GOTY 2018: The Top 10 Games of the Year: #10
Welcome to the Tenth Annual Silicon Sasquatch Top 10 Games of the Year list! Using our tried-and-true methodology (i.e., we play a lot of games and argue until we’re tired,) we've finally narrowed down the 10 games that we feel accurately represent the best and most important that 2018 had to offer.
#10 – Battletech
Harebrained Schemes | April 24, 2018 | Windows, Mac, Linux
When Harebrained Schemes released the first of its excellent Shadowrun games in 2013, I was thrilled, but only in part for the game itself. With Shadowrun came the promise of games based on the other FASA properties—Crimson Skies and Battletech, the latter of which was crowdfunded in 2015.
There were false starts along the way, as with so many Kickstarter games. First it was due out in 2016, then 2017. But when it finally released this year, I was thrilled to discover that Battletech exceeded my expectations, delivering an experience true to its source material at every turn.
Battletech is, at its core, a tactical strategy game not unlike XCOM. Much like other tactical games, the player fields four pilots per mission with skills and abilities that make each of them important to the squad. But Battletech sets itself apart by layering its sources of attrition. Pilots can be injured or killed, yes, but the ‘mechs they pilot must first be salvaged from the battlefield, and they can be damaged or lost as you progress.
If it weren’t enough of a struggle to keep an adequate number of pilots alive and robots functional for them to pilot, there’s fact that everything—everything—has a cost. ‘Mechs require repairs and ammunition, pilots have to be paid, your command ship has a hefty mortgage on it and needs numerous upgrades to reach its full capability, and flying it across the galaxy to and from missions requires buying passage on a JumpShip capable of making the voyage.
The in-mission combat is a battle against attrition as well. Getting out of a battle completely unscathed is simply not an option, and every fight becomes a series of small concessions. Lose a limb to save a pilot. Lose a pilot to save a valuable, rare mech. Lose millions in hardware and your best men to complete a mission, because otherwise you’re not going to be able to pay your month’s expenses.
Battletech is one of those franchises, like Tron and perhaps Battlefield, that has its popularity overestimated by a subset of nerds—it came as a surprise to the rest of the Silicon Sasquatch crew that Battletech shared its source material with the venerable MechWarrior series. Knowing its pedigree is no requirement though—for a gorgeous tactical strategy game, a challenging business management meta, and a lot of big stompy robots, look no further than Battletech. — Spencer Tordoff