Be a fully trained and slightly frustrated mecha pilot Tech Wars: Global Conflict
BY ADAM SMITH
Techwars - Global Confict
Black Sun Game Publishing
Free to play, pay for premium in-game
TechWars: Global Conflict is the world’s first isometric MMO mecha-action with direct control. Only the strongest player will be able to win in this war of titanic mechs. Use all the features of world’s realistic technology Techwars. Victory in every battle will bring you closer to creating your own death machine.
The game starts with what you’d expect. A bit of branding followed by what seems like an overly long loading screen whilst some ominous stock 90s sci-fi era music plays. The next loading screen is animated with a destroyed city and a giant mech sitting around, attempting to get up but then being unable to, meanwhile around him random explosions are going off, bullets are flying and another mech is standing around in the background. Small wonder the game takes a little while to load. Eventually I’m allowed to click the any key to continue, but by this point I’d forgotten where it is.
Pick your faction!
So, off the bat I’m picking a faction I know nothing about and I’m given a small info dump that I have to read. Thing is, as I later discovered, this choice is completely irrelevant and has no impact on gameplay, only which mech you get first, and it’s only about twenty minutes before you get the next one anyway.
Either way there are two factions in the game. The yanks and the Russki’s, a good ol’ fashioned cold war game set in the future. You’d think in the future they’d have gotten over it by then. The only mechanic this really affects is what mechs you have access to and which side you play on in the battlefield but you’re free to swap these out between battles as you see fit.
Once you’ve passed this arduous choice you’re then thrown into a tutorial, or what I like to call the info dump that is the read until your eyes bleed mode. Honestly, there is a tonne of info dropped here that is completely meaningless to you at this point. I want to blow stuff up already. After a number of mindless clicks and feeble attempts to absorb whatever it was about the hangar (what’s a hangar again?) I was then dropped into battle with a quick screen dump of controls.
Less control, less energy
The control scheme, quite frankly, is a bit clunky. You control the mech directly using WASD and aiming by moving your cursor in the relevant direction. The problem with this is that, depending on where your mouse is and what keys you’re pressing will affect how your mech moves. That’s a given – but not so much when your mech always faces where your cursor is and then your mech is now strafing slowly around the battlefield. You can hit shift to sprint, but you only have a limited energy which doesn’t last an awful long time, takes even longer to recharge and if you completely run out you have to wait for a cooldown before you use it again. Not a great utilisation of a basic movement ability.
You fire your primary weapon with the left click and a special weapon with the right. You can switch between primary and secondary weapons with the mouse wheel or using the 1 and 2 keys respectively. You can also use z, e & c for some other abilities such as your super weapon (mine was an airstrike) or an instant ability (I had a hookshot that holds opponents in place and a 5 second buff to laser weapons). Not the most convenient assignments for the default layout, but of course you can go and reassign them to your liking.
Worst. Tutorial. Ever.
I’m not sure whether it was just my lack of aptitude for the game or that the AI in the practice mode was heavily shifted in favour of the enemy but I got absolutely annihilated. I think it has more to do with the completely frustrating inability to zoom the screen out further than the default view. Granted the game does try to compensate for some of this by slide the field of view slightly towards your mouse cursor (so if you’re aiming to the right, the screen shift right and your mech will now be on the left side of the screen and vice versa) but the massive problem with this is that the range of the weapons is greater than the size of the screen and so most of the time I was being destroyed by enemies off screen. I died over and an over in what seemed like the longest 5 minutes of my gaming history.
After your first match you’re thrown back into some more readin’ til’ you’re bleedin’, then another 5 mins of getting pub-stomped by AI, then some more readin’ til’ you’re bleedin’ until your finally realised as a fully trained mecha pilot, apparently. Worst. Tutorial. Ever.
Wipe away those bloody tears because this is where the game redeems itself, somewhat. Now you can explore the menus in your own time and without being guided through (at oft times badly) you can actually make sense of what’s going on. The UI isn’t the best and there is a lot of information to understand, but if you want to take the time there is a lot of customisation to be had.
“...the massive problem with this is that the range of the weapons is greater than the size of the screen and so most of the time I was being destroyed by enemies off screen. ”
You can build new mechs for either faction, and each mech comes with a number of different abilities which presumably dictates play style. I say presumably because my experience of the actual battles was pretty much run to the fighting, shoot at stuff until you’re destroyed and repeat. Not much in the way for tactical gameplay. Each mech can be upgraded with varying rarities of weaponry, armour and other modifications.
There are a number of resources in the game. They’re used as costs for mechs, upgrades and loot boxes.
You can complete daily, main, and social tasks which reward you with extra resources.
The daily tasks are typical play so many battles and kill so many opponents, some with specific fulfilment conditions such as playing as a certain type of mech.
The main tasks operate more like ongoing achievements along the same lines as the dailies but counting progress in totals such as destroying 500 mechs, then 1000 and so on. Some have more specific conditions such as destroying 50 mech arms.
Social tasks are simply adding people in the game which is easy enough to do after a match.
By this point I’ve noticed something glaringly obvious. The games actively advertising premium or pay to win features. It’s not completely in your face but it’s always present somewhere on the screen. Premium players, that is players who pay a subscription, get double loot, xp and a number of other benefits.
This clearly is a pay to win system.
You can get bigger, better mechs, guns and all, as well as betting the bonus xp to level faster and increased loot (which in turn leads to better guns and mechs). The game is free to play so it makes sense to have in game but this approach always rubs me up the wrong way, it feels like you’re being penalised as a free to play user rather than helping the developers make a living by making donations or paying to unlock cosmetic gear.
Graphically, the game is far from the best but it does have some nice assets. I like the hand drawn feel to the maps that feel like a map right out of an RPG game.
Unfortunately, the level design isn’t up to par. The battlefield is strewn with the debris of ruined building and such, which whilst aesthetically pleasing, created lots of places to get your mech stuck on. This leads to a quick death as you are now a sitting duck. The game does have a hints dialogue as your waiting to drop in after being destroyed, one of them mentions using cover however every mech shoots above the level of the debris so the only cover you can really utilize is the ruins that are mech height and above; full buildings, hills and mountains mostly.
By far the worst bit of level design is one of the maps with a bridge, which I quickly dubbed as the bridge of Khazad-dum, for you shall not pass! Namely because a number of players – myself included – fell off this bridge and to our doom and destruction below.
TECH WARS : CONCLUSION
Despite all its numerous flaws the game is – once you get to the meat of the multiplayer- relatively fun. It could do with some more game modes, essentially it only has a deathmatch mode in which you can capture landing zones to give your team somewhere else to land after they get destroyed. The game is faced paced, which can be great or frustrating depending on how whether you're doing the kicking or not but leaves a lot to be desired for those who prefer tactics than mindless destruction.
There’s a lot that could be done with this game. It has the potential to be something so much better than it currently is but for now, I wouldn’t recommend it.
The Good Stuff:
- Deep level of customisation
- Fast paced battles
The Bad Stuff:
Extremely painful tutorial
Limited field of view
Pay to Win
Sticky level design
Tech Wars: Global Conflict
Despite all its numerous flaws the game is – once you get to the meat of the multiplayer- relatively fun. It only has a deathmatch mode in which you can capture landing zones to give your team somewhere to land after they get destroyed. The game is faced paced, which can be great or frustrating depending on how whether you're doing the kicking or not but leaves a lot to be desired for those who prefer tactics than mindless destruction.