MechWarrior 3 Review

For PC

By Contributing Writer Mike Bean

Rating: Awesome
   Something inside of me always flinches when a license changes hands. 
Somehow, the final product always seems lacking when it's taken from 
the hands of those who conceived the idea to begin with.  So I was more 
than a little concerned when I heard that MechWarrior 3 would be developed 
by Zipper Interactive, not the series' creators at Activision.  Fortunately, 
Zipper did a wonderful job adding to the series while still making it feel 
like MechWarrior, and the result is an all-around great game.  
   MechWarrior 3 (MW3) is unquestionably the best-looking MechWarrior to 
date.  The mechs are extremely detailed and beautifully animated.  The 
settings are vast and exceptionally well rendered, with all sorts of things
ranging from barren wilderness to cities so impressive you might almost 
experience flashes of regret before you blast them into rubble.  The 
attention to detail is unbelievable.  Machine guns will punch holes in
your cockpit window, missiles will blast craters in the ground in front of 
you, and cannons treat you to a great muzzle flash right before they hit. 
The only thing more unbelievable then the graphics is the fact that MW3 
sounds almost as good as it looks. Turn up the speakers and it really 
sounds like there's a war going on in your living room.  MW3 is one of 
those rare games that are nearly as much fun to watch as they are to play.
   Veterans of the MechWarrior series won't have any difficulty adjusting 
to MW3's gameplay.  MW3 is very much consistent with its predecessors, 
although it does include a variety of new gameplay elements that change the 
feel of the game a little bit.  For example, field repairs are now an 
option, and the game also has an optional mouse-driven weapons system.  
Despite the occasional curveball, MW3 still serves up the same great 
gameplay that made the MechWarrior series famous.  
  The control set-up is a little complex, but it is completely customizable 
and it didn't take me long to get used to it.  For newcomers to the series,
there is a series of training missions available that walk you through the 
basics of mech operation and piloting.  You should expect to spend a little 
less than 30 minutes to familiarize yourself, and then you should be ready 
to hop right in and start blasting.  
   Multi-player gameplay is available over a modem, Local Area Network, or 
Microsoft's Gaming Zone ( on the Internet, and the game's 
multi-player performance is impressive.  Despite my modest Internet 
connection, I found multi-player games to be fairly quick, with minimal lag 
and a wide variety of options.  There is still some lag, but not enough to 
really hamper the experience like it does with some other multi-player 
games on the PC.
   As gorgeous as MW3 is, you won't be able to fully appreciate it unless 
you have a fairly high-end computer.  The minimum requirements listed on 
the box are a joke (if this game can run on a Pentium 166, I don't think it
would be worth playing).  Even if you have a fast computer, the game still 
has its fair share of bugs.  My test system (a Pentium 2 running at 300MHz) 
crashed several times, and it couldn't handle the in-game voices for some 
reason.  Microprose (the game's publisher) has released a patch which fixes 
some of the bugs, but not all of them.
   Also, MW3 only has 20 single-player missions.  While the missions are 
long enough (and you can always keep yourself entertained in the multi-
player and Skirmish modes), there should still have been more of them.  I 
have no doubt that expansion packs will offer more single-player missions 
down the road, but in the meantime, MW3 may leave you saying, "That's it?" 
when you beat the game.
   All in all, MechWarrior 3 is a little rough around the edges, but it's 
still worth buying just as long as you've got sufficient computing muscle 
to do the job.  It is a worthy addition to the series that any hardcore 
MechWarrior fan will enjoy.  And if you've never played a MechWarrior game, 
you owe it to yourself to take a look at what you've been missing.

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