One of my favorite games from 2018 was Override: Mech City Brawl. It is a plucky little indie where you pilot skyscraper-sized mechs in order to fight other mechs and the occasional swarm of alien invaders. Parts of the game felt a bit under polished, but that was admittedly part of the charm. It was an ambitious project, and it must have garnered enough good will for the developing studio of Modus Games to create a sequel: Override 2: Super Mech League. Unfortunately, for every improvement this brawling follow up has, it also makes plenty of mistakes.
Set seven years after the events of the first game, Override 2 shows that Earth has recovered peacefully after the invasion of the Xenotypes. Without any giant aliens to fight, the mechs that once defended the planet have now been repurposed into tools for global entertainment. The Super Mech League pits fighters against one another in various events and stages in order to earn sponsorships, money, and, of course, glory. All of this is communicated so poorly. In fact, all of this is information I was only able to obtain from the Xbox Store description. What the game itself actually tells you is that you’re a new pilot in the Super Mech League, so shut up and fight!
Though it is a bummer that no story missions or story exist at all, it’s refreshing to jump immediately into the action. The first entry in the series took its sweet time in letting you finally bash the giant robots together, but the sequel understands that is what you’re here to see. Getting into a fight is quick, painless and simple, which is a huge upgrade compared to the first game. Back in that one, I rarely was able to fight against another player without one of us disconnecting or without the frame rate taking a nosedive.
Not only are matches actually playable, but they’re much more enjoyable. Gone are the days of charging up simple punches and kicks that every single mech has in common. Now, each of the twenty fighters feel completely unique with their own wonderfully animated movesets. Attacks hit quicker and harder in order to create a proper fighting game feel this time around, and the camera behaves itself a lot more. Experimenting with the different bots to find what combos work for you is easily the title’s greatest strength, and working to earn money in the career mode so you can buy each mech is a nice motivator.
Sadly, Override 2’s positives end there. The career mode, though it has better fights, is so pointless. You start with a few of the mechs until you have enough money to get your own, and then you’re down to one. You have to keep earning money and fighting on in order to unlock all of the rest. Or you could just do quickplay where you have access to every single mech. Quickplay doesn’t let you choose the specific mode you want to play like career mode, sure, but they hardly do anything different anyway. Half the time career mode doesn’t even let you play what you want to. If you choose one specific mode, or “league”, too many times within career mode, it’s locked away for a while until you can appreciate the other modes for their unique qualities, you ungrateful bum.
Sorry, was that rude to say? My manager from the career mode must be rubbing off on me. In addition to the overall lack of content and the vice-like grip on what modes you’re allowed to play, career mode will throw random dialogue at you from your Super Mech League agent. Everything she says is either utter nonsense or oddly rude. If you dare to lose a match, she will remind you that if you don’t do better your mom won’t be proud of you and you’ll never find true happiness. Or, for some reason, she’ll tell you about her childhood. As the solitary character in the entire game, her odd lines, voice acting and outfit that is exactly how young people dress I assure you, all make her come across as an odd interruption to the rest of the game.
I use the term “rest of the game” lightly, however. Compared to Override: Mech City Brawl, there just isn’t enough content. You can fight online or locally with up to three friends, and in those limited, similar modes – and that’s all. There are more mechs to choose from and the combat is quicker, sure, but Override 2 has lost that special, creative oomph. One of the greatest features from the first game – the ability to pilot a single mech with multiple players – is gone. This was my favorite way to play with others locally, but now, with a split screen, it feels much more like an average fighter.
If you’re a diehard fan of city-stomping robots, Override 2: Super Mech League’s combat will surely keep your attention for a while. It is a great looking game with some stellar robot designs, but that only does so much. With nothing more than samey online fights again and again, this is a game that will rust up sooner rather than later.