Review – MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (Xbox Series S/X)

It’s weird to think that such an iconic PC gaming franchise like MechWarrior is barely known among the younger generation of gamers. Especially when you realize that the last canonical game in the franchise before the release of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was launched a whopping twenty years ago. I remember growing up in the 90’s thinking that the franchise was the most hardcore and exclusive of them all, being most often tied to high-end PCs, with boundary-pushing graphics and complicated controls. MechWarrior 5 has the harsh job of not only reviving the series for old-school fans, but also introducing it to a younger generation of gamers, not only on computers, but on Xbox One and Series S and X as well.

MechWarrior 5 Third Person

I get it, being able to actually see your mech is cool and all, but MechWarrior 5’s third-person mode makes things a lot harder for the player.

MechWarrior 5 follows the same premise as other games in the franchise, being a slow-paced first-person shooter where you control ginormous mechas that move purposefully in the most cumbersome of ways. You always need to pay attention on the rotation of your mech’s legs, as well as the direction of your weaponry’s trajectory. One mistake might cost you dearly. It’s the kind of game that’s easy to entice players who have never played any previous iteration of the franchise. Who doesn’t like to shoot giant robots with other giant robots?

Sadly, MechWarrior‘s main selling point, its unique control scheme, might actually be what will make people think twice before playing it. It’s not bad, but it takes some time to get used to. If you decide to play it in third-person mode, you’ll basically create a hindrance towards your chances of winning. Sure, having a wider view of the battlefield is useful, but aiming and shooting becomes a lot harder as a consequence. You also need to remember that your robots don’t move around freely like in games such as Daemon X Machina. They actually accelerate like cars, meaning that they’ll still run in a straight line like a lunatic if you take your finger off the analog stick. Remember to brake whenever needed. If possible, play this game with a mouse and keyboard setup… or just stick to the PC version for that matter.

MechWarrior 5 First Person

MechWarrior 5 might not feature the sharpest of graphics, but I love being able to destroy pretty much every single building onscreen.

MechWarrior 5 does teach players all of its mechanics with a lengthy and detailed tutorial mode, as well as a sizeable story mode, but the latter might actually be the worst mode the game has to offer. Simply put, it’s a bland story told in a borderline lethargic way, filled with bad voice acting, terrible character models, and repetitive missions. You’re here for the multiplayer, not the tale of Johnny Random wanting to avenge his dead father.

Bear in mind that MechWarrior 5 was actually released back in 2019, as an Epic Games Store exclusive for the first year or so. This is not, by any means, a next-gen game, despite featuring an Xbox Series S/X build. It features short, but still extant, loading times, its framerate dips a bit every now and then, and while its environments look fine, they don’t exactly ooze a “next-gen” vibe. The aforementioned abysmal character models, which might sound like a weird thing to complain in a game about mechs, yet show up all the time in between missions, also stood out like a sore thumb. The art design on the other hand, is excellent, especially when talking about the overall mech design.


These human models stand out like a sore thumb.

This is far from being a bad game (you really need to screw things up to make mechs with rocket launchers not fun), but I guess I expected a bit more from it. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries focuses too much of its efforts in pointless filler, such as a milquetoast story and an annoying progression system. Its insane multiplayer is where it shines the brightest, but then again, I feel like this is best experienced on PC, with a mouse and keyboard setup.


Graphics: 7.0

The art design is top notch, as to be expected from a game all about mechs, but the game clearly doesn’t showcase what the next gen of consoles can do. There are framerate issues, as well as terrible human models.

Gameplay: 7.0

It takes some time to get used to MechWarrior 5‘s control scheme, but it’s more intuitive than initially expected. Just make sure to play it on first-person mode.

Sound: 6.0

Forgettable storytelling and a soundtrack that isn’t inherently bad, but will disappear from your memory as quickly as it entered.

Fun Factor: 7.0

It would have been a much better game if it was less focused on its menial storytelling and more focused on what we’re here for: mayhem. The core gameplay loop is great, and the multiplayer is excellent. The repetitive missions and excessive amount of grinding, not so much…

Final Verdict: 7.0

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

A copy of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was provided by the publisher.