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Videos: Phantom Gundam and Nightingale Coming To Gundam Versus on September 26Videos: Phantom Gundam and Nightingale Coming To Gundam... Phantom Gundam and Nightingale will be coming to Gundam Versus on September 26 in Japan. As mentioned in our previous post, Phantom Gundam is a 400 cost unit and is taking...

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News: Gundam Versus To Add Phantom Gundam As DLC UnitNews: Gundam Versus To Add Phantom Gundam As DLC Unit As we await the upcoming Western release of Gundam Versus on September 29 on top of unreleased units such as Pale Rider and Gundam Guison Rebake, Phantom Gundam has been...

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Videos: Gundam Versus Adds Pale Rider, Gundam Guison Rebake, G-Self Perfect Pack and More As Upcoming DLC UnitsVideos: Gundam Versus Adds Pale Rider, Gundam Guison... Hot on the heels of Update 1.03 launching later this week, Bandai Namco have recently provided the latest set of playable Gundam Versus DLC units that will arrive in August....

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News: Bandai Namco Announce Gundam Versus Open Beta in North America & Pre-Order BonusesNews: Bandai Namco Announce Gundam Versus Open Beta... From the 2017 San Diego Comic Con Gundam Fighting Games Panel, Bandai Namco announced North American players (and probably Europe) will get to try out the Gundam Versus...

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Videos: Gundam Versus Update 1.03 Adds Ranked Battles, Extra Trial Missions, And A New Survival ModeVideos: Gundam Versus Update 1.03 Adds Ranked Battles,... Set to release on July 27, the next update for Gundam Versus will add ranked battles, extra trial missions, and a boss survival mode. In typical ranked battle fashion, you...

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Reviews: Tetsujin 28-go (8/10)

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

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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.

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Reviews: Virtual On Marz (6/10)

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

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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.

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Reviews: Anubis (5/10)

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Reviews: Armored Core 3 (9/10)

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

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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.

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Features: The Last Boost

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

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omega_boost_front.jpgIn 1999 a developer renowned for its pedigree in creating driving simulators ventured into pastures where high speed mecha roam. The developer was Polyphony Digital, the game: Omega Boost for the original PlayStation.

It was possibly the most accomplished implementation of mecha themed space combat yet achieved.

The player had control over the titular mecha, the Omega Boost, and were able to acquire targets in spherical 3D at incredible speed. Considering the aesthetic influences from anime such as Macross, it was unsurprising that Shoji Kawamori helmed the mecha design with his regular finesse.

Many assumed that the game was an offshoot from Team Andromeda’s seminal Panzer Dragoon series, as the beautifully insane homing lasers were in similar effect. It became an almost apocryphal tale, that was supposedly wholly without credence.

Well, Yuji Yasuhara would probably disagree…

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Features: Armored Hardcore

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

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aclr_game.jpgYou’d think that a dedicated gaming intellectual property that affords immense creative freedom on the part of the player would be championed outside of Japan as well as within. While the latter is certainly true, the former is sadly not the case.

Admittedly, From Software’s Armored Core games have often received rather disappointing localisations and non-existent marketing but some balk at the series’ ongoing complexity, both in terms of the controls and intricate customisation.

The truth is that these games have a very traditional learning curve in effect and not just as a series but for each and every game. In the current climate of zero effort rewards maximum enjoyment, Armored Core is decidedly antagonistic in its approach on making the player learn the game. In many ways, the Armored Core series is the spiritual successor to games like Assault Suits Valken.

Anyway, here’s more history on the older Armored Core games than you shake a reinforced ceramic composite stick at (oh, and each of the gameplay screenshots double as links to in-game footage in case you’re wondering).

More after the jump…

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Reviews: Gundam Lost War Chronicles (7/10)

Posted on : 05-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

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gundam_senkiFranchises can be double-edged swords when it comes to gaming. The Bond franchise, for instance, has produced one superb game and a plethora of utterly shocking ones. The Gundam franchise is also very similar in this respect too. There have been vast numbers of Gundam games released over the years, of which most have been total gaming travesties. Thankfully “Lost War Chronicles” is a refreshingly solid gaming experience.

“Lost War Chronicles” is a pseudo side-story to the original Gundam’s “One Year War”. Using a very similar, but a nonetheless graphically improved and speedier game engine to that of “Journey to Jaburo”, many will feel that this is merely a soulless cash in rather than anything of worthy repute.

It is probably one of the most solid Gundam and, consequently, mecha games of recent years. Whilst not as inclusive as Capcom’s popular arcade incarnation, there is considerably more depth available to the player in Bandai’s recent outing.

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Reviews: Zeonic Front (9/10)

Posted on : 05-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

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zeonic_frontGundam is a weird franchise when it comes to gaming. Weird in the way that the majority of official tie-in titles often fumble the ball, whereas the “gaiden” (or sidestory) titles are often superb.

The Saturn was the first console to hold host to one of the more renowned Gundam gaiden games; the Blue Destiny trilogy. Not playing as the main characters from the anime, you had to survive as grunts on the frontline in seriously underpowered hardware. As a consequence, the overall gaming experience was more gritty and intense. It was also one of the first Gundam games to implement a first person cockpit view properly (the PSone Gundam game doesn’t count, because that was rubbish).

The same development team behind the Blue Destiny trilogy then went onto create Rise From The Ashes on the Dreamcast. Again, it was similarly gritty and involved you on the frontline with your mechanical balls against the wall. The interesting addition in the Dreamcast version was the ability to control wingmen and give them very specific orders (all this could be done on the fly too). Then things went dead. With the advent of the PS2, Bandai financed a bunch of underpar “canon” Gundam games, which completely lacked the edgy realism and tactical vivacity of their “gaiden” brethren. That was, of course, until Bandai announced Zeonic Front.

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Reviews: Another Century’s Episode 3 (9/10)

Posted on : 05-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

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ace3_coverJust as the PlayStation 2 was on its way out, Banpresto commissioned From Software to make one more Another Century’s Episode game for the system. Dubbed “The Final” it was meant to be the end of that console’s line of games.

Like the time between the first and second games was very short, it was no different for the third game. Though the vast number of improvements seen in the second game made way to a more modest set in the third game. Much of this was down to the fact that the core game was thoroughly excellent by this point, so making drastic changes wouldn’t have made much sense. In any case, this was and still is one of the finest games in the Another Century’s Episode saga.

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