Override 2: Super Mech League Review – Scrappy Fun
Who doesn’t dig giant robots? We dig giant robots here at Gamer Matters. And there’s one developer that has committed to making games about giant robots brawling in a city that’s crumbling to pieces. Nice.
Modus Studio Brazil is back again with a new sequel to Override. Plot-wise, instead of the world being attacked by unknown powers where oversized mechs are needed to save the world, it’s now in peace. So mech pilots brawl for sport.
Gameplay-wise, it’s trading purposely wonky limb controls with more traditional controls and combos, like a 3D fighting game would.
The result? Well, there’s a lot to be desired from Override 2: Super Mech League, but if you can scoff at some of its scrappiness, it’s totally a good fun brawler.
The game starts with the camera slowly panning in a slowly lit up hallway, only to reveal a giant mech housed in there. It’s great stuff, albeit lacking some pizzaz for it to be a memorable start menu screen. The music feels more like a generic garage rock than something catchy or purposeful. It doesn’t do a title reveal, but a quick reveal of the main menu buttons without any flair.
This will be a running theme throughout Override 2.
The mechs, 20 of them not counting the Deluxe Edition inclusions, are such a treat. They are well defined, cover various archetypes of mechs- from your heroic anime style mechas to what’s basically a giant CRT monitor with limbs. The original designs of these mechs are memorable, has characater, and stand out quite well. I love them.
But each time in battle you better be ready to hear the same sound effects of clunking metal. Sound design is unfortunately rather weak across the board. Mechs don’t have voices and if they do have unique sound effects, don’t stand out. The background music during the fights are repetitive, as it follows a very similar note but with different instruments. If this was supposed to be a use of leitmotifs, it’s really exposing how lacking the other parts of the music ensemble are if there’s only one tone that’s very clear and memorable.
But the real kicker here is the performance. Override 2 is available on many platforms, but it’s also a next-gen release.
So, how does it run on PS4? Inconsistently bad, I’m afraid. On base PS4 it locks at 30fps, but framerates can drop so hard in the single digits it’s basically a slideshow. Arenas with a lot of destructibility paired with a charging frontal leap attack (in a 4-player match) and you’ll chug the whole match. It’s no good.
It does run stable at the target 30fps in sparse 1v1 matches, however. And on levels with less destructibility, it can get frame-y but still at a playable state. So your mileage may vary.
In the career mode called League (more on that later), you’ll have your agent Zoe chatting up, and her audio is extremely muffled for whatever reason. At least the voice acting is done well, and the writing of her lines can be genuinely charming.
Override 2 is more of a 3D brawler this time around. All four shoulder buttons of the controller do correspond to a specific limb, but it’s not a physics-based party game no more. There are now light and heavy attacks, a dedicated block button, grab moves, and also special attacks. Override 2 is more of a fighting game, and less Gang Beasts but giant mechs.
The change of basic mechanics is decent. You can pull off bread-and-butter combos- the usual light, light then heavy attack. Or mix it up with a special attack, which is just a press of two shoulder buttons simultaneously (no motion inputs). It’s not the tightest of fighting games, but the fundamentals can carry over.
Override 2 still hasn’t forgot its party game roots either. There’s an option to disable weapon pickups, sure, but it’s on by default. Why not fire rifles in a fisticuff once in a while. Or use a mech-sized frying pan.
Each character/mech also has an ultimate ability, but it needs to charge by going to a specific part of the map. And the charge threshold is based on how much your health is- the lower your health, the faster you can whip out an ulti hit, which makes for an interesting comeback mechanic.
Overall, I dig the new gameplay mechanics. It’s moving in the right direction.
Fights can be either 1V1, 2V2, 4-player free-for-all, or a 2-player PVE mode. There’s also split-screen local multiplayer for up to four players as well, if you can’t get an online match going. There’s also a practice mode if you want to lab it out as well.
There are mech customisation, but it’s very limited. You don’t have colour palettes (like you would expect from fighting game/brawler) but you can put some extra decorative armour with limited options in colour. The accessories are just stupid silly as you would expect. From silly hats to silly moustaches are available to put on your preferred giant robot. Though you barely get to see them- there’s no victory pose and the intro to each match shows your selected character sans all the goofy accessories.
The interesting new addition to Override 2 is a career mode called League. You will be guided by your agent Zoe to go fight matches, rank up and be the best pro mech pilot the scene has ever seen. But instead of making pre-determined matches, you’ll get a random set of events, and these events are technically multiplayer lobbies.
So, Override 2 is basically making ranked matches its career mode, and have it guided by a thin (but well-done for its size) layer of narrative to keep you hooked. It’s a brilliant idea that on paper is fantastic. Players who just want to play online matches can still play with those wanting to progress in the League to get currency and mech customisation features.
But in practice, you’ll need players. The servers in Asia aren’t populated enough to get these online matches going. So thankfully, you can opt to just fight bots. The AI isn’t the smartest tool in the shed, many of them will likely just circle around you while making you nauseated thanks to the auto lock-on system tracking them as they spin around and around. It’s not the ideal experience.
What’s not a brilliant idea in Override 2 are sponsor objectives. From time to time, Zoe will bring in a sponsorship deal which will give you bonus currency reward should you achieve their requirements.
Problem is, these goals can be very counter-intuitive to winning or having fun (block 50 times). And worse, you have to do it within a time window. In real-time. That means if you are quit the game and still have a sponsor deal ongoing, the next time you log back in (and the deal expires) Zoe will slag you off for not completing them.
I ended up rejecting all the sponsor deals after that. It was not worth enough anyway. And there’s no way to track the progress of your objectives in matches.
Still, the writing that’s there is intriguing. It’s mostly plot dumps because there’s only one speaking character here, but you can feel the team is having fun with the limited resources they have in making this.
I love how they even put in a cheeky reference of their old company name, before their acquisition by publishers Modus Games.
I reviewed Override 2 solely as a single-player experience. And from that perspective, it feels understandably lacking. The AI is just not up to snuff, and the career mode, while it has some nice ideas, isn’t really enough to keep me playing more. That’s on me.
That said, I do enjoy it in short bursts, as you would expect a brawler like this to be. It’s fun messing around with the large roster and figuring out their bread-and-butter combos. The sensation of landing a crunchy blow against another giant robot is gratifying, even if it can be repetitive.
But man, the performance on base PS4 is really disappointing. The camera is also a bit too close, with the auto-lock-on system can be headache-inducing when you are at melee range (which is almost all the time).
This is the kind of game that’s elevated in its enjoyment with friends, either to laugh at/with each other, or to laugh at the game. I wouldn’t recommend it for solo players, but if you can either roped in three more players (either those who are stuck in the household because of lockdown or three other buddies online), Override 2 can be a blast.
Override 2: Super Mech League has made significant improvements to the original, but it’s still lacking in many departments to be an easy recommend.
If you can brush off its flaws, Override 2 is scrappy fun, especially with friends. Who doesn’t dig giant robots engaging in fisticuffs? With a giant robot-sized frying pan?
Review based on the PS4 version played on base PS4. Review copy provided by the publisher