Help me find vehicle customization video games
Hi, lately I've been thinking a bunch about Phantom Crash, which I played on an XBox. It was a mecha battle arena game. It had two main modes (three if you count skipping through interminable conversations with NPCs). First, you'd take your mech into an arena and blow people up. Then you'd go to your garage, spending your winnings on upgrading your mech.
The degree of customization you could achieve was striking. There were big options like wheels / legs / hover platform, and a variety of energy / mass / missile weapons. You could get different aim assist chips that had meaningfully different characteristics. You could tune almost any piece of equipment to be lighter or heavier, and a heavier gun really felt more powerful in the arena.
TBH the actual combat was only alright, but we loved the game anyway.
Are there any other games out there that have this kind of feedback loop? Playable today is best, but I'd also go down an internet archaeology hole.
The king of these games, in my opinion and as a huge fan of the whole genre, is Armored Core and there's an entire series of games on various platforms for it.
Less visually customizing, but does involve customizing the weaponry/playstyle and is a much slower game (Armored Core often requires fast reflexes, but you can build a tank that can play slower/take more damage) is the MechWarrior and BattleTech games. Again, I'm a massive fan of both as I'm old and have been playing BattleTech on tabletop for ages and played in the BattlePods long ago before the recent restoration/resurgence.
Are you looking specifically for mechs and combat, or just any game with customizable vehicles?
Maybe not quite what you're looking for, but you could build all kinds of flying machines in 'Besiege' last time I played it: https://store.steampowered.com/app/346010/Besiege/
It was a puzzle game though, you didn't fight with the vehicles and you could build other non-vehicle contraptions. As a challenge you can try to beat every puzzle with a flying machine though, I did that once and it's pretty fun.
'Airships' might be worth checking out too, I've had it in my library for a while but haven't gotten around to trying it out yet: https://store.steampowered.com/app/342560/Airships_Conquer_the_Skies/
Another one I haven't tried is 'Scrap Mechanic': https://store.steampowered.com/app/387990/Scrap_Mechanic/
Aaaaand.... wishlisted. Looks fun as all heck, because if there's anything my grossly overbuilt gaming PC needs to be running it's a game that can be played on a toaster.
TerraTech and Trailmakers are two games with a progression based around building up and customizing your vehicle. The former is more combat-focused, and the latter is more exploration-focused.