Hardcore Mecha Review
Get ready for some mech-on-mech action with Hardcore Mecha. Hardcore Mecha is a stylish side-scroller with beautiful, 2D visuals, a diverse cast of characters, and much more, all jam-packed into this explosive game. The story and presentation often feel like they’ve been ripped from an anime movie – and I mean that in the best possible way. The gameplay blends piloting large mechs with smaller scale on-foot moments. Hardcore Mecha brings a lot to the table and delivers it all style if not grace.
Hardcore Mecha takes place in the distant future on the planet Mars. You’ll assume the role of Tarethur O’Connell, a pilot for the Hardcore Defense Corp that has been commissioned by the U.N.F to hunt for a missing intelligence officer. Armed with massive mechs, Tarethur and his teammates will discover that the mission is more than just a manhunt. You’ll be tasked with navigating eighteen levels that range from dusty planet surfaces to ocean depths. While most missions will take a pretty direct approach, blasting everything in sight while you pilot your mech, some missions will take a bit more finesse, where you’ll stealthily tackle the mission on foot.
Hardcore Mecha is generally quite linear with some minor backtracking throughout levels. Your mech is equipped with an assortment of offensive and defensive capabilities – and this is ultimately where I find the most fault in the game. The controls are just too cumbersome and awkward. The battles are fast-paced, and so I often found myself fumbling between my shield, my dodge, and my various attacks. Weapons often have recharge times, which added to the frustration in the thick of battle. I often wondered how much better this game would have been if it took a more simplified approach, like Mega Man games often did. With that said, the game does feature an upgrade system that improves things such as the mechs strength and recharge times.
The biggest sell for this game is the sheer amount of quality in the presentation. The graphics, at least during the gameplay, looked amazing. Beautifully drawn 2D animated characters with so much amazing detail – it looks great. The cutscenes, unfortunately, follow the lame talking-heads approach, with character profile pics popping up on either side of the screen and bantering back and forth. In-game missions are all voiced – just not in English, so you’ll be doing a lot of reading, which can be a bit distracting in the heat of battle. Between missions, the dialogue is all just text, no voiceovers, and it’s often quite overdramatic which caused me to laugh for all the wrong reasons.
Hardcore Mecha features two multiplayer modes; online and local. The local multiplayer supports up to four players, each of which will pick their own mech and square off in a battle for the most kills. Unfortunately, the local multiplayer splits the screen into four quadrants regardless of how many players play. So if you have two players, you’ll each get 1/4th the screen, with the other half of the screen just completely black. I can’t speak to the online component. While the game said the servers were online, I just never found a match.
Hardcore Mecha won’t be for everyone. While the visuals are often quite impressive, there are a few annoyances with the overall presentation, such as the lack of English voicework, the lame talking-heads approach to cutscenes, and the silly dialogue. The gameplay can get pretty frantic and I often found myself fumbling with the controls and getting frustrated with the mechs limitations. With that said, there were some moments in the game that were quite cool, and overall I did enjoy most of it. It’s by no means easy, but as you progress and upgrade your mech, you’ll find it strikes a decent difficulty balance. If you’re up for a somewhat challenging game with a very anime-inspired look, then Hardcore Mecha might be just what you’re looking for.
***Hardcore Mecha key provided by the publisher***
- Beautiful visuals
- Extensive customization options
- Mulitplayer seems tacked on
- Lame dialog