Ever since the BattleTech tabletop game made its debut in the mid-'80s, sci-fi fans have imagined what it would be like to pilot one of these behemoths of the battlefield. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries puts players right into the cockpit of their own robotic war machines, but it's not exactly as easy as riding a bike. Piloting a 'Mech is a daunting and complex task that's not for the faint of heart. Controls alone are a challenge, with pilots constantly needing to reorient the top and bottom halves of their 'Mech on the fly, running in one direction while shooting in another, all while tracking numerous critical systems, such as structural damage, heat levels, ammo, etc. It's a lot to take in and learn, and the game doesn't offer up any more than just a bare-bones tutorial to get pilots acclimated to how 'Mechs operate. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience to learn the ins and outs of becoming a proper MechWarrior, but it's well worth the effort.
Whether you're attacking a raider outpost or escorting a mining colony, missions in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries are like recess in a playground of mass destruction. Nearly every part of the environment can be destroyed. And there's just something wickedly fun about cutting a building in half with a salvo of missiles, watching it fall, and then stomping through the rubble with reckless abandon. As an added bonus, thanks to the procedurally generated nature of the game's various side missions, the landscape is constantly changing from mission to mission, making for a whole new set of environmental toys to break. Admittedly, these missions can still feel a bit repetitive over time, with recycled set pieces and objectives being used like Lego bricks to build each outing. Still, there's always plenty of frantic action, coupled with the constant attention required to keep your various 'Mechs operational in the heat of battle, to keep you distracted from any sense of déjà vu that might start to creep up.