During E3 2012, I had the lucky opportunity to test out and get a hands-on experience with Mechwarrior Online. Mechwarrior Online, currently in Closed Beta Testing didn’t cross my mind when I had arrived at E3 because neither company who were behind Mechwarrior Online weren’t on the list of exhibitors. My disappointment quickly changed as I noticed the game being demonstrated at the Razer booth. While the stations that were running the demo equipped with additional accessories which included Razer’s Blade 17″ Gaming Laptop, the setup was friendly to both the player and onlookers that were curious about either the mech stomping or the music that was pumping at the booth.
While it could be said that the controls were self-explanatory, I had just played MW4: Mercenaries just the night before which has a completely different key layout. In terms of functionality, the controls seem to suggest that you’d be controlling the throttle via W and S while A and D would allow you to turn your mech. Torso twisting by default seems to be controlled through the mouse. While the demo allowed myself and others to play with the closed beta, it by no means allowed us to adjust the controls among other things in the game.
While running into the Mechlab was like finding a familar face, not having the means to saving a configuration seemed like I was at the mercy of whatever weapons were thrown on it. On several occasions in game, even though I ran with a stock Catapult and checked to make sure I had ammo, all that I had available was the four medium lasers and no ammo for my LRM-15s.
Despite this annoyance, the gameplay seemed smooth and conducted without any problems. On the snow map to which I had been playing on, the particle effects appeared quite nicely as distant objects seemed blurred by a flurry storm and frost began to form on the cockpit screen. While the target window would state the distance of an object or mech, it seemed like there wasn’t anything to suggest the optimum range of a weapon which could be an oversight on my part. But at the same time, besides part of the mechlab and jumping in a match, the rest of the game was locked from my station.
In the end, Mechwarrior Online seems to bring that excitement that we’ve all seen through trailers and YouTube videos into the actual gameplay of the game. However, because the MWO is still in beta, I’m sure there are going to be a number of changes from now until the game is finally released. Hopefully most of us will be able to get to try the game for ourselves.