A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Despite running a group of mercenaries, most of the missions involve helping to fight off pirate-like raiders, defending colonies, etc., along with working towards a greater good and helping those in need.
Positive Role Models
Mason and his crew are mercenaries, always on the lookout for well-paying contracts and salvage. But they still operate under a strong moral code of ethics, often helping those in need and generally choosing contracts that do the most good.
Ease of Play
This is an extremely difficult and complex game to play. Of course, it's understandable considering players are operating a massive multi-ton robotic war machine. The tutorial walks players through the very basics of piloting a 'Mech, but that's it. There's so much more to learn in terms of controls, weapons loadouts, damage controls, and the like, with much left to the player to learn on the fly.
Violence & Scariness
Although this is light on any kind of onscreen blood or gore, it's also an all-you-can-eat buffet of mass destruction. Buildings are fully destructible and 'Mechs can be dismembered and dismantled, scavenging parts for use among a backdrop of explosions and ruin.
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Some strong profanity, including "s--t," appear throughout the story campaign's dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
The game's based on the popular Battletech franchise and is the first addition to the MechWarrior franchise in seventeen years. The game is fully self-contained, with no microtransactions, no push for paid additional content, etc. It's meant to be a complete game for fans.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is a futuristic, sci-fi action game available for download on Windows-based computers. The game's based on the popular Battletech franchise, giving players control of a collection of massive, heavily armed robotic vehicles called BattleMechs, or 'Mechs for short. Players lead a group of mercenaries, taking various contracts to maintain their 'Mechs and crew. Violence is core to the gameplay, with plenty of explosions and destruction, but little to no blood. The game features a single player campaign, or co-op online play for up to four players. Parents should also note that there's some profanity in the game's story dialogue, and online chat could also open young players up to other potentially offensive language.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.