NEWS - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Multiplayer For MechAssualt 2: Lone Wolf

Two weeks ago we told you all of the latest info on MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf’s single player experience. Now it’s time to get to the real meat and potatoes of the game, and what you’ve all been waiting for; multiplayer. While the original has continued to be one of the top games on Xbox Live, Day 1 Studios has been hard at work in an attempt to make the sequel even better. First and foremost, the addition of the Battle Armor and VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft) add a tremendous amount of strategy to the multiplayer battles. In fact, from our early look at the title, these two units combined could lead to some quick and easy victories in the right hands. For those unfamiliar with the Battle Armor, it’s basically a small Mech, slightly larger than your average human. While using the Battle Armor, you won’t have a great deal of protection (the smaller size means less armor), but you’ll be able to move faster and reach areas that none of the standard Mechs can get close to. In addition, the Battle Armor is capable of hijacking any other Mech. This is done by latching on to the enemy Mech and entering a random series of buttons before your opponent does. If you’re faster than your opponent, you’ll jack his Mech and make it your own. While hijacking other Mechs may seem like a great benefit, it’s certainly not the only advantage of the Battle Armor. One of the best new additions to MA2 multiplayer is the ability to latch on to the back of a friendly Mech and erase your radar signature. Let’s say one of your teammates is using an Atlas. You can hop on his back and your Battle Armor will no longer show up on radar. From here, the Atlas can move in for some close combat with, say, an enemy Mad Cat. You can then hop off the Atlas and initiate the hijacking sequence on the Mad Cat. The Mad Cat never saw you coming and will have little time to react. Plus, even if the Mad Cat does react fast enough, the Atlas is still right there to cover you. If you’re not that good at hijacking, the Battle Armor will still have some very good uses in multiplayer combat. The first thing Day 1 showed us was that the Battle Armor can scale buildings all the way to the top. While you’re on top of a building, it’s extremely difficult for enemy Mechs to directly assault you. As we mentioned in our single player impressions, the only way an enemy can hurt the Battle Armor when you’re on top of a building is to destroy the building. In multiplayer, that’s easier said than done when you consider everything else going on in a standard multiplayer match. When you combine the Battle Armor and VTOL, things start looking even better. Once attached to the VTOL, the Battle Armor is significantly powered up. Its weapons will inflict much more damage, and since the VTOL is pretty much the fastest vehicle in the game, you’ll be moving across the battlefield faster than any of the Mechs below. You can even use the VTOL to move your Battle Armor behind an enemy Mech for a quick hijack. The VTOL alone can deliver much needed items to Mechs on the battlefield as well. As you can see, the Battle Armor and VTOL are going to add quite a bit to Lone Wolf’s multiplayer. However, Day 1 has done more than simply add these two vehicles. Up to 12 players can now compete online in MechAssault 2. Because of this fact, the maps have been enlarged to keep things from getting too cluttered. In addition, each player no longer has to worry about selecting a Mech before each battle. Instead, you’ll start as a human and have to make a mad dash for your favorite Mech, the VTOL, or the Battle Armor as soon as the game begins. And since you can get out and walk around at any point in time (although you won’t have any protection), you can essentially change your weapon of choice at any time during a multiplayer match. Even as a human, you can still do some damage by laying proximity and/or timed explosives. It’s clear to see that MechAssault 2 could easily become one of the best multiplayer games on Xbox Live. Even with the likes of Halo 2, it’s tough to ignore the bounty of new additions to the MechAssault series. Day 1 Studios is aiming to have Lone Wolf out just before the end of the year, but there is a chance it will slip into early 2005.


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