In recent years, the video game market has been flooded with battle arenas of all shapes and sizes with many companies searching for a new twist or aspect that will put their game at the top of the list. Not all are successful, but sometimes the attempts are merely doorways into something that could be, given the company has the foresight and resources to see it and implement it. In Techwars: Global Conflict, developer Argus Games and publisher Black Sun Game Publishing attempt to bring isometric, team-based mech warfare into the mix. This is our review.
In a not so distant future, societies as we know them have collapsed, resources are scarce, and global dominance is a prize to be won by one of two technologically advanced supercorporations. The Russian Dominion and the American KATO bring their technological might to bear in the form of giant, robotic mechs (because, why not?).
Techwars is not your traditional MOBA and in some cases feels more like a Battle Royale, though it does have some familiar aspects, and the addition of giant mechs with destructible environments can only add to the fun, right? To some extent, yes. The nerd in me wants to do backflips at the idea of piloting mechs into battle, and honestly, the functionality is pretty good. Both sides of the conflict have a specific special ability that can give the pilots the edge in what can sometimes be intense battles. On top of the faction inherent abilities, each mech has its own abilities or weapons that provide them as well. The list of individual abilities is quite large as the list of mechs that can be obtained is pretty substantial, especially when you take into consideration the fact that you can own mechs from both factions.
There are two types of matches, one in which you and your teammates commit to search and destroy tactics, and one wherein you battle over three access points that, when controlled, allow teammates to respawn at that location. Each team has a counter, and as members of that team are decimated their counter counts down and the first team to reach zero loses. Landscapes for these matches varies between city, desert, mountains, and snowy mountains. Beware the narrow bridges in the mountainous regions, they are narrow and your mechs are not so much.
According to the Steam store page, there can be up to 20 players in a match, and though I can’t personally say that I have experienced that many people on one map, it is quite possible, as the maps are good sized and battles can and will range all across the landscape. Sticking with other teammates can be essential to avoid getting ganged up on.
Mechs are broken up into different categories or classes, including Scouts, Stormtroopers, Destroyers, Technicians, and Titans. Each class has its own specific expertise and may have up to two different mech designs within them. The different strengths and weaknesses are specifically designed by the developers to encourage team dynamics, inferring that it might be in your best interest to learn to play nice with others.
The list of weapons and equipment that can be crafted is also very large, and buying blueprints for newer and better tech is a good way to bolster your survivability. In order to buy those blueprints, you must acquire credits, one of the two currencies in the game. Credits are not all that quick in coming, with a meager amount being awarded after each match depending on how well you performed. The idea seems to be to fight lots and kill many. Nothing new. Credits can also be used to purchase new mech blueprints, though they can get very pricey. Once you purchase a blueprint it’s yours to use as you please.
Crafting an item will require resources that are usually earned in each match. Each time you craft said item there is a chance that you will craft one of higher quality. Quality levels go from Academic (base), Combat, Advanced, and Epic. If you happen to not be pleased with the result, the item can be turned in for a partial resource refund.
Platinum is the second form of currency, and this is the one that you can pay real life money to acquire extra amounts of. Don’t worry, you can acquire platinum by completing tasks from the various task lists that can be accessed from your hangar. Platinum is used to purchase random-loot-containers of various value and price, many of which consist of mechs, paint styles for specific mechs, credits, or weapons. I’m not usually one for random-loot-anything, but I did acquire a fair amount of platinum by inadvertently completing tasks while simply playing and there really isn’t anything else to spend the platinum on. Don’t get too excited, though, if you happen to snag an elite Titan-class mech. I did but had no equipment to equip to it, and blueprints for it are very expensive. So you may just have an awesome mech that sits, unused in your storage until you can manage to scrape enough credits together.
All in all, I found the game to be enjoyable, and the mechanics and visuals pretty well smoothed out and the concept, while not groundbreaking, adds just enough new to make it unique. For me, however, there are some strong disappointments. Despite being a multiplayer game, and having a “Friends” menu, interactions with other players are largely limited to what happens on the battlefield and not a whole lot of friend-making happens at all. Nor is there any form of lobby with which to converse with other players between matches. Not to mention the fact that Techwars derives its inspiration from Mikhail Vlad’s dystopian novels, but unfortunately brings little more than the basic ideas and framework to the game. In fact, the game lacks any real implementation of story at all and merely introduces the idea of two super powerful organizations duking it out through mechs and pilots, of which you are one. Even the idea of two distinct factions is diminished as the player is able to switch between sides at will by merely choosing to pilot a mech from the opposing side. Don’t worry, by the time you finish the tutorial you should have one from each side.Having said that, I realize that most arena style games are without a great deal of story, and many who play them are not looking for a story, so for someone out there, maybe you, this might be an ideal game. It’s free-to-play, can’t hurt to give it a try.
- Fierce action
- Destructible environments
- Random loot containers
- Credit rewards are minimal
- Lack of story despite the derived inspiration
Note: Our copy was reviewed on (platform) with a code provided by PR.