Mechs & Mercs: Black Talons review

A gem of an RTS that adds a lot of freshness to the genre not to be missed by RTS fans

Mechs and Mercs is a real time strategy game created by Camel 101 and the game follows the story of the Black Talons company. The black Talons are currently stationed in the Oberon system. After an eventful campaign, the military Tzanar Union has overrun the planet of Genai and blocked all departure from the system: leaving you and the Black Talons stranded. The only means of escape is to help the Genai forces repel the invading army and recapture the planet. You will lead your men through tough battles that only strategy can win, will you be willing to sacrifice your men to take a strategic point or will you be able to find another way around. Mechs and Mercs is a truly unique experience  that really adds the S to an RTS game.

The game takes your standard RTS and adds aspects from games such as xcom enemy within with features such as cover’ leave your men out in the open and they are sitting ducks but behind cover they stand a much better chance of surviving. The game is all about strategic attacking a defence, 2 key things to capture landing zones and commander points with these 2 you will have access to units while limiting enemy reinforcements. With access to both of these you can both have new units drop in or have a quad receive reinforcements (the second of which is a far better option). There are several key combat features that prevent you from simply charging head in such as crossfire, when a unit is caught in crossfire between other units that unit will have reduced armour and will almost certainly die, suppression makes a unit far slower so just walking a unit straight into enemy fire will be a death sentence.

All units are important and there are a wide variety to choose from there are light units, medium, heavy and non combat units(engineers). Depending on the situation these can all be key say for instance heavy units can take a lot more damage as they are high health and high armour units meaning they are best at leading the assault but they are slower in contrast a light unit is faster but can take less damage so they would be more suited to flank an enemy unit.

As stated earlier keeping a unit alive and getting reinforcements is a better option  than just ordering new ones, this is true for several reasons firstly because when a unit is in combat they will gain experience and if they all die then they will never level up and second because your men are limited based on a weight limit which is introduced after the first mission, along with the ability to upgrade your men with more health, armour, accuracy etc.

The game doesn’t hold your hand for many missions you may find yourself restarting because you think if you had attacked an enemy base early then you would lose less men etc. There is a high level of trial and error which works well you are given a few helpful hints for example the second mission you are recommend to build turrets but enemies will come at you from many different sides and if you can capture a few enemy landing zones you will be able to just defend from one or two sides rather than being taken from all directions. These type of decisions are what makes the missions fun.

The story is quite unique to each player, your missions will have a time limit for you to accept and each mission will cause you to gain or lose favour with individual groups if you don’t help save someone’s civilians then they might not like you and may even become your enemy further down the line.

All of this combined with not the greatest graphics makes this a very fun and unique game in the RTS genre that I can easily recommend to anyone, the few faults I can find with the game are that the graphics and the mountains of text you are sometimes confronted with. These 2 may turn a few people off or may lead to them paying no attention to the story but most people who find this gem of a RTS will be pleasantly surprised and enjoy their time with the game.