Finshed up my first campaign run yesterday with completing the capital city mission. Just some general feedback and thoughts of the game so far.
First, for an EA game I was very impressed in the overall quality. I had only one gamebreaking bug and a few minor ones through the whole campaign. The combat system is fun and offers a lot of depth. The game looks great and the music fits perfectly.
My biggest complaint so far is difficulty. The game is easy. Too easy. Both on a strategic and a tactical level.
Since resource cost for repairs isn’t in the game yet, the strategic part is partly understandable. Though I would like to see a more active enemy. Apart from the first few areas, I never encountered another patrol. I did not feel like I was in enemy teritory. I comfortably salvage next to enemy bases, intercept the convoys and move about freely. A more active enemy, sending patrols after you, calling for revenge forces after you attack conveys (and stronger higher difficulty intercepting patrols) would be a great way to help in this regard. It would also make it an actual decision if you can afford to salvage after a fight (because you need to stay in place and they might force you into a fight with already damaged mechs).
Something I found curious but not good or bad was that the capital was for the most part mid level enemies, which felt a bit off. Would have expected the center to hold the strongest forces. Though it kinda makes sense the way the mission is structed. (SPOILERS: By the way, was a pretty fun fight. Was expecting a bit more from the experimental units and the general but really liked it overall.)
However the individual missions become tedious to do simply because you can mostly faceroll them without much thought if you stay at around the same level area as your mechs. Much the way games like XCOM lose all challenge once you hit midgame. This feels like it gets worse the more you progress in gear level. Which is unfortunate since it means the absolutly fantastic turn system doesn’t get to shine to its fullest. While doing higher leveled content does somewhat help, it at the same time means that you can not use any of the gear you salvage, since it would make you too strong again and seems only like a temporary “fix”.
One solution especially if you add difficulty levels is to add more enemies when the fight begins (you should be outnumbered anyway I’d assume) and reduce the time for reinforcement to show up. I often spent a turn or two just passing waiting for the reinforcement to show up. If you had less time before more enemies showed up, it would put more pressure on the player or risk getting severly outnumbered and surrounded.
Further it would be nice if enemies would use the dash ability, and used the shield more efficently. Currently when enemies use the shield it feels like they use it instead of shooting, rather than using it inbetween shots to reduce damage.
Not sure if the squad compositions are random, but they feel somewhat off. Very often I would face only one weapon type on mechs and maybe some tanks. As an example there would be 4 enemies using an assault rifle and in the next mission everybody was using shotguns. Having the enemy use more mixed squad loadouts would probably be preferable and might add more challenge.
Balance between light, medium and heavy armor seems pretty good for the most part, there is incentive to use all of them which is nice.
Weapon balance feels less optimal. The different categories due seem to all have a use, but short duration weapons for the most part outshine the longer duration counterparts within any category (HMG>LMG, 1 shot shotgun > volley shotgun, etc.). The only exception being maybe the sniper rifle, where the 5 shot variant feels far more efficient than the one shot counterpart (mostly due to the latters insane heat buildup). Speaking of duration, the duration modifier is busted, compared to any other modifier, and possibly in general. Shorter volley duration is by itself very valuable, as it reduces the time you need to spend exposed, reduces the time you need a clear line of fire and the time you need optimal firing distance. Ontop of that the weapons often share comparable damage per volley and damage per second as longer duration counterparts.
As an extreme example, the LMG or MMG with up to 3 seconds firing duration felt pointless to use. They do not destroy cover fast enough, they do not suppress the enemy units, and they deal low DPS. A volley of an HMG deals the same amount of damage in only 2 seconds. One way to possibly solve this in the case of LMGs would be to give them increased concussion damage, more bullets per volley, but slightly reduced damage. That way, they suppress units by putting the pilot at risk of being incapacitated should they get hit, and the long duration means it may be difficult to find an opening with unit being suppressed by an AI.
A little more visual difference between the different manufactures weapons in terms of effects and bullets could be neat. (the models are already distinct). And maybe some more variety in terms of “crazy” weapons (FLAK is nice, looking forward to missile and artilery, hope the laser from the teaser makes an appearance), and more importantly utility systems other than dash and shield could be neat. As an example, some parts could have an active cooling help instead of the dash ability or anything really.
Mission variety is already on the roadmap, so are more maps and events, which is great.
To close out, after all the negatives, overall I really like whats in the game so far. It looks, sounds and feels great. It’s fun (whenever it is challenging) and really polished for an EA. Looking forward to how it will develop.