Giant mechanized robots, commonly referred to as simply mechs, are a staple of the video game industry. Commonly found in first person shooters, like Titanfall, they also make an appearance in other genres. One popular genre for mechs is the role playing game genre. In this genre they often represent the most powerful units on either side of the battle. The following are the top five best role playing games with mechs.
5. Xenogears – This PS1 cult classic is a game that combines multiple popular ideas among fans of role playing games. It features a long convoluted story, deep themes, martial arts combat, and occasional battles between giant mechanized robots. These mech battles occur frequently throughout the game, but the fighting system for these battles is sub par compared to the main combat system. Between this and the fact that the game devolves in nothing but a series of boss battles and cut scenes near the end, keep this game from climbing higher on this list.
4. Steambot Chronicles – This little known PS2 game combines an action RPG with a rhythm based music game. In Steambot Chronicles, you travel about in a peculiarly armed mech while uncovering an oddly sprawling yet seemingly personalized plot. The story is remarkably nonlinear which is a nice deviation from your average RPG. Additionally, while the plot isn’t world shattering, it is incredibly important to your character and the people you meet. Finally, it is a rare love story that actually works and even culminates within the narrative, rather than as a final cut scene. The mech controls are a little wonky and you are often badly outmatched, especially in boss battles, but it is a fun game, especially if you like good music in a role playing game.
3. Battletech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception – Battletech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception is probably the first RPG to ever feature mechs. Based on the Battletech tabletop RPG, the game is a tactical RPG that was released almost before the concept of tactical RPGs even existed. The game has a very well defined and rather linear story, yet provides enough of the illusion of choice to satisfy almost any RPG fan. Oddly, the sequel would be a first person shooter, rather than a role playing game, but if you want to experience the original mech-based role playing game, and you can manage to find a working copy of the game, it still compares well to modern tactical role playing games.
2. Front Mission 3 – The most obvious comparison for Battletech would be the Front Mission series. Set in a far future, this tactical RPG features a worldwide spanning political plotline where giant mechs battle for the destiny of nations. The game is rather unique because an early decision allows you to choose between two very different storylines, drastically changing the final ending of the game. Additionally, while the main story is rather linear, you can unlock additional battles, story, and equipment by interacting with a digital landscape that almost makes you feel like you are sending and receiving e-mails from real life people. It is the gold standard of mech-based tactical RPGs and shows exactly how much the genre has grown since Battletech.
1. Dark Cloud 2 – Mech based combat is only about a third of the actual game play in this game, but it is implemented so brilliantly that it steals the show. Certain enemies are nigh invulnerable when attacked by your main character, at which point you can whip out your mech and even the odds. The mech is difficult to repair and has limited ammunition, so you can’t use it all the time, but that just makes it more fun when you can use it. Additionally, upgrading the mech combines many of the standout features of the game. You can occasionally buy upgrades for it, but more commonly you need to invent upgrades which means taking pictures, making new inventions, and even occasionally growing your sim-like town. Everything about using the mech is exciting, which is a strong statement in a game that has lots of exciting game play features.