Custom Mech Wars Review – Not the Mech Game You Need

Custom Mech Wars is a disppointing game that fails to stand on its promise of delivering a customizable and high-octane mech adventure.

Posted By | On 22nd, Dec. 2023

Custom Mech Wars Review – Not the Mech Game You Need

FromSoftware gave us an excellent mech adventure with Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, a game that smartly modernizes the series’ signature gameplay in new and interesting ways. There are some minor issues here and there, but it’s a largely great game that stands on its lofty promises. So when D3 Publisher comes along with Custom Mech Wars, a game that tries to tackle similar themes but falters from reaching its true potential by a significant margin – it ends up being a really disappointing and disheartening experience. 

Custom Mech Wars takes place in a futuristic dystopia where mega corporations rule the world, and machines have evolved to a point where they can do most of the bidding for humans. The game sees you taking on the role of a pilot in the Four-Seven Squadron’s G-Mech unit as they investigate a case of fellow mechs suddenly going rogue. It’s a very basic plot that is woefully predictable for a mech game, and the bland writing and dialogue doesn’t help in alleviating those concerns either. 

Custom Mech Wars

"It’s a very basic plot that is woefully predictable for a mech game, and the bland writing and dialogue don’t help in alleviating those concerns either. "

The game also has an annoying habit of bombarding you with tons and tons of dialogues in between gameplay sequences, you have to take your gaze away from the action to read the subtitles and understand what’s really going on. All in all, it’s a mostly disappointing story that never really manages to impress the player in any meaningful way – so I mostly skipped through those segments to focus on the action. 

Coming to the gameplay side of things, Custom Mech Wars is all about piloting a mech of your choice and duking it out against a host of enemies in large open environments. Much like its obvious inspirations, you can deck out your mech with different kinds of weapons and armaments – and use mobility options such as boosts and dashes to quickly cover large distances and evade enemy fire. It works decently well, but there is some element of jank to the movement and I felt that it was never quite as precise as it should be. I was constantly getting stuck on geometry and missing my maneuvers even after spending quite some time learning the controls, which made the gameplay feel pretty frustrating and unenjoyable at times. 

This issue of imprecise controls and inherent jank is also present within the combat, where I was constantly relying on auto-lock on weapons to minimize the time spent lining up shots and rapidly firing on targets. You can also zoom in to your weapon to create some fine adjustments to the aim, but those options end up feeling worthless when the core aiming lacks the finesse and adjustments that are required to make it work in a fast-paced shooter. 

custom mech wars

"This issue of imprecise controls and inherent jank is also present within the combat, where I was constantly relying on auto-lock on weapons to minimize the time spent lining up shots and rapidly firing on targets. "

Custom Mech Wars pits you against waves of enemies that come in dozens, and it can feel really satisfying at first to maul down entire squadrons of enemies without getting hit in the process. But that power fantasy eventually evolves into frustration and boredom, when you realize that it’s not you who is super good at the time – but it’s the AI that just doesn’t have the capability to stand up to you. 

Enemies will take forever to shoot you, but you can easily dodge streams of bullets and missiles by just constantly staying on the move. The game does feature a bevy of different enemy types ranging from air drones that need to be shot down to larger enemies that take quite a lot of beating to trucks that charge and destroy pieces of cover in an instant. There were instances where I felt like the choice of different enemy types was making things interesting, but those moments were spread so far away that they weren’t really enough to redeem this game for me. All in all, the missions are extremely repetitive – and there isn’t motivation to keep going since the story isn’t all too interesting as well. 

But the silver lining to it all is that you have a good amount of options when it comes to building out your mech depending on your choices. Completing missions net you resources and parts that can be used to create deadly mechs that are tailored according to your requirements and aesthetic choices. You can deck out your mechs with individual parts like chest, arms, and legs – and different variants of these body parts offer different advantages along with disadvantages. You also have the freedom to join these pieces of armor in any way you wish, which enables you to achieve just the look that you desire. 

There’s undoubtedly some fun to be had in messing around with these systems, but the issue circles back to the gameplay which is pretty monotonous. You don’t really need to keep upgrading your mechs to take on new enemies, since you could easily keep spamming bullets and get through fights just about as easily as you would if you continue to keep upgrading mechs after each and every fight. 

Switching gears over to the presentation, Custom Mech Wars doesn’t really try to present its world with adequate attention to detail. Publisher D3’s games like Earth Defense Force have never been lookers from a visual perspective, but the environments therein have some element of personality that manages to peep through the mediocre levels of fidelity. But that’s not the case with Custom Mech Wars where we get to see low-poly textures and environmental assets that come together to create an underwhelming visual presentation. 

"Custom Mech Wars definitely needed a lot more time in the oven, but as it stands now it’s a game that falls utterly flat in comparison to its competitors."

Custom Mech Wars also gives players the ability to take on missions with friends through a co-op mode.  It’s possible that some of the annoyances might be mitigated by playing with friends, but that’s not going to be all that effective considering the bevy of design problems that have been outlined in this review.

In conclusion, Custom Mech Wars is a game that has a couple of great ideas under its familiar framework of an action mech fighting adventure, but those merits are buried deep within a plethora of serious problems including but not limited to repetitive mission designs, boring story, and unappealing visual presentation. Custom Mech Wars definitely needed a lot more time in the oven, but as it stands now it’s a game that falls utterly flat in comparison to its competitors. As such, it’s better that you skip it altogether and pick out a better mech game to satisfy your cravings instead.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.


THE GOOD

Good customization options; enemy variety is decent.

THE BAD

Repetitive missions; poor writing and bland story; janky movement; poor visual presentation.

Final Verdict:
AVERAGE
Custom Mech Wars is an underwhelming mech game that's plagued by issues like repetitive mission design, a boring story, and an underwhelming visual presentation. There's a glimmer of hope within its customization options and certain gameplay sections, but those aren't nearly enough to redeem this game.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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