STAFF REVIEW of Override 2: Super Mech League (Xbox One)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
by Adam Dileva

Override 2: Super Mech League Box art While I never got around to playing the original Override: Mech City Brawl from 2018, its sequel is now here with Override 2: Super Mech League. For those looking for an arena brawler full of massive and wacky robots, look for further. While it might seem like a niche, many mechanics have changed since its original outing, so fans of the original are going to want to do some research before jumping straight in blindly.

From the first moments of starting my mech battling career, I began confused, trying to figure out where the single player or career mode was. Apparently this is now called Leagues. This is where you’ll try and climb the Mech Leagues rankings to be the best pilot there is. Apparently there’s some sort of background story that encompasses why you’re fighting, but none of this is really explained. You simply are fighting one another because...? To be fair, you usually don’t play arena battlers like this for its story, so it’s forgivable.

League mode is where you’ll most likely be spending most of your time, trying to rise up through the ranks to become a legendary pilot. Mech Leagues matches will vary in a handful of different match types, from 1 versus 1, duos, tournaments, Control (King of the Hill), four player free-for-all’s and even a pseudo horde-like PvE mode. Interestingly, nearly all the modes are playable online against other players or versus AI bots, which I’ll delve into shortly.

As you duke it out against other robots, you’ll work towards earning reputation and collecting coins to spend on unlocking new mechs and customization options. Your first few matches in League will give you a choice of a few different mechs until you earn enough coins to purchase your own and favorite. Each of these costs 1000 coins, which isn’t terribly difficult to get, but will require some dedication if you want to unlock them all. While this really isn’t an issue, this is assuming you already know what characters you want to play the most. Say you pick a robot that you simply don’t enjoy or can’t get the hang of. Well, too bad. You’re stuck with it until you can save up another 1000 and purchase another, so playing a few versus matches beforehand to learn what mech suits your playstyle best is going to be paramount in the beginning.

The way the Career Mode, er... League Mode is structured is a little odd. You’re given a few choices of match types that you can battle in, but these are completely randomized. Maybe you’ll have a choice from 1v1, Duos, or a free-for-all, but after each match this is randomized again. Say you’re like me and you heavily prefer to play the 1v1 matches. That’s great when it’s one of the choices for a match, but when it’s not, you’re forced to battle in the other modes until it randomly refreshes again. This in turn will at points force you to play in match types that you don’t enjoy, like the tournament ones that take much longer to complete, so you’re forced to try out all the modes eventually.

Each match type also has its own ranking system, starting at F grade and going up from there. The problem is that because you can’t simply always play the match types you like, you’re going to have to spend time in the others. To raise your overall rank and titles you’re going to need a certain rank across different modes as well. For example, for me to become Veteran, I had to go up to B rank across three different match types, half of which I didn’t really enjoy and felt forced to participate in. Another odd design decision is that sometimes you’ll also have an entry fee to join specific matches, I assume to tempt you to play one of the other types, yet the match winnings weren’t all that much more to make up for the cost. I get that developers want players to try out all the modes, but it feels so forced that half the time I was having to participate in match types I didn’t really want to or enjoy as much.

Another odd decision is that these League matches aren’t strictly a solo affair either. As a match is about to begin it will look online for other players also trying to get into a specific match type, potentially matching you up together or against one another, or you can press ‘Y’ to cancel the search and fight against abysmal AI bots for easy wins. This is fine, but when you’re playing a tournament match type with a handful of battles back to back, between each it forces you to wait as it searches for more players, even if you chose to play against AI bots in the first match, slowing down the whole process.

Of the 20 mechs available to fight as, each are designed quite well and are vastly unique from one another. Fans of the original will be happy to see that many of the classic characters return, each with their own unique abilities, special and ultimate moves. Some look like they’ve been ripped straight out of Gundam, while others are quite wacky and much lighter hearted. There’s a quick load at the beginning of matches as you drop into battle, but load times were basically nonexistent on an Xbox Series X outside of looking for players online.

Combat was not quite what I expected, as each arm, right and left, are assigned to the Bumpers, while your legs, the Triggers. So this is how you perform your basic punches and kicks. Special moves are generally combinations of these buttons and don’t require difficult movement inputs like in most other fighters. There are some combos, but nothing too lengthy or difficult to do, though most matches will essentially boil down to spamming your special attacks. Want to know how to do your special moves, then simply check the menu after pausing the game. This is where a major issue appeared though, because as I was doing the commands it said to press, it wasn’t working. Turns out, for some of the characters and their listed moves, some of the inputs are wrong. That’s right. Some of the menus that show you how to do certain moves are simply labelled wrong, but only for some characters and moves, which you wouldn’t know without trial and error.

Fans that played the original are going to be quite confused with the changes to the combat system, as there’s no longer and overheating system or stamina gauge of any sorts. That means you can simply spam any of your moves constantly as much as you want. That’s right, you can spam your best or cheapest moves non-stop without any recourse really. Have a mech that you’re fighting that you don’t want to get close, then spam away your projectile attacks. Surrounded by a few enemies at once, then spam your AOE attacks. As you can imagine, things get chaotic with up to four mechs all spamming their attacks constantly, and because there’s no stamina gauge or anything of the sorts, there’s no reason not to sadly. Of course there are counters to handle players like that, but it still goes without saying.

The levels and arenas seem to be smaller than the original game, forcing you to almost always be within a dash distance of one another. Almost every stage also has hazardous areas, such as lava, electrified water, lasers, rockets and more. There’s usually also environmental items that can be picked up and thrown at your enemies such as containers, buildings and other items, like giant strawberries. Yes, you read that right. You’re also able to grab your opponents and toss them as well, but this is really broken at the best of times. When you grab someone, there’s literally nothing they can do to escape unless you basically don’t throw them within a set amount of time, so you can imagine how overpowered this can be if you can get your hands on them.

Ultimate moves return as well, but honestly, they don’t feel all that ultimate. During a match a certain section of the arena will have a small radius that if you stand in, will fill up your Ultimate gauge. Once full you can click in the Stick to unleash your Ultimate, but they feel quite weak for how long it takes to charge up fully.

As you win matches and go up the ranks you’ll also be able to spend your coins on not only new mechs, but also customizing them with some interesting and wacky accessories. Once you progress to a certain point in League, the Garage menu opens, which is where you’ll do your customizing, from icons, titles, colors and accessories. Sadly there’s only a couple colors to choose from for each limb and section of your mech, and there’s no cool skins that drastically change your look. Instead, you’ll be able to get items like hats, belts, glasses, bowties and other odd items, but because the action is so frantic you’ll never really get to show these off.

It seems as though the game was built with a large online player base in mind, hence the option to fight against other players even in League mode, but I can count the matches that I was able to find anyone to play with or against, so I generally just opted to play versus the AI bots instead. This is where issues with the online play started to show though, as there’s not really a simple way to play with your friends. In theory you’re supposed to be able to have private versus battles, as there’s even a button to invite friends, but it simply doesn’t do anything when my friend took the invite no matter what we tried. The only way we were able to fight against another was coordinating starting the same League match at the same time, hoping it put us together.

Remember what I said above though about not always getting the specific mode you want to play? That’s right, if you want to coordinate a 1v1 but don’t have that option in your match lineup currently, you won’t be able to. Also, if you want to team up with a friend to do Duo’s against others, there’s no way to do this either, as sometimes it put us together, and other times paired each of us with an AI bot. For a game banking on a heavy multiplayer base, it’s lacking a ton of things to set this up properly. What I will say I was impressed with though is that when a player drops due to quitting or connection issues, the match doesn’t quit out, their character simply gets taken over instantly with a bot, basically instantly, allowing you to finish the match.

Visually there seems to be a big improvement from the original, not just in the overall graphics, but designs of the robots as well. Environments, mechs and moves look great, it’s just that battles are so chaotic that you can’t really sit back and really enjoy any of it, as all you’ll see is special attacks being spammed over and over. What was cool is the inclusion of Ultraman if you drop some extra cash for the DLC or Season Pass, so I’m hoping for other cool additions that would make sense in Override’s universe.

While fans of the original might be turned off from the drastic combat changes, what I will say is that it feels much more accessible, as my daughter was able to easily jump in and start doing cool moves without having to memorize a bunch of inputs. While this opens it up to a larger audience, it by no way feels even remotely balanced and usually degrades into who’s spammed special moves can outperform the others spammed move sets.

** Override 2: Super Mech League was reviewed on an Xbox Series X **

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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