Override 2: Super Mech League Review (PS5) – Heavy Metal Melee
The original Override was a divisive game. Some called it slow paced and overly complex while others thought it measured and an enjoyable mech brawler. The likelihood is that if you liked the original Override game, you’re going to be disappointed with the changes that have been made for Override 2: Super Mech League. Conversely, if you were looking for something a little more accessible and chaotic from the original, you might get more of this sequel.
The concept of Override 2 is still a slam dunk. Giant mechanical war machines that defended the planet from “Xenotypes” 7 year earlier now fight for the entertainment of the masses. These mechs take part in the Super Mech League, grouping skilled opponents into ranks and battle to rise to the top.
Override 2 is a 3D arena brawler that can be played in single player or up to 4 player online or offline multiplayer. The aim of every mode in the game is to be the last mech standing. Using the attack’s available, combined with usable weapons and the environmental dangers of the arenas themselves, the aim is to reduce your opponent’s health to zero while preventing your own health from doing the same.
There are 30 mechs to unlock in Override 2 (all of which are available to play right from the off in versus play). Each mech has 4 standard attacks – 2 punches and 2 kicks – that can be combo’d together. Any combination of these attacks pressed together also trigger one of the 6 special attacks. The offenses are unique for each mech and offer something for every type of fighting game player. Slow but heavy hitters, nimble mechs that kill with a thousands cuts, mechs that drop bombs, mechs with wide sweeping attacks suited to tackling crowds and others that are pinpoint at tackling single targets. There’s a pleasing symmetry to the visual look of the mechs and their abilities too. For example – A mech called Toasty looks like an overdeveloped pizza oven with a furnace for a belly and many of its attacks are fire based. Chefs kiss.
There’s been some changes in the combat since the first game. In Override 2 there’s very few charged attacks. Button presses now trigger immediate attacks like a traditional fighting game. Heat and overheating has been removed. Specials are not tied to a bar now either, only Ultimate’s. Hover is a rarity, replaced with double jumps too. This does mean this sequel feels less unique to the genre but is faster paced, more accessible and very exciting. These changes will be contentious between fans of the original. It certainly feels like the game play has been simplified but that’s in favour of being a much more fluid brawler that better realises that dream of a massive mech brawler for novice fighter fans.
The elements that remain of the original’s combat have been tweaked too. Throws return but missing an opponent feels like more of a punishment this time around as your mech becomes unresponsive for a second (which feels like a lifetime in this game). Weapons can be picked up around the arena and this time around, they can feel like the turning point in tight matches rather than just another type of attack. Ultimate attacks are now charged by damage received and time spent within temporary glowing yellow circles. Both elements track along a bar and once they meet, an Ultimate attack can be used which, as the name might suggest, are the most devastating and visually impressive attacks in the game. The block remains unchanged, making the player invulnerable to a few hits before the shield gets destroyed.
These heavy metal brawls can take place across a number of different modes and in a variety of arenas. The main meat on the mechanical exo-bones of Override 2 is the League mode which replaces the story. Here you start out as a rookie mech pilot with just 5 starter robots to use. Eventually, you’ll earn enough cash to buy your own mech and go Pro. Here, the game separates out into different mode leagues like a solo league, a 2 vs 2 league, a free for all party mode and more. The player has the option of 3 randomly chosen leagues to compete in each round and the more you win in these leagues, the higher the rank you achieve, rising from F to S. Eventually you’ll have the opportunity to join a team which again increases your earning potential based on how well you perform with that team.
Each event also has bonus objectives like blocking X attacks or throwing an opponent Y number of times. Doing this will grant you some extra cash. You’ll also get sponsorship offers front the variety of corporations wrapped up in the Super Mech League. These are time and objective based, like asking the player to complete ”X number of Ultimate attacks within 10 mins of play”. These sponsorship deals can grant big cash incentives. The more cash you earn, the more mechs you can unlock and the more you can experiment.
You’re guided through the league mode by your manager Zoe who regularly delivers a lore dump or gives context to the sponsors, teams and leagues themselves. While this is much better than what existed in the original game, it’s still a far cry from the potential that’s evident in Override 2. When you’ve got a charismatic cast of colourful mechs to fight with, and a league they all fight in, it feels almost odd to spend so much time talking about the sponsors and teams. While the rest of the game is built around the brawling, the narrative, as loose as it is, feels like it focuses on the most boring aspects of the league. If there’s an Override 3, I truly hope there’s a fully fleshed out career mode with an actual story that takes the structure of the league from Override 2 but gives it much more personality and depth.
Outside of the League mode, there’s very little in terms of content in Override 2. The biggest loss for me was the single mech co-op play where players share control of a mech. That’s not in Super Mech League at all. There’s straight up party based multiplayer where every mech is available for combat. In local play, you can tell there was a concerted effort to keep all the action on screen and it works very well. You can pick from any versus game mode and bash your friends into the dirt on it in any of the available arena’s. A favourite among my family is King of the Hill, where a circle moves around the arena while getting smaller. Step outside of this circle and you’ll continually take damage. The scraps this game mode can inspire can be hilarious.
Most of the game play is centred around the League mode however. The issue however is that this can’t be played in an online party. Versus play with friends can only be done in the isolated mode. I understand the reasoning behind this – it’s players can’t boost wins – but in 2 vs 2 matches, it would have been great to team up with friends and dominate the arena.
In terms of the arenas themselves, there’s a small but diverse selection that are far more dynamic than those in the previous game. Each environment has their own dangers to negate too. In one level, magma surrounds the higher platforms with lava flows that blow up to cause damage at times. In another, springs can bounce mechs up to higher platforms to give ranged players a bit of an advantage – until the other players close in on them. One arena is just an enclosed circle with regularly spawning weapons. Some levels have many structures that can either be used as projectiles or explode wildly when damaged. While it would have been nice to see a wider array of arenas, it’s difficult to find fault with those currently in the game.
The biggest issue with Override 2 right now is this…
You’ll see this screen a lot. The online community is currently nonexistent for this game. In the League mode, every match can be played against human players or against bots and since launch, I’ve only had the opportunity to face other players twice that weren’t added via a party in the versus mode.
Unfortunately, not having players to play against really exposes the AI in the game which really struggles to put up a decent challenge a lot of the time. It’s possible to win matches without taking a hit and just throwing the AI opponent around the ring after they come running back at you over and over again. Then there are matches when the AI will utterly decimate you and not let you get a hit in. There’s no real middle ground.
Regardless of who you’re fighting against, whether it be other players or AI opponents, the one thing that Override 2 gets completely right is the fight feel. The thuds and clangs of metal on metal as the giant mechs collide. The retina tingling explosions from some of the ultimate abilities. The sparks and sound effects from the special moves smashing their targets. Override 2 really nails that kaiju battle aesthetic and feeling that’s almost worth the price of admission alone.
Oh, and Ultraman is DLC. ULTRAMAN.
Override 2 is a different beast compared to the original. It’s easier to grasp, much faster paced and far more dynamic. Fans of the first game might not gel with these changes which make it more akin to a traditional fighting game. Despite the tweaks and a lack of game modes, this game manages to bombastically portray destructive kaiju battles in a very satisfying way.
Override 2: Super Mech League is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X and Series S and Playstation 5 (review platform).
Developer: Modus Brazil
Publisher: Modus Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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