Override 2: Super Mech League Review — Giant-sized Mechanized Combat

Override 2: Super Mech League offers intense giant-robot battles and a few headaches along the way.

The original Override: Mech City Brawl was a fun, mostly multiplayer-focused mech brawler that did a solid job of conveying the joy of fighting giant battle bots in destructive arenas. It’s a concept that pretty much sells itself, but the game never quite garnered the attention it deserved.

Thankfully, Override has returned, giving the series a second shot at glory. While there are definitely some issues that keep it from soaring as high as it could, there's a lot to like in this 3D brawler.

Unlike the first game, Override 2 is a multiplayer-only affair. There’s a brief tutorial mode and ample opportunity to play matches against bots, but the original’s single-player campaign is entirely absent here. That’s not a huge loss, since it was basically a series of bot matches anyway. 

Override 2: Super Mech League Review — Giant-sized Mechanized Combat

 

Whether playing the ranked league mode or just quick instant battles, there’s a lot to like here. There are 20 playable bots and just like the original, they are an incredibly diverse and fantastically designed bunch. There are towering, classic Gundam-style bots, ninja and fairy cat bots, a giant fish-headed monster, a very Godzilla-inspired mecha, and designs heavily influenced by other animals, mystical creatures, aliens, and general sci-fi pop culture.

Basically, there’s a battle bot for everyone and more on the way thanks to DLC (including Ultraman right now). In-game money lets you purchase new bots in the career mode, along with cosmetic items to customize your bot along the way.

The robots vary wildly in size, power, and style, which creates the same problems with game balancing found in the first game. Override 2 is unlikely to ever be a pro competition game as a result. But for more casual battlers, there’s a distinctly Super Smash Bros level of chaos that offers plenty of fun.

Override 2 also features a commendable range of game modes: one-on-one, four-way free-for-alls, two-on-two team battles, king of the hill, and even the cooperative Xenoswarm mode where players work together to battle the AI-controlled aliens from the original game.

The career mode in Override 2 is an upward series of mech league battles that also throw in corporate sponsorships and random sponsorship missions to earn extra cash. One company might task you with blocking 100 times in battle, for instance, but the rub is there’s a 20-minute time limit.

If you’re planning to spend the afternoon bashing bots anyway, this is fine, but the rigid requirements for these challenges can easily feel like more trouble than they're worth. 

The career mode also features a fully voice-acted guide to get players up to speed on all the mechanics of the gameplay, sponsors, and league game modes. This narrator is fine at first, but there's an awful lot of her in an otherwise entirely multiplayer game and it ends up feeling as if she was a leftover from a scrapped single-player game.

The controls are very fighting game-like. With light and heavy punches and kicks, multi-button power attacks, grabs, shields, ultra-attacks, and dashes, the control pad buttons are all used here.

A wide variety of weapons spawn in arenas as well, in addition to throwable parts of the scenery. Expect to unleash abuse with rocket launchers, shotguns, blasters, swords, spears, exploding produce and dice, and, best beloved of all weapons, a giant cast-iron frying pan. 

The arenas themselves are full of pitfalls, obstacles, and opportunities. There’s a giant cake-themed level where sweet treats can be used as weapons. Other levels offer lava pits, electrical pools, and even pinball-like jump pads. The levels get crowded with all four players, though, and seem to be designed with absolute chaos in mind.

Override 2 revels in its over-the-top frenetic gameplay, but there are some noticeable problems still nagging the game. For one thing, the auto-targeting system is loopy to the point of being worthless in close quarters, and the camera just refuses to track reliably. This leads to utter confusion in the heat of battle when the game simply can’t keep your direct opponent in view. 

When four robots are right against each other, the game frequently chugs into an inscrutable mass of explosions and jerky framerates. What’s especially odd is this happened on every platform we tried, from a gaming PC equipped with a new Geforce RTX 3070 to an Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch. Override 2 seems to just have trouble with its own speed, both online and off. What seemed like lag during a four-way multiplayer battle was also apparent in a split-screen local match and, weirdest of all, a four-player bot match. 

The other big issue here is simply the lack of players. Override 2 is in desperate need of cross-system play, where players from any platform can battle each other. Since the game is available on both generations of Xbox and PlayStation, the Switch, and PC, there’s plenty of opportunity for a decent player population. At launch, however, cross-play is only possible between PS4 and PS5 and Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, respectively. 

Override 2: Super Mech League Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Fantastic array of robots to choose from
  • Strange, treacherous arenas with ample opportunity for mayhem
  • Lots of game modes

Cons

  • Lag and frame issues across all platforms
  • True cross-platform multiplayer needed to overcome lack of players
  • Auto-targeting system is sketchy at best

Override 2 certainly has issues, but the core of the game is solid, playable, and a ton of fun. The action can be frustrating to track, but the feel of combat is excellent and the diversity of characters rivals the best of classic versus fighting games.

There’s a clear need for some backend optimization to smooth out the flow of combat, and though the framerate issues never proved game-breaking, the lack of players might be.

[Note: Modus Games provided the copy of Override 2: Super Mech League used for this review.]

Our Rating
7
Override 2: Super Mech League offers intense giant-robot battles and a few headaches along the way.
Reviewed On: Xbox One

Contributor

Jason D'Aprile has been writing about games and technology for a very long time. His bylines have appeared on and in countless sites and magazines over the years, including Paste Magazine, Playboy, G4TV, Indie Game Website, UploadVR, Techhive, Lifewire, the Brick Moon Fiction podcast, United Front Gaming, and others he's mostly forgotten about. Jason lives in a house in the woods and does not twit.

Published Jul. 1st 2021

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