The original Override: Mech City Brawl was released 2 years ago, and while it wasn’t up to the standards of AAA fighters, it was a pleasant change of direction packed with giant beasts ripping each other (and the city’s around them) to pieces, a mish-mash of characters and some clunky controls didn’t tarnish the Godzilla, Voltron or Power Rangers inspired fun of giant robots throwing each other through a city and demolishing everything in sight.
Finally, two years later, Override 2 arrives and while my original impressions of the trailer were a little underwhelming, however, it’s safe to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the mech brawlers return.
As soon as you start up Override 2, the camera glides down a corridor to a mech stood on a large elevator, light and reflections display impressively on the glossy floor and the menu pops up to give you a choice between the game modes,
Quik Play throws you straight into a 1v1 or random match, and Versus allows a few extra options such as inviting a friend to go one-on-one, there’s training to get to grips with your giant robots and a garage to purchase mechs and cosmetic options with the in-game credits you earn, but its the “Leagues” mode which is where you’re likely to spend most of your time.
In Leagues, you’ll meet Zoe who’s a fully voice-acted scout who claims to represent the best of the best when it comes to controlling giant chunks of metal, after some simple matches with a small selection of options, you will gain enough funds to buy your first mech and enter the Pro Leagues.
You’ll find yourself with a handful of options as to which league you want to fight in next, ranging from the 1v1 Solo League, 2v2 team fights, 4-player free-for-all as well as a king-of-the-hill style control point mode and the wave-based Xenoswarm League, mini-tournaments, or trials consisting of 3 matches of a random mode.
After every match, you’ll get a handful of leagues to choose from and as you win more game, your league ranking will increase through D, C, B A and S ranks which will reward you with battles against stronger opponents for more cash.
While you’ll initially be limited to your first mech, it’s easy enough to gain 200-300 credits per match, and with all new Mechs costing 1000, it doesn’t take long to build up enough funds to expand your roster of available combatants.
I found myself with at least 5-6 as well as a few cosmetic purchases within a few hours of play.
During the fights, there are a few things to point out, fans of the first Override will be pleased to know it still feels very familiar, and most changes certainly seem to be for the better, I found controls much more fluents, and while combos are easy enough to perform, they’re just as simple to counter once you’ve got to grips with your mech’s abilities.
Every game mode wants you to battle online, but you always have the option to hit a button to revert to A.I controlled bots instead. To ease myself into the game, I stuck with battling bots and made quick work of the first few rankings, with B and A rankings the first time it started to throw up a challenge, progressing on to S is a tougher battle and with the bots at their most difficult, you’ll need your full arsenal of abilities to stand a chance.
Likewise battling online against others tries to pit you against others in the same ranked leagues, which (on release day) obviously had veterans of the franchise ripping me to shreds in the lower leagues, but will by now have shifted most of those to the higher leagues, leaving less experienced (and slightly easier battles) in the lower leagues.
The real positive is, once you’ve got to grips with a mech or two, you’re going to put up a good fight to anyone you face, especially once you master the timing of your blocks and abilities. One example was an online opponent who was ripping me to shreds, but after working out the range and timing of one of my abilities it ended up a very tight battle that the guy eventually (and deservedly) won by a single hit.
Progressing through the leagues is fun, if a little repetitive at times, but always having a random selection of modes, means you’re not committed to always battling the same game mode, the downfall of this is, if you’re really enjoying a specific mode, you could find yourself locked out of it for a few matches.
Regardless of how fast you progress, there’s a constant sense of progression, especially for those who haven’t been as frequent on the original Override, thankfully with a roster of 21 mechs, each with their own unique moves and abilities, it’s safe to say there’s dozens and dozens of hours of enjoyment if you want to master more than a couple of combatants, it’s just a shame that Leagues are set up for such constant progression, so switching mechs, later on, will be a little more brutal, forcing you to rely on versus modes to get to grips with a new fighter.
Overall performance of the game is consistently smooth and fluid, I have one complaint, that a 3-match mini-tournament would lock you out of bot fights after the first game, forcing ou against human opponents, but otherwise always having the option to fight against AI bots, is a nice way of catering to those who prefer not to face the dice-roll random skill level of human enemies.
There’s also “CLubs” which opens up as you progress through the leagues, this online-only mode, offers plenty of depth as you choose between Magma, Pacifica and Starlight, and battle against players from other clubs, to gain Influence within your team, this influence resets weekly and awards you with credits.
as well as the mechs, there are dozens of accessories to unlock as well as 3 options for each mechs head, torso, left and right arms and legs, which can all be mixed to give your chosen mech’s a more unique look, and if you want to customise more than a few mechs, you’re going to be fighting well beyond the first few days if you want to unlock everything the game has to offer.
I’m certainly not afraid to admit I got my first impressions of Override 2 very wrong, the first trailer I saw looked basic, unpopulated and low-spec, but the finished product is much more advanced. While you won’t get the eye-candy of titles like Mortal Kombat or Dead or Alive, maps are filled with destructible objects and hazards which can help turn the flow of battle.
All effects, moves, mechs and surroundings look great and while there’s often plenty going off on screen, I found performance on the Xbox Series X, problem-free, I can imagine without the 4K textures, and Ray-tracing it’s not going to look as good on the last-gen consoles, however, with Smart Delivery, you’ll always have the best version of the game regardless of which console you have now or in the future.
Audio is on par with the overall presentation, the music gets a little repetitive, Zoe’s voice-acting is perfectly fine (if a little exaggerated at times) but the smash and bash in the heat of the battle sounds perfectly fine, but it’s certainly not a groundbreaking audio performance.
The thing that impresses most about Override 2, is the £24.99 / $29.99 price tag, it’s not very often we see such a high-quality game in the budget price range, the offline play does get a little repetitive, but with the pick-up and play nature there’s always a fun arena battler to come back to and those who delve into and enjoy the online play will find a game that’s likely to keep them entertained for considerably longer.