Override 2: Super Mech League
There’s nothing quite like a good mech game. And just what exactly makes a mech game good? Well, as cliché as it sounds – it needs to make you feel like you’re piloting a mech. Whether it comes down to customizing each of your limbs, wielding colossal power, or just blowing things up, each successful game needs something that amounts to more than setting and plot. Override: Mech City Brawl, the first one, adds its own flair to mech gameplay by assigning each limb to a button.
While unconventional, the control scheme they picked makes a lot of sense. Left bumper and right bumper (aka the higher ones) control your left and right arms (aka the higher limbs) respectively. Similarly, left and right trigger kick each foot. Further, holding down a trigger charges up a rocket propelled attack. This leads to the mechs feeling larger than life – so large each component needs it’s own dedicated controls. On top of this, your mech can overheat from repeatedly using these attacks, adding a sense of realism. Surely with this in place, and overall favorable reviews, Override 2: Super Mech League will expand upon and improve the ideas of the original, won’t it?
Override 2, while sharing many similarities with its predecessor, changes the fundamental gameplay. No more individual limb control, no charge attacks, but a more familiar control system, a wider move set, and combos. The triggers still control your attacks, but instead are light punch, strong punch, light kick, and strong kick. Some of these flow into each other efficiently, leading the game to feeling much more like a fighting game. Unlike it’s predecessor, combat feels more intentional. Every move matters. It also no longer really feels like you’re a giant mech with massive force behind each kick and punch.
Yes, fighting feels more involved and overall deeper, but with that it lost that special feeling. The original sends hordes of mindless aliens with low health to fight which you can effectively plow through, while fights against other mechs are few and far between. Due to your limited move set, long fights get boring quick so the steady stream of smaller enemies fits the game well. You really felt powerful on a scale not common elsewhere as you charge up your fist to knock out a giant alien in one hit. Override 2 has shifted to focusing on fights between mechs, and this style of combat simply wouldn’t hold up. Enemies take longer to kill and put up a bit more of a fight meaning each hit feels less impactful. The sensible solution is exactly what developers Modus Studios Brazil did: make combat deeper.
So at this point it may be apparent I find this game fails as a sequel. Ok, lets ignore expectations for awhile and treat this as a new standalone title set in the same universe. No, you may not get to charge up a rocket punch prevent an alien invasion but they did get the level design right. Everything feels more lively, and I’m excited to see each stage as there’s more hazards, more interaction, and more weapons scattered about. As a 3D Arena Fighter like Power Stone, it actually holds up fairly well. It might not be quit on the same level, but if you and some friends missed the genre, it’s worth checking out. On top of that, there’s a lot more mechs and they feel a bit more unique than the ones in the predecessor – as if each mech was built from scratch.
Since the developers were no longer tied to the idea that each mech has for main attacks, which is just swinging that limb, the mechs are able to have a lot more personality. There’s nimble mechs, grapplers, goofy fighters, and everything in-between. The representation of what you would want in a mech game is almost certainly included. Unfortunately that’s about where the praise ends. While once I got past the tutorial it was fairly easy to start unlocking more, none were exciting to play.
Maybe that’s not the right way to say it – every single mech was exciting to try out the first time. It’s just once you see what the mech has to offer it quickly loses it’s charm. Despite the enemies being a bit more difficult than before, they still allow you to just wail on them without any real retaliation. Combat gets stale fairly quick due to this and hours into the game it still takes almost no effort to overcome the challenges. A variety of game modes can help spice things up, but boils down to whether you’re fighting one or more enemies.
When fighting 1v1, it often ended up being a cycle of knocking the opponent down and waiting for them to get up again. While I much preferred the 4 player free-for-all, I do not think it bodes well that that’s solely due to how hectic it can be where you can barely tell what’s going on. Sure, I’d sooner invite a friend over to play Override 2 than the original – the light punch strong punch conventions is much easier to grasp than individual limb control and the environments are more exciting and fun – but I’d feel better off finding that one other person who’d enjoy Override 1, or just playing something else altogether.
Speaking of finding other people, Override 2 heavily incorporates online play however there are very few players playing. Even in the “campaign” mode, each match tries to connect to a real player to play against. Luckily there’s AI if you don’t connect, and you can skip trying to connect instead of wasting time, but I can’t help but feel like the game may have been a different experience if there was a greater player base or the game wasn’t tailored for online multiplayer. Nonetheless, if this game piqued your interest it is available on Steam, Epic, Switch, Xbox, and PS4.