[Review] Override 2: Super Mech League
Posted on January 3, 2021 by Campbell(@CampbellSGill) in Reviews, Switch
Release date: December 22, 2020
Developer: Modus Games
Publisher: Modus Games
Override 2: Super Mech League is a simple game built on a simple concept: it’s all about the visceral joy of destroying everything around you in a giant mech suit. As a party-style fighting game where up to four players duke it out as gigantic robots, it offers a wide variety of gameplay modes and a large roster of fighters. It ticks off all the boxes for a decent multiplayer brawler, but the question remains: does it pack a mechanical punch that keeps players coming pack for hours on end, or does its gameplay ultimately feel robotic?
Override 2 is laser-focused on its multiplayer content. It has dozens of playable characters, each one of them possessing its own unique moveset and gameplay style. However, much like other party brawlers, every character has the same basic control scheme even if their moves are different. This makes it easy to pick up new characters, but difficult to master them, encouraging players to try out each character in Override’s surprisingly diverse roster. There’s a healthy mix of light and heavy fighters in Override 2, so anyone should be able to find a mech that meets their preferred playstyle. Some characters are lumbering beasts that focus on up-close-and-personal brawling, while others are light on their feet and excel at slinging long-distance projectiles at their opponents.
However, as good as it is that Override has such a varied roster, its fighters are far from balanced. There are a handful of extremely well-rounded characters that are able to wipe the floor with most other fighters due to disproportionately powerful or versatile moves, which can sap the fun out of trying out new mechs when they’re doomed to fail against stronger opponents. When you have a huge mech that has equally strong close- and long-range moves along with high-speed movement, there’s not really much room for any opponents to prevail. If you want to perform well in any of the game’s multiplayer modes, you’ll be forced to stick with the game’s handful of more competitive mechs.
Speaking of multiplayer modes, that’s where you’ll find the real meat of Override 2. Like the character lineup, the range of gameplay modes is large and diverse. It runs the gamut from basic one-on-one duels to four-player free-for-alls, as well as more party-focused modes such as battles against hordes of NPCs and stay-in-the-ring challenges. Override also gives you a wide range of arenas to choose from, ranging from futuristic cities to boiling volcanoes. No matter the terrain, most regions feature randomly-spawning items as well as destructible environments that add the perfect degree of chaos to most battles. The best modes are the ones that lean into the game’s nature as a giant mech fighter, letting you trample on cities beneath you and hurl massive buildings at your enemies. Override’s multiplayer content aims to offer something for everyone, from competitive solo matches to party-style multiplayer mayhem.
However, while the gameplay might be fun, its controls often let it down. There’s a significant lag between inputting a command and your character performing it – even something as simple as moving around the battlefield can take as long as one full second to register. This lag isn’t a major problem in chaotic multiplayer matches where you’re likely to be throwing everything you have at your opponents, but in more competitive one-on-one battles, input lag can make it impossible to adequately respond to your competitor’s actions.
Override 2: Super Mech League has scant offerings when it comes to single-player content. The closest thing you’ll find to a standard campaign mode comes in the “Leagues” mode, in which you team up with an agent and fight your way to the top of the official Mech Action Leagues. Perform well enough in different matches, and a major mech manufacturer might sponsor you –and in practice, these sponsorships are merely arbitrary challenges for you to meet during your next matches, such as blocking ten attacks within twenty minutes or performing fifteen special moves in an hour. While the “League” adds a bit more context to the gameplay, the League essentially puts you through the exact same modes you’d find in the standard multiplayer content, pitting you against online opponents or CPUs as you rank up. League mode gets the job done if you’re looking for some content aside from the standard multiplayer offerings, but it doesn’t offer much by way of story and its manufacturer contracts feel like a poor incentive to keep playing, since the best rewards you can hope for are mere reskins of your existing mechs.
The League modes highlight Override 2’s single greatest issue: its complete lack of players. Even on Override 2’s launch day, its online servers were effectively empty. I often waited more than fifteen minutes to get matched up with a human player – and I doubt that many players will have so much patience unless they’re writing a review of the game. This continued over a week after release, such that I could count the number of human fighters I faced on only one hand. Either the servers are horrendously ineffective, or people simply aren’t playing the game; the latter seems to be the most likely explanation, considering that network connection was actually very solid whenever I did manage to match up with a human player. I had to spend the vast majority of my time with Override 2 playing against CPUs, which is less than ideal considering that computer-controlled characters put up little fight compared to humans. Only so much fun can be had with a multiplayer game when you’re relegated to fighting robots – and not the giant mech kind.
The lack of an active online community effectively cripples the League mode as well. Since most Leagues involve other players in some form, you’ll spend most of your time playing with or against CPUs. However, the unintelligent CPUs make it a pain to fulfill contracts that you might receive in sponsorships. Perhaps sponsorship challenges would be welcome if it were possible to play against actual human players, but when you’re primarily stuck with braindead CPUs that tend to run around in circles instead of throwing any actual punches, these sponsorship contracts feel more tedious than anything else. Ultimately, it’s a chore to play through the Leagues – or any multiplayer content, for that matter – unless you have a dedicated friend group to play with.
There might be some technical and logistical issues with Override 2’s gameplay, but one area it doesn’t struggle with is its presentation. Simply put, it’s a beautiful game with brilliantly designed mechs that burst with color and personality. The 3D graphics allow for rich detail and vibrant visuals, and it’s extremely impressive that it looks this good on Nintendo’s hybrid wonder. While the visuals aren’t as sharp as they are on more powerful hardware, there’s no denying that this is a highly impressive Switch port. It runs at a mostly solid 30 frames per second, and even if it occasionally chugs below that benchmark, it’s overall a technically solid title and a notable achievement.
Override 2: Super Mech League is a solid multiplayer romp if you have a dedicated group of friends to play with. Its compelling variety of gameplay modes and playable characters ensures that it’s a reliable, action-packed party experience. However, the technical issues like input lag, an unbalanced roster, lack of single-player content, and most critically, its lack of a vibrant online community ensure that anyone outside that core demographic won’t find much value here. Override 2 is a malfunctioning mech suit for some pilots, but for the right audience, there are fun trips to be had.
Review copy provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.