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Game Info:

BATTLETECH Urban Warfare
Developed By: Harebrained Schemes
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Available On: Windows, macOS, Linux
ESRB Rating: N/A
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Mode: Primarily single player, with a multiplayer mode also
Requires BATTLETECH in order to be usable (MSRP: $39.99)
MSRP: $19.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Paradox Interactive for sending us this game and expansion to review!

BATTLETECH is one of the highlights for me for recent turn-based strategy PC games. I really enjoyed it a lot, and I'm always happy to have a reason to go play it again. I would highly recommend reading our review of the game, and also of the expansion pack Flashpoint. The rest of the review assumes you are familiar with the content of the base game and Flashpoint.

Urban Warfare is another expansion pack, similar to Flashpoint. While Flashpoint focused on the newly available Flashpoints, or multi-mission mini story sequences, Urban Warfare focuses on just what it sounds like - fighting in the big city. Most fighting in BATTLETECH deals with areas away from people - while there are occasional maps with buildings, as well as base protection/destruction missions, Urban Warfare's new maps/biomes are much, much busier than ever before. So busy, in fact, that even my NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti would occasionally drop frames during combat (with a 4k@60Hz display).

Rather than the more typical hillside or mountainous regions, where trees are about as busy as things get, in a city, you have buildings everywhere. You can use them for cover, jump onto them via jump jets for better visibility, or even destroy them if they get in your way. If someone is on one, you can destroy the building for some nice collateral damage. You might also take some down on accident, via stray shots. (Stray shots and collateral damage were added with the free patch that released alongside the expansion pack.)

BATTLETECH Urban Warfare
Highlights:

Strong Points: More of an already good thing (more BATTLETECH is great!); arguably the best biome yet; nice new equipment
Weak Points: A little pricey for what you get
Moral Warnings: Everything that applies to BATTLETECH applies here, so that includes curse words, violence, etc.

Honestly, outside of the poor performance, I love the new Urban Warfare setting. Missions are more interesting there, as there are so many tactical options. I find battle there quite captivating. Additional tech and mechs were added also, with the most game-changing addition being the Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) components. I ended up slapping my X-1 ECM Equipment on my Atlas II, and went to town. Now, most of my team can't be targeted by LRMs (Long-Range Missiles), unless they decloak through combat, get spotted via a sensor lock, or the enemy is close enough where it doesn't matter.

The other new component, the Active Probe, is much more interesting in theory than in practice. What it allows is for you to place the probe on a unit, and once activated, it performs what is equivalent to a Sensor Lock on every unit within a 250 meter radius. That sounds great, until you realize that mechs have a 300 meter visual range, and that even well-known short-ranged weapons, like SRMs (Short-Range Missiles) can be used within that range. So, this technology, which costs 50 heat to use, lasts for only one round, has a four-turn cooldown, takes up quite a few tons, is extremely expensive, and prevents the mech using it from attacking that turn, is supposed to be worth all that just to increase the chance to hit for your other team members? No, in practical terms, it's arguably more of a hindrance than a help at all. You could have upgraded tons of other components in that same space. Even adding a few more heatsinks is a massively better use of tonnage than this failed attempt. Hopefully, they massively increase the range or increase effectiveness in other ways to make the Active Probe worthwhile in the future.

BATTLETECH Urban Warfare
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 6.5/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

There are two new mechs, but sadly, when I found some salvage for a Javelin, I didn't realize it was new - I run a full fleet of Assault mechs, and figured it was just another piddly light mech. The new Raven I also haven't seen yet; it's unique in that it has both the ECM and AP (Active Probe) components combined into the same mech. Neat, but again, I haven't ran into one. Thankfully, I was able (by pure chance!) to find a planet that was selling both the X-1 ECM unit and the Active Probe unit, for a reasonable price, so I was able to try out the new tech. (Since my save is post campaign, I have plenty of money to spare.) There are also new Flashpoints to enjoy.

When it comes to the graphics, sound, and moral concerns, these are exactly the same as the base game. Please refer to the BATTLETECH review for more information. The only addition I would make is that the level of detail shown on Urban maps is much higher than other ones - and the system requirements are higher, also.

BATTLETECH Urban Warfare is a good expansion pack for any and every fan of the base game who wants to add more variety. I feel like Flashpoint added more to the game, and I would recommend people to pick that one up first, but the new tech and mission areas are well done and welcome. If you want more to do, and more places to do it, this is a fine expansion. However, if you are not sure if this game is your thing, or if you are just a casual mech pilot, this expansion is kind of pricey for what you are likely to gain from it. If you have already love BATTLETECH and are itching for more, BATTLETECH Urban Warfare is an excellent addition. I would recommend picking it up on a sale, or just getting the Season Pass, which includes this and Flashpoint.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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