MechWarrior 4: Black Knight
Windows - 2001
Description of MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Windows
Expansions. They rule the world these days. Crank out a few extra missions, throw in some new units, add a multiplayer map or two and -- kaboom! -- the franchise lives on. We can all blame Command and Conquer and its 4,000 expansions for this, or just about any of the mildly successful shooter or strategy games. Repurpose the original code, slap together a new box with nifty graphics, put a colon in your name, and you might just lure your original audience back for more.
Case in point: Mechwarrior 4: Black Knight, an incredible add-on pack with some cool new mechs, new skirmish maps, and a terrifically challenging campaign. Yes, there's a lot to explore as a member of the Black Knight legion, and after all, this IS Mechwarrior 4, one of the best games released last year. Whether you should consider the expansion really depends on two scenarios.
The first is if you just couldn't get enough of Mechwarrior 4. Perhaps you played through the campaign mode, challenged everyone you know to a multiplayer game, and generally lived and breathed the series for an extended period of time. The game was certainly worth this time investment. No other mech game has captured the scale and power of these mechanical monsters before, and many gamers considered it the best in the series.
One of the coolest graphical features was how mechs gradually became crippled, limping from a leg wound with smoke billowing in ever growing clouds behind them. Damage effects heightened the sense of realism when craters, smoke-stains, and dents appeared on your enemies after your repeated bashings. Collision detection was also second-to-none. Mechs would glide right over small shrubs, slow appropriately if they collided with a larger tree (and then bend and break it over), and crash harshly into another mech or wall. Sound effects for all these collisions were almost perfect, especially the crimping sound of metallic objects that slowly gave way to the brute force of your war machine. Particle effects from your weaponry were just awesome to behold, especially the glowing flare of ballistics.
Mechwarrior 4 also featured inventive, ever-changing gameplay. This was not a level-clearing game by any means. Often, the mission objectives were so varied, they felt like you were part of some futuristic task force, steaming across alien landscapes with rockets blazing. Enemy dropships required quick annihilation, conveys had to be escorted, buildings needed demolishing - and all before dinner! You never really knew what to expect. Best of all, the multiplayer experience was right up there with the best of them. In-game host searching provided a seamless entry point to online mayhem, despite the usually clunky Microsoft Gaming Zone service. Modes such as CTF and Team Attrition captured that large-scale combat feel, providing outdoor arenas second only to Tribes 2.
Black Knight will most likely rekindle your original passion with five new mechs, including the Black Knight namesake, some excellent multiplayer modes and maps, and new technologies for mech building. There's a strong mercenary angle that's used to full effect. Missions are designed from the ground up to award all-out power assaults, stealth, and moving on to the next objective as quickly as possible. Once you carry out your orders, you can barter for upgrades in the mech black market instead of waiting for that perfect ballistic. Some of the new mechs, such as the Black Knight itself, are seriously underpowered - but they sure look cool. It's more, more, more -- so if that's what you're after, the expansion will fit the bill.
The second consideration is if you're brand new to the series, Black Knight is intended squarely for current Mechwarrior 4 players, since that game is required. Still, if you're willing to shell out $80 for both games, you'll get more maps to choose from for multiplayer, five new mechs, and extra skirmish maps. The single-player campaign also includes much more interesting alien scenery and stronger AI. Buildings and objects seem to have a higher polygon count, and there are just more structures dotting the landscape than in the original game. The new battered city maps are downright eerie - they look about as real as you might expect. You'll see more, do more, and hear more in Black Knight.
Enemy AI is superb. These are fast thinking machines. You and your sidekicks can hone in on one mech for the kill, but expect to be surrounded quickly by its buddies. A wounded mech retreats behind enemy lines, forcing you to push through stronger, fresher units. This kind of scripting is rare in a combat game, and even more surprising when you consider that the expansion was developed by Cyberlore, the add-on gurus who gave us the first Warcraft II expansion set. Even though they weren't involved in the development of the first game, they sure learned quickly.
There's that category of gamers who just won't see the value here, however. If you played only some of the missions, spent some time with multiplayer, and then moved on to the next game, then there's probably nothing in Black Knight that will impress you. Gameplay is about the same as the first. New multiplayer modes, such as Goliath (which pits lightly armored mechs against just a couple heavier warriors) and Team Attrition (which adds up the score based on overall damage instead of kills) are compelling enough. In the end, those expecting something completely different, such as the ability to pilot spaceships or man turrets, will need to wait until the next release.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
ultraloser 2019-12-08 -2 points
cant get this one to run in compatibility mode. i do have the base game installed ( and running, but mechlab crashes) and the virtual disc for the expansion installed and mounted but it wont start at all
Mech101 2019-11-13 1 point
Very good expansion pack, highly recommended if you have Vengeance already. Make sure you also download the NO CD file in Extras, as that will be required to run the game. Install the expansion pack into your Vengeance game folder, add the NO CD file shortcut into the Black Knight folder and it's good to go.
Unique campaign, feels like it's a different game when playing through it, and highly enjoyable. Couple of new weapon options too, and an interesting Black Market feature which allows for trading of weapons/Mechs, no in-game credits (C-bills) but a Trade option where you can swap like-for-like, all items have a certain value to them.
Must-have download for Mechwarrior fans.
blahblahblacksheep 2019-04-26 4 points
If you have Windows use a DPI / Text Scaling setting other then 100%, you'll notice all the MW4 games having an offset screen that seems to be shifted to the lower-right, leaving a black bar on the top, regardless of game screen resolution. (The main menu will look fine, but once you start a mission, like training, the screen has a black bar on top, and hitting ESC has the menu shoved down in the lower right corner.. it's still centered on the game screen, but the game screen is offset from your monitor).
Reason... The MW4 games use fonts (eg: for menus) that are impacted by the Windows DPI / Text Scaling setting. You may have changed the DPI / Text Scaling in order to keep a high resolution (eg 1080) but to scale the fonts up in size so you could read them instead of them looking super small.
You can double-check your DPI / Text Scaling in Win 10 by...
1) right-click desktop
2) Display Settings
3) Change size of text, apps and other items
If it's set to anything higher then 100%, it can cause issues in MW4.
1) Right-click the MW4 shortcut on your desktop
3) (tab) Compatability
4) (button) Change High DPI Settings
5) (checkbox) Override high DPI Scaling
6) (dropdown .. Scaling Performed By) Application
This will let the Application use whatever DPI / Text Scaling it wants (basically make it use 100% w/o you having to manually set that in the Windows Display Settings.)
Do this to all the shortcuts for the MW4 games you've installed: Vengeance, Black Knight, Mercenaries
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