Latest Posts

Videos: Starwing Paradox Finally Gets Some Proper Gameplay FootageVideos: Starwing Paradox Finally Gets Some Proper Gameplay... Over at 4Gamer, they have a new interview with one of the developers behind the upcoming arcade mecha game Starwing Paradox. Released later this year in the Japanese arcades,...

Read More

News: Gundam Extreme Versus 2 Initial Roster And Location Tests AnnouncedNews: Gundam Extreme Versus 2 Initial Roster And Location... As the rest of the world has Gundam Versus on the PS4, Japanese arcades are gearing up for the upcoming Gundam Versus Extreme 2. On May 12 and 13, stores in Tokyo and Osaka...

Read More

Reviews: Super Robot Wars X (9/10)Reviews: Super Robot Wars X (9/10) Since the end of the Z series, the Super Robot Wars games have tried to change up the setup somewhat, such as including series without mecha in Super Robot Wars V. Well, the...

Read More

Videos: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS 2 Announced For 2018Videos: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS 2 Announced For... Bandai Namco have recently announced that Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS 2 will be hitting arcades in 2018. Unlike Gundam Versus, this is being positioned as a true sequel...

Read More

Videos: Build Strike Gundam, Farsia, Gundam Pixie, and Efreet Schneid Coming To Gundam VersusVideos: Build Strike Gundam, Farsia, Gundam Pixie,... Several new DLC units have been announced during the Gundam Games Announcement stream on January 16. Aside from revealing God and Master Gundam gameplay, we saw Missing...

Read More

Reviews: Armored Core 4 (7/10)

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware: ,

2

Set in a not too distant future, the planet has gone to hell in a hand basket. Global environmental catastrophe is very much a reality and warring corporations now pretty much run the planet, under the false pretences of Pax Economica. To meet the ruthless needs of profiteering corporations, mercenaries by the name of Nexts pilot massive and customisable war machines by the name of armored cores, or ACs for short.

Nexts are also a new type of human – they directly interface with their mechanical avatars via their brain stem and consequently have unparalleled control over their AC.

The focus of the game is to undertake missions in a third person action setting, which pay money for you to buy more parts and undertake more challenging though better paying sorties. Now that the player is a next level pilot, the emphasis is much more on refined control than in previous iterations.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Features: Virtual Ontaku

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : | In : Features

10

shirokis_temjin_katoki.pngI first played Virtual On years ago now, originally on the Saturn port in fact. I look back at that with some disdain admittedly, as I later but quickly realised that the arcade original, with its wondrous twinstick control setup, was a far superior game. The arcade version took me a few months of practice to get into, mainly because the nearest arcade was an hour’s train ride away and I was still at the tender age that meant I didn’t have a driving license.

Once I’d learnt the basics I decided to create a club in a fairly central London arcade (London being in the UK, in case you’re wondering). It was imaginatively titled the London Virtual On Club, or LonVOC for short.

It then appeared that my practice had been pretty thorough, as my subsequent skills were rather potent against the new club members (all of whom were keen to best me, but in the non-Xbox Live smacktalk sense). We were also later graced with the only arcade cabinet of Virtual On Oratorio Tangram (M.S.B.S. 5.2) in the UK, which was a lot of fun.

Considering the recent announcement of Oratorio Tangram coming to digital download, it seems only fair to cover a series that made me travel halfway across my native country just to plumb credits into an arcade cabinet (a cabinet I later ended up owning, as you probably know already).

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Features: An Ode to Sandlot

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : | In : Features

2

sandlot_logo.jpgHere’s a low-down of a rather wonderful Japanese games developer by the name of Sandlot. Officially formed in March of 2001, they approached the genre of mecha gaming with quite literally a new perspective.

In 1953 a budding manga artist, by the name of Mitsuteru Yokoyama, penned a series that would be responsible for laying the foundations of a pop-cultural phenomenon that has now lasted over half a century. The series involved a young boy remote controlling a giant robot by the name of Tetsujin 28-go (translated as Iron Man 28 and released abroad as Gigantor). This focus of the boy controlling a huge mecha from ground level was clearly an inspirational one in the case of Sandlot’s genesis.

For almost all but one of Sandlot’s games they have a very similar gameplay implementation in regards to the player viewpoint, that of a boy on the ground looking up at an immense mechanical behemoth (or at the very least a discernable sense of scale to the gaming proceedings).

It’s also interesting to note that this mechanical inspiration has consequently spawned a more successful series of games.

More after the jump…

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Armored Core Nexus (9/10)

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

1

acnx_coverHow can anyone explain the satisfaction of creating a beautifully balanced mechanical avatar, taking it into the thick of combat and yet returning from the battlefield unscathed? Bathing in your freshly acquired and truly magnificent skill, you watch as charred wreckage surrounds your astounding creation. Gaming empowerment doesn’t really come any better than this.

Armored Core Nexus is the eighth game in a franchise that has lasted over seven years and survived two generations of console warfare. Moreover, it is a franchise that has endured purely on its own contextual merit. Nexus is, in many ways, a celebration of this series’ success.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Macross (8/10)

Posted on : 06-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

0

macross_ps2_coverThere are particular anime heirlooms that require a certain type of respect and admiration, especially when licensed merchandising invariably raises its head. Choujikyuu Yosai Macross is such an heirloom. Originally aired in 1982 as a 36 episode TV series, then as an adapted movie in 1984, Studio Nue’s epic-yet-human space opera is greatly revered.

It also marked the creative debut of one Shouji Kawamori: a then meek mecha designer, he penned the timeless design of the VF-1 “Valkyrie”. Timeless in the way it looked like a contemporary F-14 fighter jet but also seamlessly transformed into a giant mecha to combat equally giant aliens out to destroy the human race. Unsurprisingly, there have been many Macross videogames over the 20-year period since Macross was created. Many have been utterly dire. A select few haven’t.

Normally, the mere mention of SEGA-AM2 indicates a project of austere quality, after all AM2 truly have an enviable gaming portfolio. Bandai realised this state of affairs after releasing the (pretty poor) Macross Digital Mission VF-X games developed by UNiT, not to mention the shocking Macross Plus Game Edition and Macross M3 created by Shoeisha, and they thankfully commissioned AM2 to make matters right.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Tetsujin 28-go (8/10)

Posted on : 06-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

2

tetsujin28go_cover.jpgIn 1956, a certain Mitsuteru Yokoyama penned a manga by the name of “Tetsujin 28-go”. This manga portrayed the life of a young boy called Shotaro Haneda, remote controlling a huge military robot called Tetsujin 28-go to thwart the forces of evil and do good in the world. It wasn’t very long before this manga made the transition to anime, and then jumped the Pacific Ocean to mesmerise the US populace (under the new name of “Gigantor”). It’s important to clarify one thing from the start: Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s “Tetsujin 28-go” was single-handedly responsible for the creation of Japanese mecha pop-culture. His work has inspired generations of people. Some of these people happen to work at a Japanese developer called Sandlot.

Tetsujin 28-go is Sandlot’s third mecha game, and the first time they have been allowed to tackle possibly the most prestigious of mecha icons. Their first outing – Remote Controlled Dandy on the Psone – was impressive and unique, having the player control a huge mecha from ground level and having them position themselves accordingly – after all, you were the camera. The second attempt was Gigantic Drive (on PS2), which was essentially “Remote Control Dandy Deluxe”. Both of these games had an amazingly intricate control system where each limb was controlled individually. Whilst this was a comprehensive approach, it had an obviously steep learning curve.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Virtual On Marz (6/10)

Posted on : 06-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

1

vo_marz_pack.jpgVirtual On is oft-misunderstood as a series. The majority of people focus on the presence of big robots, rather than the game mechanics, that the franchise offers. Moreover, the game’s control interface, through that of a pair of TwinSticks, has caused consternation amongst many a gamer due to their apparent lack of inclusivity: players new to the title struggle with the steep learning curve these devices create, not forgetting to mention that the majority of people remain utterly baffled as to the game’s actual content, and how to manoeuvre within the game world.

Arcade games require practice, patience and training on the part of the player. Virtual On has a brutal learning curve, but the thoroughness of thought and skill that is expected from the player only helps to enrich the overall experience. Thing is, this could be said for any arcade game, and is very much a tenet of design within this part of the games industry.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Anubis (5/10)

Posted on : 06-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

0

anubis_cover1.jpgSet a few years after the first incarnation, the game starts with the player being re-introduced to the mechanical avatar of Egyptian death, Jehuty. Along with it’s new virile pilot, Dingo Egret. What follows is a truly impressive and epic narrative, after all the first game wasn’t the only part of the saga. Admittedly, the plucky little hero from the first game game, Leo Steinbuck, makes an appearance, but the overall narrative tone is far more mature and developed now. There has even been an animated movie and TV series too. Unfortunately, there is just too much focus on the narrative, to the point where it detracts from the overall game.

The actual game itself has been improved noticeably, Jehuty can do a lot more now. The old grab function, with its new implementation, adds a lot of spice to regular combat, but some of the boss fights fall foul of this new function to the point of gimmickry. As such, in many of the numerous boss fights the player has to grab an object and use it as a “guard” against an ensuing attack. So instead of gauging the combat mechanic in a gradual process, we have to endure lengthy boss encounters where we cannot directly attack our foe. Admittedly it is a useful and innovative function, but over used.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Armored Core 3 Silent Line (10/10)

Posted on : 06-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

1

ac3sl_cover.jpgArmored Core 3: Silent Line is the seventh game in the franchise. For the more cynical of you copious eye rolling is not to be unexpected. It is, however, utterly without valediction. Silent Line is an utterly superb game.

Set a few years after the events of the previous game, humanity has ventured up from beneath the ground and has re-settled upon the surface of a recovered Earth. With them has also come all their baggage, namely a bunch of cussed and childish corporations that insist upon repeating history until it kills them very dead. Alas, there is a lot more to all this. Anyone familiar with the older games will realise that humanity has a very long history, one that offers great technological treasures as well as terrors. Petty corporations aside, pretty much anyone that can control doomsday weapons will be in a position of power. Cue Silent Line.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Reviews: Armored Core 3 (9/10)

Posted on : 06-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

0

ac3_cover.jpgForcing balance can be a tricky thing with game design, especially when it comes to sequels. If you have already set a precedent on acquiring ever more powerful weapons in a game franchise, to deny that in a sequel would (most probably) irritate the hell out of your customers. In this particular case, From Software got it right.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, where mankind has retreated to the sanctuary of underground cities, humanity is still in the throws of petty corporate warfare. Disregarding the possibility of human extinction, the corporate schmucks decide to speed up the carnage by hiring mercenaries. This is where you come in. Your ride of choice is a fully customisable mechanical monstrosity, an avatar of destruction if you will. You goal is to take on missions and proceed to earn cash to buy more parts that can kill things quicker. In short, it is great cathartic fun.

The big changes in Armored Core 3 are several fold. The first big change is that the game is now four player. Matches can either be free for all or team based. When team based, the first side to destroy the opponent’s “Leader” wins. A system not all that different from Hitmaker’s (rather disappointing) Virtual On Force. In the missions part of the game this follows on somewhat. On some missions you are allowed to hire “consorts” to help you out, this can be extremely helpful on some missions.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest