Preview: M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle

M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle – Developer Summary:

M.A.V. is a custom mech combat game with a core focus on tactical combat and customization. It is inspired by games like Chromehounds and Mechwarrior.

You play as a MAV pilot, fighting against an oppressive government trying to turn your home into a forced labor camp. You will be able to build your MAV, piece by piece, into the perfect weapon for your fighting style. You will need to use teamwork and a steady aim to fight against other MAV’s to protect your home and take back the areas conquered by others.

Take part in a persistent war across the surface of Europa, fighting against other rebel factions and the Earth Defense Force. Join with your friends to create your own faction, capture territories through hard fought battles, spend resources to get new parts for your MAV and upgrade the defenses of your territories, and possibly deploy a game changing Mega Weapon.

M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle: What We Think

The mech sub-genre of arena shooters has enjoyed the spotlight lately with the arrival of a certain AAA title. Despite Titanfall’s achievements it hardly represents the wide variety of options and potential depth that the mech genre has been known for in the past. Enter M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle, a Kickstarted arena mech game that has also been successfully Greenlit on Steam.

M.A.V. is being developed by Chad Mauldin who brings considerable experience to the project; he was previously employed by Gearbox and has worked on titles such as Borderlands 2 and F.E.A.R. 3. Setting out to develop independently, Mauldin has set high goals for M.A.V. The game will offer mech customization with “thousands of parts,” an online war mode where territory is fought over and multiple other game types ranging from an objective based siege mode to a single player campaign. Lofty goals, but how does M.A.V. measure up at the moment?

Bot In Early

Currently M.A.V. is still early in development with an alpha build available to play. There are two options for gameplay; single or multiplayer and both involve going through the garage to create your M.A.V. first (although you can auto-generate a mech if you prefer). The garage is a little daunting at first but once you wrap your mind around the system it starts to fall into place.

MAV 1

There are two key restrictions on your building projects; weight and energy. You need energy to power components such as weapons and your chassis can only handle so much weight. You can pile more generators on to improve the energy cap but, of course, this uses up your weight limit. The building process is fairly enjoyable with a wide selection of weapons and mods allowing you to tailer your mech to your specifications. The building system could be friendlier to newcomers and a short in-game guide to getting started would be a welcome addition.

Prone Drones

Once you’ve constructed a mech you can leap into either the offline or online game. The single player experience involves selecting an arena from an overhead map and jumping into a deathmatch scenario against bots. The A.I. is somewhat basic at the moment and it can lead to some humorous moments as mechs dance about trying to zone in on you or cluster together firing their cannons into one another at point-blank range. Unfortunately the combat is hampered by these limitations and emptying your ammunition into mechs that slowly truck towards you does get tired quickly.

The online variant is currently little different to the single-player game. Only two servers were available when I tested the multiplayer and both were populated with bots. The combat was, naturally, the same as the single-player but one can imagine the potential of M.A.V. as more gamers join the fold. The wide variety of weapons and mech options could lead to a dynamic and ever changing battlefield.

MAV 2

Visually M.A.V. is still rough around the edges but one must remember that this is an early build of the game. Buildings can be destroyed during battles but the animation is very simple and it looks pretty unimpressive at the moment. Mechs roll or stomp around the map as you would expect and the visuals certainly convey enough to make the game playable. Sound needs a little more work than the graphics; weapons seem to jump between near silence and cacophony with little warning and everything feels a little muffled. These drawbacks are to be expected at this early stage in development but it’s worth knowing what you’ll get if you choose to invest now.

Mechbe…

Altogether M.A.V. has some exciting goals and a lot of potential for multiplayer gameplay. The concept of an ongoing territory war is particularly compelling. At the moment, however, M.A.V. is still very much in an embryonic state; few gameplay features have been implemented, the A.I. is limited, the aesthetics are rough around the edges and the online mode is unpopulated. In time M.A.V. may grow into a great title but for now it’s hard to justify the $20 asking price unless you really feel you want to invest in the concept.

Support M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle on Steam Greenlight

One thought on “Preview: M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle

  1. Speaking here as one of the early Alpha buyers and one of the Kickstarter Backers.

    This review is, as of now, pretty accurate. M.A.V. isn’t really near being a fully finished product. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

    For one- The Developer, Chad, has stated that once you buy the game, that’s it; there will be no paid-for DLC, no subscriptions, no real-currency market. This is $20 for a game that may very well surpass some of the current Mech games out there, and a pretty good investment if I do say so myself.

    Secondly- there is in fact a decent Multiplayer scene going on- however, it’s mostly limited to later in the day and coordinated through the forums. Sadly, there’s just not enough people regularly playing multiplayer to be able to jump on at any time of the day and find a game with other humans. However, when you get the game, you also get the ability to host your own server as well. Both servers up right now are player-run, and the process to setup your own is pretty straightforward as long as you understand a little about Port forwarding. So if you think you’d enjoy playing this with friends, you could potentially set up your own server for local games, pretty easily in fact.

    Thirdly- And this is, admittedly, a bit of a nitpick; M.A.V. is not meant, at the end of development, to be an “Arena” combat game. The maps will be updated to be more sprawling, the game is meant to support larger teams, and what will be the focus of development once all the basic mechanics are in, is going to be the persistent online territory war, where each match is going to act as a single battle for strategic points on the map- there will be repair and rearm costs, potential benefits for attackers or defenders based on the territory, possible salvage, and many other features meant to tie multiple battles together into a single whole.

    M.A.V. is a game that will live or die on the strength of the playerbase- their creativity and the teams they’ll form. Right now, the playerbase is small, but growing. The faster (and more!) you help it grow, the better the game will become. Chad, the developer, has managed to create all this in what is essentially nights and weekends while still holding a regular job in the games industry- if this game gets backing, he might be able to go full-time into developing it, and imagine what would come of that.

    Ask yourself- in this day of $50 day-one DLC Pay-wall half-finished (*cough MWO) ‘full launch’ titles, isn’t $20 pretty cheap for a playable game and all the content that will ever be released for it?

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