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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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News: Killzone 3 to feature mecha

Posted on : 15-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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The upcoming Killzone 3 will be featuring an interesting new power armour of Helghast design. For those that played the last game, this shouldn’t be too surprising as the latter parts of the campaign also featured playable mecha too. What’s interesting, in the wider sense at least, is that Killzone 3 is another entry in an increasing list of upcoming games games that are folding in mecha based functionality into their make-up. From Gears of War 3 to the continued usage of Walkers in Red Faction Armageddon, not to mention Vanquish as well. It seems that the benefits of mecha are finally being explored and appreciated in the broader gaming context.

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News: TwinStick EX Re-issue

Posted on : 15-06-2010 | By : | In : News

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The official site for the upcoming 360 port of Virtual On Force has confirmed what many fans expected; a re-issue of HORI’s TwinStick EX peripheral to coincide with the release of the game later this year. The eye watering price tag of 30,000 yen is still in effect and it will also only available if you’ve made the requisite pre-order via HORI’s online store. Needless to say, this re-issue may not happen as both SEGA and HORI have to meet a certain number of pre-orders before they can enter production again. Bear in mind that a lot of Virtual On fans already sacrificed a kidney/leg/arm to obtain one of these the first time around, so I’m not sure who’d be left to buy this re-issue version.

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News: Border Break Update

Posted on : 14-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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We meant to cover this a good while back but lots of new games have been kicking off, so it got lost amongst that. In any case, the wondrous Border Break has been receiving numerous updates via the BB.tv channel, showing off the new blast runners as well as the new maps. What’s most striking in the video below is how much faster the game has become since we reviewed it. Whilst we greatly enjoyed the slower pacing before the Ver 1.5 update, as it made matches feel very tactical, it seems that this speed increase is something that’s quite short range and localised. As such we’re inclined to think that this development is actually a positive one, as it’s merging both the tactics that occur at range and a more instinctive approach to closer range combat.

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News: War for Cybertron Multiplayer Demo

Posted on : 10-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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The upcoming War for Cybertron has been given a multiplayer demo via the 360 online Marketplace, so go and download it basically. From the few games we’ve played it’s obvious, that despite being very pretty, the game reassuringly doesn’t suck total sweaty robot balls. Though, that said, it is worryingly generic (from a multiplayer standpoint at least). The really good news, for us at least, is that High Moon didn’t bork the mecha handling as they feel suitably weighty. We’ll be reviewing the game once it’s released later this month, so keep an eye out for that. Naturally, Megatron must be stopped…no matter the cost…

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News: Virtual On Force Multiplayer Update

Posted on : 09-06-2010 | By : | In : News

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4gamer has some new screenhots of the upcoming 360 port of Virtual On Force. What’s interesting about these is that they clearly show a 4 player splitscreen multiplayer option (along with the already documented online setup). This is a nice concession to the fanbase, as the Virtual On scene (in Japan at least) are pretty closely knit and prefer the more social arcade-esque gatherings.

Separately, a few people have been asking me about the VR pictured above. Well, its name is Kagekiyo and he was a new unit introduced in Force. This was an experimental VR made by Dr. Yzerman of the Sixth plant “Satchel Mouth.” Yzerman attempted to pluck the soul of the fugitive warrior Kagekiyo, a retainer to the house of Hei, from the dead and trap it within the V-converter (something similar to how Specineff’s V-converter was created in case you’re wondering). Over time he managed to control Kagekiyo’s spirit, which allowed the VR to be relatively mass produced. The VR resembles a samurai warrior of the sixteenth century and is often armed with giant versions of basic samurai weaponry, notably that of a katana. Due to the use of Kagekiyo’s spirit, some pilots have claimed that their Kagekiyo VR often goes berzerk. Specineff was an earlier Dr. Yzerman creation and Kagekiyo was a partial spin-off from that line. This is yet another mecha design that also ties into my theory that contemporary mecha are heavily influenced from the cultural effects of the samurai.

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News: Vanquish Has Powered Armor, Gundam Space Colonies

Posted on : 06-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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With the latest trailer for Vanquish, we finally see what the game looks like in action and I have to say that my initial skepticism about it has all but vanished. The game’s pedigree is excellent, being created by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Mad World) and headed by Shinji Mikami (Devil May Cry, Resident Evil) but the early screenshots and teaser trailer released to the gaming public made the game seem, at best, an interesting take on the overused “space marine” trope all too common in current-gen titles.

The new trailer puts any doubts to rest because not only is the action as frenetic as we would expect from Platinum Games, but rather than simply using space-age armor to explain away the amount of damage these characters are capable of soaking up, we can see in the trailer that the main character’s powered armor provides him with additional movement options as well–one scene shows him boosting from one set of cover to another almost instantaneously, while another has him using his thrusters to gain enough vertical range to smash a foe.

It’s nice to see designers thinking about what ways these wonderful “space marine” armors could change combat, and while the scale of powered armor doesn’t exactly match that of mecha, and thus is really a whole different kettle of fish, a lot of the solutions are the same–just as giant robots shouldn’t be treated as human analogues, humans in powered armor should have different skillsets following from their upgrade. While Vanquish isn’t the only game in recent memory to play with the trope (Section 8 being a good example) it’s good to see some of the most talented people in the action game business working on the problem.

On more firmly mecha-related territory, I’d also like to point out some interesting similarities between Vanquish and Mobile Suit Gundam. Both deal with humanity expanding into space not onto different planets, but rather in O’Neill cylinders floating freely in space that use rotation to generate an approximate feeling of gravity, and both have these colonies eventually being used as weapons, by taking advantage of the plentiful solar energy resources of outer space.

While it’s hard to tell where the homage ends and genuine cultural absorption begins with the Japanese and their (perfectly reasonable) obsession with Mobile Suit Gundam, I do find the use of Gundam as a reference point interesting, because much as the mobile suit’s use in Gundam is to provide a vehicle that can operate equally well in space, under Earth’s gravity, and in the artificial “gravity” of O’Neill cylinders, Vanquish is taking the commonly used Western term “space marine” quite literally, as Vanquish’s power armor seems to be designed both as a spacesuit and as body armor, used to infiltrate a structure floating in space. Most of what are called “space marines” in the press tend to be neither, operating on planets rather than in space and not being any more mobile than regular troops being shipped to a far-off planet.

Hopefully Vanquish will be the great game that it looks like it will be, and that it will create a renaissance in the West regarding the Men In Space Suits, Holding Guns, Shooting Aliens genre, maybe even something a bit closer to the original Western concept; when the West made Starship Troopers into a movie we kept only the fascism, while Japan kept only the robots. Needless to say, Mecha Damashii supports robots over fascism.

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News: Full Size Heathawk on display

Posted on : 03-06-2010 | By : | In : News

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The Niigata City Art Museum is holding a new exhibition showing off the work of one Kunio Okawara. Entitled the Mecha Design For 1/1 Mechanical Designer Kunio Okawara Exhibition it features, amongst many other things, a full scale heathawk (thoughtfully embedded in the gallery floor). The heathawk was the predominant melee weapon of choice for the initial Zeonic mobile suits in the original Gundam, which means it’s been sported in multiple games since. Both the MS-05B Zaku I and MS-06F Zaku II are suitably notable – though many other mecha, on both sides of the conflict, also sported the weapon. Being the classy chap he is, Okawara was actually present at the exhibition on May 29th signing autographs and most probably fighting off screaming groupies.

The exhibition is going on until the 1st July and only costs 700 yen for entry and, unfortunately, there’s no word on whether they’ll roll out a full scale SPT-LZ-00X Layzner cockpit anytime soon.

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News: Virtual On Force Trailer

Posted on : 03-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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The official Virtual On Force port website had another update today, this time with a trailer of the game in action on the 360 (with a rather cool reveal at the end, in the form of two Tangrams). Unsurprisingly, the original arcade assets have been handled without much fanfare; as the 360 is considerably more potent that the original Hikaru boards that ran the game. Though we’re still unsure whether a home port of Force is actually a good idea. Admittedly, Oratan’s XBLA sales have been mighty impressive but Force was considerably more flawed and in part helped to limit the success of the series from that point on. In any case, we’ll see how well this new port fares once it’s released at the end of the year.

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News: War for Cybertron Pre-Order Trailer

Posted on : 01-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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Possibly our favourite Transformer, Shockwave (aka Laserwave, Astro Magnum etc.), is getting offered as a pre-order bonus for GameStop customers who buy the upcoming Transformers: War for Cybertron. Now, we know this news isn’t that current but this trailer showing off the pre-order bonus in game (and suitably voiced) is rather wonderful – though much of that is also down to the music being used.

Shockwave is an interesting design as it mirrors much of the similarities to the cyclops monster seen in Ulysses 31, a series that Studio Nue also worked on. Whilst Nue also worked on Diaclone, the Japanese toy line that birthed Transformers as we know it, Shockwave was an interesting anomaly to that as the original “Astro Magnum” toy wasn’t made by Takara. Whoever penned the original toy design, and we’re inclined to think it may have been Kazutaka Miyatake, we’re suitably chuffed that the new game will feature the mecha.

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Kits: Myzr Announced

Posted on : 01-06-2010 | By : | In : News

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The model kit manufacturer Hasegawa have announced that their next Virtual On kit will be the VR Myzr from Force. Myzr was the follow on unit from Cypher from Oratan, as Myzr can also transform (something this kit will apparently do as well). This is all suitably timely considering the upcoming 360 port of Force on the way. For those confused as to why Kotobukiya aren’t making this kit, that’s because they only have the rights for the original Virtual On and Oratan. Hasegawa, on the other hand, have the rights to both Force and Marz – as they’ve been making kits alongside Kotobukiya’s output for some time now. No word on when the Myzr kit will be released but it will most probably be before the port hits the shops.

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