinny taught, particularly the cone opacity part. But I do find it approachable as someone completely new to this and am really digging it. Thanks for the QL guys!

Also, I think the downed mech can stand up and have full movement and attack one their turn comes up. I haven't noticed any other benefit besides free called shots for a downed mech.

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avantegardener

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Purchased!

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noblenerf

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Edited By noblenerf

Great QL. Always love me some Battletech!

Even if Vinny doesn't, I will remember you, Dekker.

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Edited By Tanstaafl

Looking forward to watching this one, Just wanted to let all you duders know Austin over at waypoint has been doing a really fun and super informative play through over on their Twitch.

PS- Anyone who wants to play the game, to keep from going mad waiting for tiny infuriating pauses between animations and audio and between turns there is a simple INI edit that changes a couple settings to 0 that used to be 1 or 2 second pauses for no fucking reason.