M.E.R.C. (PC) Preview

By Eric 01.02.2017 1

Review for M.E.R.C. on PC

M.E.R.C. is a real-time strategy game developed and produced by TinyMob Games. It takes place in the future, where the last city left on Earth is in a civil war between huge mega corporations that control every aspect of our life. The player is tasked with navigating this complex world, and Cubed3 is on hand to see how it is shaping up.

M.E.R.C. is very similar to modern XCOM games of controlling a small group of soldiers in a real-time strategy environment. The battles take place in a 3D view of looking down on the battlefield and reacting as new enemies pop up. The primary focus is getting through battles to get more money and gear, as well as levels, so the soldiers can handle tougher missions.

The game plays out in a city controlled by five corporations and various forces attacking each other. Each mission helps or hinders the other factions, which causes various effects, such as making rifles cheaper or healing take longer. It is in this mode that a cyberpunk tale is told of warring mega corporations, and an encroaching wasteland and slums on the last city left on Earth.

Battle is the primary focus of the game, and it is best described as hectic. M.E.R.C. is not able to be paused, which takes away a lot of the strategy, but makes it more frantic. It is played on a forced iron man, meaning from every aspect of the choices matter deeply.

Screenshot for M.E.R.C. on PC

Fighting itself is controlled by two squads of two people. The camera follows the squad (so no scouting ahead) and combat is simply done by clicking on the enemy. There are abilities hot-keyed to 1-8 on the number pad, such as grenades and rockets, and are instrumental of being used correctly in order to win on the maps.

Following the lead of XCOM, there are four classes of soldiers, such as an engineer good at hacking, or a heavy trooper with a rocket launcher. As levels are gained, there is a small skill tree to put the points into, which can help diversify the individuals.

The lack of a pause is a major impediment to strategy, as, in general, the best move is to simply roll into position, click on the enemy and begin fighting. The choice, of course, was made to make M.E.R.C. feel more "real" or hectic, but at this point in the alpha, it severely detracts from tactical planning. There are a lot of stats at play here, and to reduce it to a mere point-and-click is a detraction that doesn't need to exist. The developers seem to be in touch with the community and listen to the players about comments, which is always a huge boon for games to turn out well. If this is a big enough issue for enough players, it could be changed; otherwise, understand its implications.

Screenshot for M.E.R.C. on PC

Final Thoughts

In these alpha stages, there is still a lot that is rough around the edges, but the base is here for a good game depending on the direction it takes. M.E.R.C. draws heavily from modern strategy games like XCOM, and the management of soldiers, gear and levels has the potential to be fun. The lack of a pause function is going to drive some of the more meticulous players absolutely crazy, as well as the forced iron man of the game, so these are issues to be aware of, but overall for the genre, it seems to stick to the tried and true.

Developer

TinyMob Games

Publisher

TinyMob Games

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It has potential, but I was very disturbed by the lack of a pause, this will be make or break for me honestly depending on what happens.

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