Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

MechAssault: Phantom War (DS) artwork

MechAssault: Phantom War (DS) review


"Welcome to the 32nd century. Mankind has developed new technology, allowing them to delve deep into the vast emptiness of space. Many of the planets are brimming with civilization, including an interstellar communication system with gigantic satellite dishes. However, such advancements don’t stop people from being power-hungry warmongers. In a bid for the dominance of the cosmos, nations have raised their own armies of elite mech pilots and trained them to become Mechwarriors. Tons of battles an..."



Welcome to the 32nd century. Mankind has developed new technology, allowing them to delve deep into the vast emptiness of space. Many of the planets are brimming with civilization, including an interstellar communication system with gigantic satellite dishes. However, such advancements don’t stop people from being power-hungry warmongers. In a bid for the dominance of the cosmos, nations have raised their own armies of elite mech pilots and trained them to become Mechwarriors. Tons of battles and thousands of casualties later, no one has claimed a definitive victory. However, that’s all about to change. Military research has concluded that the massive satellite dishes – the ones designed primarily for communication – can be converted into weapons of mass destruction. With this revelation, the Mechassault: Phantom War has begun.

In the midst of all the bloodshed, Mechwarrior Vallen Brice has been recruited to infiltrate enemy territory, hijack their satellite, and ensure victory for her homeland. She’ll be dropped off in the middle of a battlefield armed with a mechanical suit with horribly pathetic shielding, a generic laser pistol, a jetpack, and grappling hook. The missions usually involve walking or climbing to a certain destination (conveniently highlighted on the screen in case you’re inept at traversing the fairly linear levels), rescuing allies, and blasting the hell out of everything that gets in your way. You’ll have to get past powerful sentry guns, fortified installations, laser-spewing tanks, and even a few hapless foot soldiers. Don’t be too worried, though; there are plenty of upgrades and items strewn around the battlefield, ranging from shield boosters, more powerful and faster lasers, rocket and grenade launchers, and a few other weapons of minor destruction.

Despite the abundance of firepower, the most important asset in Vallen’s arsenal is the grappling hook; should you get close enough to an enemy mech, you can use the Touch Screen to shoot out the hook and snare your enemy. At that point, a simplistic mini-game will appear on the screen, usually forcing you to match certain symbols to ‘hack’ into the enemy mech’s computer. Should you succeed, your foe will stop trying to blow you to smithereens and offer itself to be piloted. At that point, you can opt to exit your wimpy little battle armor, expose yourself to the battlefield for a few precious seconds (without getting killed in one hit by enemy fire anyway), sprint over to the ladder of your newly acquired mech and start gunning anew. Yes, that’s right. With an almost Grand Theft Auto style of vehicle changes, Mechassault: Phantom War allows you to mech-jack a small army of different robots, each with their own inherent advantages and limitations. Some machines are small and incredibly agile, others can turn on a dime, and others are all about dishing out absurd amounts of devastation.

That’s assuming, of course, that you don’t mind the game’s bland combat system. You may get to wield a decent assortment of machines and weapons, but there’s little more to the fighting than getting an enemy into your crosshairs, letting loose whatever you happen to have equipped, and just keep mashing the attack button in the hopes that your foe will collapse before you do. The turning and firing controls are just sluggish enough to make fighting more of a chore than it really has to be. You can choose to maneuver your mech with the four standard buttons on the DS, or you can use the stylus for far less reliable movements. The fact that it takes far too much time and ammunition to take down most of the mechs don’t help much, either. The multiplayer aspects could have saved the game from the mediocre Campaign Mode, but it lacks both the Single-Cart Download and WiFi capabilities that so many other DS titles enjoy. Instead, gamers will be left with the daunting task of convincing up to three of their friends that Mechassault: Phantom War is worth shelling out the cash for some handheld multiplayer action.

Despite the game’s nagging flaws and limitations, its presentation is surprisingly decent. As the story begins, you’ll be treated to a fairly detailed CG cutscene involving Vallen getting summoned for the mission. Sadly, this moment of graphical greatness is far too brief; throughout the rest of the game, communications between our heroine and the other warriors will be done via text boxes and voiceovers. The voice acting in this game is remarkable; though Vallen’s commanding officer is a little too impersonal, Vallen and her whiny male sidekick make their thoughts known with plenty of emotion and emphasis on all the right words. The individual mechs are even more detailed; you can see the legs move and grind with every step, the sparks flying off of a ricocheted bullet, and even the tiny fires and smoke puffs once you’ve taken enough hits. It’s a shame the rest of the game didn’t get the same treatment; most of the landscape features only a handful of colors, simplistic layouts, and an absolute lack of texturing. Sure, this may not be the beautiful Xbox game you used to know and love, but it works well.

In fact, you shouldn’t approach Mechassault: Phantom War with too high off expectations. This game was built to cater to the demands of the DS, and it shows. Though the campaign will pit you against clusters of foes at every turn, the games’ less than stellar combat mechanics will greatly dull the experience. The mixed bag of graphics and audio isn’t exactly top notch for DS standards, either. But hey, look on the bright side! You’ve got tons of upgradeable weapons to choose from, plenty of (albeit aggravating and headache-inducing) challenge, and several missions to complete. There’s an entire battalion of gigantic robots to hack into, allowing you to unleash a wide array of lasers, missiles, grenades, and Flaming Balls of Doom upon your hapless foes. Even if the rest of the game is mediocre, there’s nothing better than that.

Rating: 6/10

disco's avatar
Community review by disco (October 01, 2006)

Disco is a San Francisco Bay Area native, whose gaming repertoire spans nearly three decades and hundreds of titles. He loves fighting games, traveling the world, learning new things, writing, photography, and tea. Not necessarily in that order.

More Reviews by disco
Pokémon Conquest (DS) artwork
Pokémon Conquest (DS)

The realm of Ransei is on the verge of destruction. Its people live for only two things: war and Pokemon. There are countless warriors roaming the land with their trusted animal companions, each seeking the glory and authority rewarded to the victors. Legends say that if a single warlord were to conquer all 17 kingdoms...
Mario Tennis Open (3DS) artwork
Mario Tennis Open (3DS)

Mario Tennis is one of the most underrated spinoff series ever conceived. Ever since its debut over a decade ago, it’s gained a small, but devout following. While not quite as addictive or challenging as the Mario Kart titles, the games won over audiences with a blend of wacky personality and creativity. ...
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) artwork
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

Eons ago, two titans clashed in the middle of an endless ocean. The Bionis and the Mechonis – essentially the deities of natural and mechanical life respectively – fought each other for reasons unknown. Neither side prevailed; locked in an eternal stalemate, both beings eventually died with their bodies petrified in mi...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this MechAssault: Phantom War review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. MechAssault: Phantom War is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to MechAssault: Phantom War, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.