Wars of Ja­panese mecha

New Straits Times - - Bots -

MANY of us grew up watch­ing Ja­panese car­toons. Many of them in­clude mechas (ro­bot char­ac­ters), the most no­table among them is Gun­dam. When we see th­ese mechas in bat­tle, we can’t help but imag­ine what it would be like if all of them were to ex­ist in the same uni­verse.

Well, look no fur­ther than the Su­per Ro­bot Wars videogame se­ries and its lat­est en­try for the PlayS­ta­tion 4, Su­per Ro­bot Wars V.

THE STORY

In the war be­tween the Fed­er­a­tion and Zeon forces, hu­mans have de­cided to travel to space to find new plan­ets to colonise and call home. Since the war ended, a new era known as the 10 Blank Years has be­gun.

Peace does not last long how­ever as about a cen­tury after the war ended, the Gamil­lias ap­pear and de­stroy mul­ti­ple plan­ets, in­clud­ing Earth,en­slav­ing hu­man­ity. With Earth gone, hu­man­ity has roughly a year to sur­vive but amidst all the chaos, a few take mat­ters into their own hands and fight back to save hu­man­ity.

Play­ers can choose to play as Soji Mu­rakumo, the non­cha­lant male pro­tag­o­nist who’s a mem­ber of the Moon Sur­face Spe­cial Strat­egy Re­search In­sti­tute De­fense Party, or Chi­tose Kis­aragi, the fe­male pro­tag­o­nist and mem­ber of the third Spe­cial Strat­egy Re­search In­sti­tute De­fense Party.

De­spite Soji be­ing shown as the ex­pe­ri­enced pi­lot and Chi­tose hav­ing lit­tle to no ex­pe­ri­ence with mechas, the two char­ac­ters will have about the same ex­pe­ri­ence through­out the game’s story. In fact, choos­ing ei­ther char­ac­ter will still have them pi­lot the Vangray. There will be mi­nor dif­fer­ences for each char­ac­ter’s playthrough but noth­ing ma­jor.

LOADS OF MECH AC­TIONS

The Su­per Ro­bot Wars se­ries can be con­sid­ered a fanser­vice for diehards. There is myr­iad of anime se­ries such as Evan­ge­lion, Gun­dam, Shin Mazinger and more. At its core, Su­per Ro­bot Wars V is still a turn-based strat­egy game fea­tur­ing a sto­ry­line that com­bines plot points from the anime se­ries in­cluded with an orig­i­nal sto­ry­line.

Su­per Ro­bot Wars V has many sce­nar­ios each with its own set of ob­jec­tives to ac­com­plish. At times, there fac­tors that will lead to a game over such as hav­ing cer­tain mechs de­stroyed, fail­ure to ac­com­plish ob­jec­tive within a cer­tain pe­riod of time and more.

Fur­ther­more, there’re also bonus Su­per Ro­bot Wars V has a big num­ber of sce­nar­ios.

Su­per Ro­bot Wars V is a won­der­ful strat­egy game that is jam packed with con­tent from the get-go.

ob­jec­tives called “SR Point” ob­jec­tives, yield­ing 10,000 cred­its which can be spent on up­grades; th­ese make the game harder as you play through it.

Why would you want the game to be harder? So you can gain pow­er­ful equip­ment that would not be avail­able oth­er­wise.

In each sce­nario, there will be a spe­cific num­ber of mechs that can be de­ployed and also a spe­cific num­ber of en­emy mechs. De­pend­ing on the sce­nario there could re­in­force­ments from your side or the en­emy’s and th­ese are scripted, mean­ing that you can­not con­trol when and where the re­in­force­ments will ap­pear. Usu­ally when it’s on the player side, it means that a new mech will join your team.

Sce­nar­ios play out in a grid-type stage, where both the player and the en­e­mies are only al­lowed to move a cer­tain num­ber of spa­ces. The com­bat sys­tem is very de­tailed for a strat­egy game, with each at­tack hav­ing its own range and dam­age out­put can vary by ter­rain and at­tack type. Ex­cept for ear­lier sce­nar­ios, it’s not easy and it re­quires a lot of think­ing, which is what makes a strat­egy game en­joy­able.

After each sce­nario, there will be an in­ter­mis­sion for play­ers to up­grade their mechs. If play­ers can fully up­grade a mech, they will be pre­sented with a bonus up­grade op­tion.

Each mech will ap­pear in 2D-es­que sprite form.

You can teach pi­lots new skills and up­grade their stats in the in­ter­mis­sion menu as well. You need to care­fully plan your up­grades as you would not want to waste re­sources on some­one that you’re not go­ing to use or isn’t ef­fec­tive.

FLUID BAT­TLE SE­QUENCES

In typ­i­cal Su­per Ro­bot Wars fash­ion, com­bat is sim­u­lated through bat­tle se­quences.

Each mech will ap­pear in 2D-es­que sprite form and act out their at­tacks on the en­e­mies. De­spite not go­ing full 3D in to­day’s age, the 2D-es­que sprites are so de­tailed in high def­i­ni­tion that the mechs look even bet­ter than reg­u­lar anime.

Not only that, the an­i­ma­tion is very fluid and en­joy­able. The only down­side here is that once you’ve seen a bat­tle se­quence a num­ber of times, you might get bored. Other than the bat­tle, the map grid looks sim­i­lar to the PS2 era. No new vis­ual el­e­ments here.

GREAT LOCALISATION QUAL­ITY

Su­per Ro­bot Wars has only been avail­able in Ja­panese that is un­til their pre­vi­ous game, Su­per Ro­bot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers, was trans­lated to English. With Su­per Ro­bot Wars V many were wor­ried about how the trans­la­tion would af­fect the depth, hu­mour and other el­e­ments. The sto­ries are def­i­nitely in­tact and the trans­la­tors The an­i­ma­tion is very fluid and en­joy­able to watch.

man­aged to cap­ture the essence of each char­ac­ter per­fectly. And be­cause the Ja­panese voiceovers are re­tained, it makes th­ese char­ac­ters and their in­ter­ac­tions feel even more au­then­tic.

CON­CLU­SION

Su­per Ro­bot Wars V is a won­der­ful strat­egy game jam packed with con­tent from the get-go. How­ever, it’s not a game that will suit most peo­ple. You need to make sure you en­joy two things: Ja­panese mecha anime and turn-based strat­egy game. For­tu­nately, I en­joy both and loved play­ing the game.

It would have been nice to have some­thing more rev­o­lu­tion­ary but it is, after all, catered for the gen­eral au­di­ence to mark the 25th an­niver­sary of the se­ries.

Over­all, I’d give Su­per Ro­bot Wars V a 7/10 rat­ing.

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