Override 2 is a game that does exactly what it says on the tin, putting you in the cockpit of stylised, skyscraper-sized mechs as you beat the cogs off other titanium titans. It’s a simple concept, but with a similar vibe to Godzilla vs Kong, who wouldn’t want to get in on that Kaiju action?
Combat is king with brawlers, but despite some significant improvements it still has its shortcomings. The main issue with the original game persists here, namely that the combat can feel slow and frustrating. You feel every inch of your size, in both a good and bad way. Rather than have each limb locked to a separate button, your shoulder buttons are light punch and light kick, with your triggers being heavy punch and, you guessed it, heavy kick. The greatest new additions are combos and special moves that are specific to each mech. The combos are simple and do the job, but the special moves go a long way to making every mech feel unique, with some utilising range, others being grapplers and a whole bunch in between.
There will be a mech for everyone on this roster
The roster is also pretty extensive, with 20 playable mechs available on launch and others being added in via DLC. All of the old faces make a return along with a good number of fresh ones that round out the list well. My favourite is still the fish-headed luchador Pescado, who can now perform a snap German suplex, a running lariat and a twisting piledriver as his ultimate. The improved combat and move list help give the mechs some personality as well, not that a unique fella like Pescado needed any help in that department.
There are nine maps on show as well, with cityscapes, coastal vistas and specialised arenas all present. Littered with throwable objects, weapons and moving platforms, each feels different. The two issues I have are with verticality. Jumping isn’t exactly smooth in SML and landing yourself on a platform isn’t easy or fun, but the main source of frustration is the camera. Despite being a huge improvement from the first game, the camera gets all kinds of confused when near something taller than the character and that’s without mentioning the lock-on system that makes it difficult to hit the right opponent.
Similarly to the original, Override 2 is split into a singleplayer career and a multiplayer suit of modes that you can jump into with a like-minded mech fan. The first game’s campaign was, how should I say this? A bit rubbish. Throwing punches that sail over the heads of bland alien enemies for five hours isn’t my idea of fun. SML deal with this by jumping into the near future where the Xenotype invasion is all done and dusted. This campaign is far more simple, but in a positive way.
How cute, Ultraman thinks he can take on my boy Pescado
You play as a rookie mech pilot that’s wanting to enter into the titular Super Mech League (think UFC with Transformers) and make their way up the ranks to become a pro. Guided by your fairly likeable agent Zoe, you’ll take part in battles that will garner experience to rise through divisions that progressively become harder. After a short while, you’ll be able to choose from 1v1, 2v2 and free-for-all matches that each have their own divisions. Admittedly, it’s a pretty bare-bones career mode, but the difficulty progression is satisfying and I genuinely enjoy working my way up the ranks in a similar way to Rocket League’s AI-filled seasons. It’s a fun way to kill an afternoon or two and that’s what these kinds of games should be about. The campaign matches can be played against real folks online, but finding a match can be tricky. Luckily the AI is serviceable, particularly on harder difficulties.
A strange component in the singleplayer is the garage. You’re able to choose from one of five mechs at the beginning of your career and you’ll earn cash for winning matches and gaining sponsors (extra challenges). You’ll soon have enough cash to buy your own mech, which will then lock you into using that specific mech until you have enough money to buy another. It’s a weird step forward in the beginning that then takes two steps back. Once you own your mech you’ll be able to buy fairly boring cosmetics and limited colour swaps that aren’t really worth the effort. I appreciate the notion, but cosmetics are meant to be funny and outlandish and these just aren’t much to write home about.
So how’d that go for you Ultraman?
Multiplayer is where you’re likely to spend most of your time. Supporting up to four players both locally and online, punching on with your friends is a damn fun time, but not for too long. Fights are far, FAR more fun than the original with combos and specials moves as battles are more fast-paced and skill-based. The biggest improvement to player vs player gameplay is how ultimate moves are dealt with. A large golden circle will appear in random spots in the arena that will charge up a metre when you’re standing in it. Once you fill the bar you’re able to unleash a move that deals some serious damage that can change the tide of a fight. The bar gets shorter as the match goes on as well, so vying for control of the ultimate ring will become vital.
The biggest downside to multiplayer, and the game as a whole, is the lack of content in the modes department. 1v1, 2v2 and all-on-all are your standards, with King of the Hill and Xenoswarm (PvPvE) being the ‘special’ modes. The first game may have fallen on its face with this, but it included a dumb fun mode where four people control one mech, which was creative and interesting. SML doesn’t leave its comfort zone much at all, which you can tell when King of the Hill is the zaniest mode on offer. I wanted to keep playing with a mate, but we ran out of steam after a handful of matches.
The ad said ‘beachside views’
I’m strangely attached to this series and I desperately wanted Super Mech League to improve on its predecessor. Luckily, the reworked combat and added combo/special moves make for some fun base gameplay. The camera is better, not perfect, the garage a bit pointless and some of the arenas are a bit painful thanks to their verticality, but I was able to see past those things because bashing and smashing robots together like they’re action figures was genuinely entertaining. It’s just a shame that there aren’t more creative modes to show showcase the more engaging grappling.
Reviewed on PS5 // Review code supplied by publisher
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- Modus Studios Brazil
- Modus Games
- PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch / PC
- December 22, 2020