Posted on 22 Nov 2019 by Jay Shaw

Battletech: Heavy Metal DLC

The Defence

Developer: Harebrained Schemes
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Genre: Strategy, Turn-Based
Platform: Mac, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 24 Apr 2018

The Prosecution

OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.2 GHz
AMD FX 3.8 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 660
AMD Radeon HD 7850
HDD: 11 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: None
Mod Support: Possible
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 3.1 GHz
AMD FX 3.5 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 950
AMD Radeon HD 7970
RAM: 16 GB
HDD: 15 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: None
Mod Support: Possible
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

Heavy Metal is the third DLC for Battletech, Harebrained Schemes turn-based take on the venerable tabletop game. If you’ve ever played any of the Mechwarrior games you’ll know what to expect from the majority of the new content in Heavy Metal: big stompy mechs and big guns. Is a few new machines worth the door price though? Keep reading to find out.

The Trial

Heavy Metal‘s main selling point is the new mechs added to the game: The Flea, Assassin, Vulcan, Phoenix Hawke, Annihilator, Archer, Rifleman, and Bull Shark (an entirely new non-canon mech just for this game). In addition to the mechs there’s new equipment and weapons; the COIL gun which becomes more powerful the more evasion charges you have is the standout addition but Inferno missiles and a torso-mounted mortar also make good showings. First though – the mechs – sadly most of them just don’t leave that much of an impression but all come with built-in enhancement modules. Standout additions include the Assassin which can ignore a few evasion charges on a target thanks to its interception system, the Vulcan which is basically a Firestarter that can brawl, Phoenix Hawke which brings immense jump jet manoeuvrability to your lance, and the Annihilator which packs a huge amount of firepower and armour into a single mech.

That’s not to say the other mechs aren’t useful; the Flea can be an excellent scout and the Rifleman is a more than competent sniper unit thanks to its range enhancing equipment but they don’t provide any new tactical opportunities. The non-canon Bull Shark is a competent assault mech that can easily go toe to toe with an Atlas but costs 30.18M C-Bills to field in Skirmish mode. To use it you have to play in unlimited funds mode and it just doesn’t live up to the price tag overall. The expansion also suffers from not being able to equip the new guns and equipment in the Skirmish mech lab too, relegating a lot of the fun stuff to campaign or career modes.

The new weapons don’t do much to shake up the flow of battle but do provide some more of the canon equipment: LBX autocannons, Inferno missiles, and torso-mounted mortars all improve your damage dealing capabilities quite nicely and make excellent options for diversifying your lance. The non-canon COIL gun is another new weapons that deals damage multiplied by the number of evasion charges you have. This weapon can be an excellent tool for a very fast mech like a Vulcan or Phoenix Hawke.

Career mode benefits most from the new additions, not only in the new gear adding much needed variety to the 1200 day slog but also in the new Flashpoint mini-campaign in which you’ll meet the Bounty Hunter and Black Widow (two legendary characters from Battletech lore) and be rewarded with a variant of the aforementioned Bull Shark upon completion. That said, it’s hidden away in the huge career mode and it’s possible you won’t even come across it or be in a position to partake so it’s very precarious in terms of whether it’s a worthwhile addition or not; if you experience it it’s okay but you probably won’t care if you miss out.

The Verdict

There’s not really much to say about Heavy Metal. More mechs and guns are nice but this is the third expansion in and others have offered more groundbreaking additions (like the electronic warfare suite) that are much more compelling to work towards. If you bought the season pass you’ll likely be happy with the new stuff but personally I wouldn’t pay full price for what’s here. Harebrained Schemes have done well for their small team but from a consumer value perspective we can’t recommend Heavy Metal at the full cost.

Case Review

  • Annihilator: It’s big, it’s stompy, and it has enough firepower to level almost anything in just a couple of shots. An instant favourite.

  • Vulcan: The nimble Vulcan became a solid favourite and earned a near permanent spot in my lance thanks to its versatility with light weapons.

  • Archer: A missile boat that’s capable of putting up a decent short-mid range fight too. If you can’t be bothered customising a missile boat then the stock Archer is a top choice.

  • Flea: Really? Does anyone care about the Flea?

  • MIA: New stuff missing from Skirmish mode’s mech lab is a huge disappointment. Hopefully this will be patched.

  • Meh: I feel very apathetic towards the majority of Heavy Metal‘s content with only a couple of mechs and guns earning my attention.

3 Score: 3/5
A mixed bag of new toys. Wait for a sale.

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