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Paradox released two mammoth games right around my birthday, which made for a fun and busy time in the end of 2019. The first was Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Revelations (which was already reviewed here) and the second was BattleTech: Heavy Metal, which I am covering today. It is the last DLC for this title and I’m among many that were stoked about it.
At its core, BattleTech: Heavy Metal is a DLC designed for the main fanbase and most likely will not attract many new players. I assume this because of what Heavy Metal adds to the game like the new mechs and a few new mission types, but these cater to current players. If your expectation was to get massive content (like in Flashpoint) or something else other than some quality of life changes, this might not be for you. That said, being that I am one of those core BattleTech fans, the additions they made actually excited me. Keep reading to find out why!
So first thing is first, Heavy Metal is the final DLC. Players have to think about what they expect from a DLC before deciding if it is worth their time and money. At its core, Heavy Metal offers a couple of quality of life tweaks, a few new mechs, a couple of new maps, official mod support, and some new weapons. It also offers a mini story mission to explain the existence of the developers custom mech. Is it worth the price point? I think it’s within my expectations for DLC content but it’s hard to rate whether the price point is right. But then, I’m not a developer, so what do I know? Anyways, let’s break Heavy Metal down.
From playing through a new career mode, I found that the new mechs add more value to the game. It balances the scales a little bit with the addition of the Assassin mech and Warhammer (more on those later.) While I still suck miserably at using lasers and at keeping all of my lance alive, the fact that the career mode freely gave me an Assassin made my life much easier. And although I still feel that throughout the game, missions still tend to favor heavier mechs to light ones, the Assassin is a medium mech that is quite versatile. We still could do better by reserving the light mechs for certain flashpoint missions which are dependent on high mobility. With that Assassin mech, I was able to not only successfully stop a couple of enemy pirates from escaping with valuable cargo, but could also viably support my other mechs.
In a few skirmishes, I tested out the new mechs against another lance of equal capabilities. Some of the mechs were more successful than others. As per normal, long range targeting caters to my style of gameplay than close range combat. I say this because the Flea and the Vulcan did not survive very long in the scenarios I put them through, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good mechs. (Incidentally, both of those mechs come equipped with flamers and can definitely do a lot of damage to an enemy lance, so long as they can get close enough to them.) Often, my downfall is close quarters combat.
Let’s go down memory lane for a brief moment. In one case, the Flea was positioned on top of a building because I was using it as my line of sight to the enemy lance. Unfortunately, that was a bad mistake. They didn’t even take out the building underneath it, they just landed an epic shot before I leaped off to get out of dodge. However, the bugger came up behind the Flea and destroyed the little thing. Sorry Flea. I failed you…
I also had a chance to look at some of the new skins for the various mechs. While this isn’t a needed addition to the game, a little customization is never a bad thing, especially since these two or three skins are in the game for free. Those variant looks are not acquired by some ridiculous microtransactions that other games throw in. Couple that with the fact that players can now rotate the mech camera inside the bay is a neat quality of life feature. Players can really see the full mech. Booya!
In my playthrough of BattleTech: Heavy Metal, I felt a lot better about my abilities. (Truly. I mean, I never did say that I was a GOOD player at the game, I just said that I LOVE the game.) You see, in the base game, enemy lances would always manage to crush my units fairly easily, forcing me to constantly restart whole missions just to get passed one. (Yes, yes. I can hear you laughing…) After the additions of Flashpoint, Urban Warfare, and now Heavy Metal with all of the quality of life changes, mech additions, and flashpoint scenarios, I feel less frustrated in individual missions. Yes, they are still challenging in some cases, but with the newest mechs, I’ve found that the game has balanced itself out for me. Maybe I just understand certain things about it more. Who knows?
Anyways, with the 50 new missions added to the game, there’s several more hours to enjoy using the new mechs in them. These missions aren’t readily obvious to players because they will appear under the same name as other missions that already exist in the game. Sure, one could say that players who’ve completed the campaign might have an interesting time discovering these new missions, but it does add to the element of wonder. Perhaps new players might come into the game with a more rounded complement of mechs, missions, and weapons but we’ll see.
First up is the Flea. The mech lives up to its name in that it’s a light mech equipped with flamers, machine guns, and small or medium lasers. Now granted, the mech comes equipped with the targeting baffle which is meant to make the light mech much harder to hit. That’s all well and good, but if you are in close range, the mech is not immune to taking damage. My Flea died often, which just solidifies why I don’t run with light mechs…
The Assassin is my favorite new mech in Heavy Metal. As a medium mech, it comes with Intercept System which has trajectory tracking and ignores a couple evasive charges. It’s also quite mobile and packs a mean punch. Because it does a decent amount of damage and it has some good mobility, I repeatedly grabbed this mech in my lance. In fact, I think BattleTech knows me well, because at the beginning of a new career mode, I was given this glorious mech. Call me a happy clam!
The Vulcan has the Close Quarters Combat Suite which allows it to do some real damage from short range. This is actually a mech that came back from the original BattleTech series, meaning that long time fans were overjoyed with its addition. It comes with flamers and medium lasers making it excellent for taking out an enemy lance by overheating them. Just be warned, it can’t take a ton of damage…
Next up is the Phoenix Hawk, a medium sized mech that comes equipped with a Vectored Thrust Kit which make it more agile. This medium mech can jump further than most and also gains a small boost in damage. Personally, I like this mech because it has machine guns. Though, it also comes with lasers which may work well for some players, but I’ve always had a hate/hate relationship with the things. Trust me on this.
Beginning with the first heavy mech in the new complement is The Rifleman with the Rangefinder Suite. This bad boy shoots much further than other long ranged mechs, but more importantly the suite reduces the recoil on long range shots, giving it a chance to hit a mech more easily. Since I have a tendency to play a long ranged lance, this is a perfect addition for me. The Rifleman did not take a lot of damage in different circumstances and hit its mark more frequently than others in my lance.
The Archer has the missilery suite that boosts the stability of short ranged missiles. Again, being a player that prefers to take on an enemy lance from range, using this mech was rough. It would not live for very long, and with only a medium laser to back that up, well… you can imagine it didn’t go well. This mech does have a variant with LRM 20s, but given that I wanted to balance out my lance a little more, I chose erroneously to use the SRMs instead. Whoops!
Another favorite mech of mine is the Maurader, which sounds as action packed as it is. This fun heavy mech comes with the Lance Command Mod that gives a flat 10% reduction on damage done to your lance. WOW! Not only that, but the Maurader comes equipped with my favorite weapon in the game, the PPC. It also has AC 5s and of course a medium laser (because this game seems to love lasers. You know, oddly I’d rather have a bunch of machine guns than lasers because even if they do little damage, they are more likely to hit something, at least that is the case when I play BattleTech…)
Another spectacular mech is the Warhammer that sports Optimized Capacitors which boost the stock damage on energy based weapons. You know what that means? More PPC damage! It also comes with medium or small lasers or machine guns with its variant. This beauty of a heavy mech has a ton of firepower and had me satisfied as part of my lance. Not only can this baby take the hits, but it can also dish them out too!
The first of the new assault mechs introduced in Heavy Metal is none other than the Annihilator which comes equipped with Ballistic Siege Compensators. Ballistic weapon damage is increased with this system and it maximizes the mechs stability. Complete with some AC 10s, this mech is nothing to sneeze at, except you know… lasers… (From now on, I’m selling lasers. Anyone want them? Or, some one give me the coin to pay off the RNJesus gods…)
Finally, the crowning mech that was specially designed for BattleTech by the developers is The Bull Shark, and what a doozy it is. This mech was created to be a mammoth piece of machinery. It has excellent use in long range combat and comes equipped with the Thumper Cannon. This cannon does a metric fuck ton of damage on light mechs and vehicles that can easily tip the scales in missions. However, keep in mind that this weapon has extremely limited rounds, so make the epic shots count!
Heavy Metal DLC Contents – Shortform
- New Mechs and New Weapons (expanded below)
- Free additions:
- 50 New contracts
- Official Mod support
- New Store drop down filter
- Mech rotation in the bay
- New skins/paint jobs for mechs
- COIL gun – Contained Overflow Inertia Linkage which is a beam weapon that does more damage the farther a unit moves in a turn
- LB X – Heavy Cluster Cannon that is similar to a shotgun
- Infernos – Napalm missile launcher that takes up an SRM slot. Deals heat damage and a stacking burning damage
- NARC Beacon – A weapon whose shot marks a target upon impact causing increased damage from other missile attacks
- TAG – Target Acquisition Gear that helps ballistic and energy weapons do a small amount of extra damage
- Snub PPC – Particle Projector Cannon which shoots a small EM effect
- Mortar – Single-use artillery piece that acts like a massive grenade dealing a ton of damage in an AOE. It mounts to the side torso of any Mech
- Thumper Cannon – A weapon that is always mounted to the Bull Shark where a mortar is able to be added to any mech. The AOE is larger than the mortar but the blast radius is still awesome, making it an insane addition
I had an excellent time playing with the new mechs and starting a new career mode to get a feel for a new lance. For me Heavy Metal adds enough replayability for a DLC that completes the Season Pass. I’ve tried all of the new mechs and delved into using some of the new weapons. Plus, having the ability to customize the look of your lance with a couple of skins is a nice touch. I’m also a huge fan of the filters that were added in a previous DLC and adding a third map filter helps players track down items they intend to use in their lance. Furthermore, the Bull Shark is ridiculous – in a good way. That mammoth of a mech is nothing to sneeze at!