Review: Override: Mech City Brawl – Mechanically confusing, but fun

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Override: Mech City Brawl is a daring and charming approach to bringing movies like Pacific Rim to life on our home entertainment consoles. Thanks to independent developer The Balance Inc., we can get a first-hand experience of how these monstrous mechs might actually feel in a fighting game. Find out what we thought today.


Pros:
+Mechs are absolute eye candy and come in a variety of appearances
+Tons of replayability thanks to the plethora of unlocks to earn
+Combat is simple and quite easy to learn
+4-person controlled mech mode is an absolute blast
+A rather generous price point for potential buyers

Cons:
-Inconsistent framerates that drop quite a bit from time to time
-Online multiplayer is almost completely dead


It’s kind of interesting when you think about it. The idea of giant robots fighting against even bigger monsters. It’s a theme that has been relevant for over fifty years thanks to franchises such as Godzilla to anime-themed titles such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and critically-acclaimed Japanese shows such as Choudenshi Bioman – the predecessor to Saban’s Power Rangers themselves.

With over fifty-plus years under the Kaiju-genre’s belt, we have had a seemingly interesting rebirthing of sorts with the re-establishment of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Pacific Rim. Now, here we are with Override: Mech City Brawl, a mech-focused fighting game that draws inspirations from the very franchises that came before it.

At its starting point, Override: Mech City Brawl, is a rather bare-bones experience, one with minimal content to explore and a not-so-intricate learning curve for its relatively low price point that Modus Games asks for their newly released title. Surprisingly enough, that’s not a correct evaluation when you are just starting out. It’s not a bare-bones game by any means, but rather, a very intricately designed game that emphasizes on the idea of multiple-people controlling a single mech with a single button for them to use.

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Four players controlling a single mech is amazing

If you’re a fan of brawlers, then you have some idea of what to expect from this third-person perspective experience.

That’s not the case for Override: Mech City Brawl’s competitive modes, which feature both local and online play. It’s where the game really shines. There’s the typical one versus one mode, a Brawl mode with up to four players (either in free-for-all or teams) and ranked play. What makes these modes truly satisfying is the option to have up to four players controlling one bot. It’s almost Voltron or Power Rangers-esque in its execution, allowing each of the players to control a limb on the mech. This requires a great deal of cooperation and timing, however, but it’s arguably the most rewarding.

Winning (or completing campaign missions successfully) will unlock cosmetic skins to equip for certain mechs, new weapons packs, and mods that enhance stats. For players who want to become the best at smashing other player robots to pieces, ranked play is certainly the way to go. This level of competitiveness will surely be what keeps Override: Mech City Brawl afloat for months or years to come. It also helps that the matchmaking system is smooth enough and latency issues are hardly ever a problem.

But the real problem comes from communication, which is key when you are piloting a gigantic robot with three other people. You’ll sometimes find yourself stumbling around while trying to coordinate with them in order to progress your way through each and every battle you undertake. Sadly, there’s more diversity in the robots than the maps themselves that you’ll stumble and battle across over your time with the game.

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The maps are lacking in diversity and inspiration

Whether you are winning or losing your matches, Override: Mech City Brawl would assumingly have a lot to offer thanks to the robust amount of unlocks there are for you to obtain throughout your time with the game. The game itself has the ability to go the distance and keep up with competitor titles. It’s one of the few games that actually seeks to do something unique, to truly stand out among its peers and keep things fresh.

But there’s one area that suffers the most and that just happens to be the map designs within the game. They are beautiful when it comes to graphics and detail, but they lack diversity. They lack imagination and creative design. Each of the maps is weighed down by how small they actually are. Due to the size of the mechs and pacing of combat, you can move from one side of a map to the other in a matter of seconds. While this isn’t necessarily a problem with games such as SOULCALIBUR VI or Mortal Kombat XL, you’ll find it is a problem here.

Games like Gundam Versus had even addressed this issue moving forward and made their maps bigger, wider and more accessible than ever before. With a game like this, you’d almost be surprised by how small the maps actually are and how easy it is to get stuck due to their size or how easily destructible buildings are. A building will crumble just at the simple bump of a mech, which – sure, it could happen – but not at the fact these structures feel as if they were made out of eggshells or gingerbread cookies and icing.

The maps feel as if they could use a bit more size to them, a bit more polishing and detail under the hood in order to make them feel solid, organic, and not just a backdrop to the gigantic fight that ensues.

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The story is actually pretty decent

When it comes to fighting games, I normally don’t dig into the story mode for any reason. I’m a fan of arcade-style fighters that opted for less story and more of the fighting aspect of things. But when I do dive into the story, I want one with plenty of depth, one that’s filled to the brim with lore and one that offers quite a bit for me to enjoy.

For fans of the Kaiju genre, you’ll find a bit of reason to enjoy the story itself, one that – without spoilers here – remains filled to the brim with narrative options for you to explore. It gives depth behind the alien invaders, the robots, and even the pilots themselves – some being more reluctant than others to join the Earth’s forces in defending it.

Thanks to the way the story is written, you will get a decent feel for how each of the characters see the situation facing Earth, the goals they have in mind and what they intend on doing about it. While the missions themselves aren’t as challenging as you would imagine, they do teach you the basics of the game such as blocking, attacking, and evasive maneuvers.

Unfortunately, the campaign itself is nothing truly remarkable, but it’s still entertaining in what it has to offer. Sometimes a pilot reluctant to work with others, new technology arising to help fend off the impending doom of humanity or just some friendly banter between the colorful cast of characters.

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It sounds and looks rather well, but performance can be improved upon

The most surprising thing about Override: Mech City Brawl, is the level of optimization the game received. Whether it’s the beautifully detailed mechs or environments, the game truly stands out as far as its graphics and performance are concerned. It’s buttery smooth and doesn’t falter a single time even when there’s quite a bit going down on the screen.

Framerates, however, don’t remain buttery smooth, hovering around 30-40 fps on PlayStation 4, which is somewhat problematic. It does take away from the immersion of the game due to semi-constant stuttering that comes into play as frames begin to plummet. Even then, the sound quality is right where one would expect, delivering an experience unlike any other. While it certainly does have its perks, it does mean that developer The Balance Inc. has paid a significant amount of attention to some spectacular details that take away from the rather… Eggshell like structures that will simply fall apart if you look at them wrong.

Just a minor oversight that needs to be fixed in a later update, but it’s nothing that will absolutely break the game.

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Match End – The Conclusion

When looking at Override: Mech City Brawl as an overall package, it’s not hard to justify the fact it has quite a bit of content for its low price point of $29.99. With an arcade mode, online components and a rather in-depth story that’ll leave you hungering for more, you’ll find yourself rather content with what it has to offer.

But if you are one for replayability, you’ll be quite satisfied with how much there is to do. You can even work hard to earn skins, costumes, silly hats and even upgrades for your mechs to use as you play, which makes Override: Mech City Brawl an absolute charm and one that is highly recommended at its low-end price point and it’s a damn shame the online population is as small as it is due to just how much potential this game actually has.

Override: Mech City Brawl
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: The Balance Inc.
Publisher: Modus Games
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $29.99

The only downsides to it are its framerate issues and its nearly-dead online community, but if you can look past that, Override: Mech City Brawl is a one of a kind with tons of potential to grow its very own genre.


Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


Final Score: 6 out of 10


About the Writer(s):

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

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