M.A.V. (Modular Assault Verhicle) – Early Access Review
By Nathaniel Liles
I’ve always loved the idea of mech games. They’re essentially third person shooters, but if you play one like a third person shooter, you’ll fail miserably. Like I said, I love the idea of mech games, but in my past experiences, I don’t actually enjoy playing them, which is a damn shame. I’ve played MechWarrior with joysticks and foot pedals, I’ve played with a mouse and keyboard, and I’ve played strapped into a giant machine that simulates the actual experience, and while all of those experiences were unique and memorable, they didn’t leave me wanting more after playing a few games. It was a novel experience in every way. I am, however, a sucker for customization and character growth, so I decided that M.A.V. (Modular Assault Vehicle) would be my return to the genre, in the hopes that I can now, with a fully developed and functioning adult brain, comprehend and dominate a mech-based game. Did I? Well…
First of all, let’s talk about what M.A.V. really is. At its core, it’s a MechWarrior game, plain and simple, and a good one at that. It lacks a few bells and whistles, but for what it is, it’s a solid take on mech combat, and I appreciate that. It has a few glaring issues in other departments, but controls are solid and it feels very much the way it should. Gameplay, however, is the definition of deceptive simplicity, and I have no reason to believe that this game wouldn’t be easily playable with 6 buttons. That being said, this is not an easy game, but I’m having trouble even classifying it as a game. All that exists in the current build (which, I remind you, is being sold for $19.99 via Steam Early Access) is a one-objective endless deathmatch against bots, a multiplayer component that is barren, and the mech builder.
The mech building system is fantastic, but after a while, you establish to yourself that there are a handful of parts that are the best of their kind and you never feel the need to experiment or tweak your mech. Get the mobility platform with the highest weight capacity, the generator with the most yield, and then strap as many guns as you can to yourself. Bam, best mech. I really wanted this to be more than it is, but there are only so many ways to play this game, and there’s absolutely a best way to approach each play style. Another part completely missing from the game is any sort of progression or goal aside from “blow up everyone”. There are no missions, no story, no objectives, no achievements, no unlockables, and no characters. You pick multiplayer or single player, build your mech, choose a location, and fight.
Aesthetically, this game looks awful by today’s standards. The architecture of some of the mechs is cool, but that’s entirely up to the person creating the mech. Textures are boring, assets are reused constantly, environments are predominately deserts, and colors are all samey and flat. The coolest part about the game’s look, the mechs, isn’t a result of good design, it’s a result of players knowing how a mech should look and building it themselves.
All in all, I really wanted this game to be better than it is, but it just turned out to be a boring, unfinished mess. I think it’s criminal that this game is being sold for $19.99, and the developers should be ashamed for charging that much for such an unfinished product. I understand that it’s early access, but with the $30,000 raised on Kickstarter ($10,000 over their initial goal), the developers should have much more to show than this. I look forward to seeing this develop, because it’s a good concept and it feels solid, but there’s nothing in this game yet. I want this to be finished, and I want it to be everything it can be, but if the developers feel that what they’ve produced so far is worth $19.99, they’re out of their damn minds.
[Google][pinterest][follow id=”Cliqist” size=”large” count=”true” ]
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nathaniel.jpg”] Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free at http://nathanielliles.bandcamp.com/. [/author]