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Videos: New 14 Minute Gundam Versus PV Showcases All Playable UnitsVideos: New 14 Minute Gundam Versus PV Showcases All... Bandai Namco have released a 14-minute video showcasing all non-DLC playable units in Gundam Versus. From new additions such as Slave Wraith and Nemo to series veterans...

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Videos: New Gundam Versus PV Showcases Gameplay Modes, Barbatos Lupus as First DLC Unit, Trial Version in JuneVideos: New Gundam Versus PV Showcases Gameplay Modes,... Bandai Namco have released a new video showcasing the upcoming game modes in Gundam Versus. Check out the highlighted modes below: Free Battle - Set your battle parameters...

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News: Gundam Versus Roster Adds Hi-Nu, Slave Wraith, Gelgoog HM, Guntank and Many MoreNews: Gundam Versus Roster Adds Hi-Nu, Slave Wraith,... As we get closer to the July 6th Japanese/SEA release of Gundam Versus, the latest Famitsu issue reveals 11 new units to the roster! Headlining the update includes the...

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Videos: Gundam Versus Officially Announced for North America and EuropeVideos: Gundam Versus Officially Announced for North... Looks like the West will finally have another home console VS game on the way with Bandai Namco's announcement of Gundam Versus coming to North America and Europe this Fall....

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Videos: Gundam Versus To Add New 3v3 ModeVideos: Gundam Versus To Add New 3v3 Mode As we get closer to Gundam Versus' release on July 6, Bandai Namco have provided a new video showcasing gameplay and new game modes! The biggest takeaway from the video...

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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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Reviews: Another Century’s Episode 2 (9/10)

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

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ace2_coverAfter the success of the first game, it was going to be fairly obvious that Banpresto would follow up and fund From Software to make another one. However, From Software didn’t just pump out more units but instead reworked pretty much the entire game from the ground up.

From the core dash mechanics, to the lock-on system and how all the weapons worked. Whilst the playable unit roster did indeed increase, what made this game so special were all the linear improvements to the game itself. It’s amazing to think that they managed to pull it all off in such a short space of time too.

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Reviews: Another Century’s Episode (8/10)

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

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ace_coverWay back in the gloomy depths of 1998, Banpresto decided to release their own third person action game. Utilising their mecha anime intellectual property licenses from the highly successful Super Robot Taisen series of games, it was called Real Robots Final Attack and was released on the PlayStation. It is also important to note that nobody bought it.

Around about the same time, From Software were in the process of releasing their second Armored Core game, called Armored Core Project Phantasma. The already large number of Armored Core fans pondered that a From Software version of Real Robots Final Attack would have been an amazing game. It took Banpresto almost eight years to figure this out (and now From Software are on their twelfth Armored Core, game in case anyone was wondering).

Another Century’s Episode (or simply ACE) is what Real Robots Final Attack should have been; more importantly the holy union between Banpresto and From Software is now a wondrous reality.

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Reviews: Armored Core 2 Another Age (5/10)

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

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ac2aa_cover.jpgSequels are all fine and dandy, but cashing in on a sequel just seems a tad cheeky surely. Armored Core 2 Another Age falls into this slightly capitalist category. Set directly after the events of Armored Core 2, the Nerves Concord is undergoing drastic changes and the purpose of the Ravens is becoming less and less clear, now that the warring corporate factions have exhausted their resources. More importantly, we are back on Earth now, or what is left of it. Armored Core 2 is a bad game. Armored Core 2 Another Age is, therefore, an equally bad game. On the surface, this is true to a certain extent.

However, for all the game’s faults, Armored Core 2 Another Age has a few surprising tricks up its mechanical sleeve. Armored Core 2 Another Age is a mission based game through and through.

The Arena has gone, but in its place are double the number of missions(about a 100). Mission selection is done by navigating a world map. The further you progress through the game the more parts of the map, and consequently more missions, you unlock. Another big development for the series is that of the game’s difficulty. It is hard, damn hard.

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Reviews: Armored Core 2 (4/10)

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

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ac2_cover.jpgCast your mind back to the halcyon days of the PlayStation 2’s release. There are no “killer app” launch titles, and Sony executives are in the process of having a hissy fit. The PS2 desperately needed something that the PR leeches could market, unluckily for From Software they got their timing wrong.

Historically, the Armored Core franchise has received a very small, yet dedicated, following in the West. This is mostly a byproduct with the way Westerners view big robots. In that, unlike Japan, we haven’t had almost thirty years of big robot pop-culture rammed down our gullets. It goes over heads. Naturally, in Japan anything linked to big robots is equated with the Second Coming. Armored Core is primarily aimed at the Japanese market, simply because they actually want to control 20 metre tall anthropomorphic bipedal robots. Abroad? It is a very different story altogether.

So from the off, Sony’s PR machine picked the wrong game. To make matters worse, the final game sucked. Whether it is was all the pressure from Sony that rushed the development cycle, or the PS2’s crazy architecture, or even just plain bad luck. The final product was particularly sub-par.

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Reviews: Gundam Rise from the Ashes (7/10)

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

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rise_ashes.jpgBack in the day, many a Gundam game had the player pilot the RX-78-2, and consequently steer the neurotic Amuro Rey, through a treacherous future of civil war and political intrigue. This stuff sold, by the bucket load. They were generally pretty abysmal games, however. Thankfully, somebody at Bandai decided to correct matters.

This epiphany in Gundam gaming came in the form of Gundam Gaiden (aka “The Blue Destiny”). There were a total of three games released for the Sega Saturn that enabled the player to control a bog standard Federation “GM” mobile suit. A far cry from the uber-powerful eponymous Gundam. In short, the player was a grunt, and had to work their way through a series of particularly tough campaigns. Each “game” was merely a chapter in the overall plot as well, and also saw the player being awarded with progressively more powerful mobile suits as they progressed. The Gundam Gaiden trilogy of games is very much respected by many a mecha gamer, so you can imagine the fervour when Bandai announced a successor for this superb series of games on the (then) new Dreamcast console.

Despite the obvious graphical improvements, the biggest modification to the series was how you could directly control the actions of your wingmen. Admittedly the game’s focus was predominantly action based, but the real time tactics element added a whole new dimension to the, already very solid, gameplay.

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Features: Macross Pioneers

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

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macross_ace_frontier_cover.jpgWhat with the latest TV series, Macross Frontier, finishing a fairly recently ago and the new PSP game Macross Ace Frontier being released with another on the way, it seems that now is a good time to talk about a series that has often been given a somewhat unfortunate gaming treatment.

Of all the mecha franchises out there Macross is one of the most badly represented. This isn’t because developers want to sabotage the series but more down to the fact that each Macross game is actually comprised of three disparate gaming genres all vying for dominance via one control method.

To clarify, Macross is a series based around love triangles, giant aliens, music and, of course, planes that can transform into large robots. Naturally, each game focuses on these variable fighters, which results in a game that has to offer control for each of it’s three modes; fighter, GERWALK and battroid.

To say that that this is a pretty tough undertaking isn’t in any way an understatement. It’s actually, almost utterly impossible.

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Reviews: Soukou Kihei VOTOMS (8/10)

Posted on : 03-09-2009 | By : | In : Reviews

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votoms_ps2_coverThere are a few anime series tie-ins that are almost always functional travesties when it comes to gaming adaptations. One of those has been Ryosuke Takahashi’s Soukou Kihei VOTOMS. Every single game has treated Armored Trooper (AT) combat with a fastidiously rigid approach and missed the actual functional parameters of the mecha themselves. The problem lies with the Scopedog, the Gilgamesh’s multi-purpose and mass-produced AT.

In each of the AT’s feet you have hidden wheels that, once engaged, allow the mecha to effectively roller-skate at high speeds. In the series, the momentum of the AT has a direct role in how the mecha “banks” into corners, but the literal idiocy that ensues is down to the fact that, in the anime, the mecha are manually driven. This means tracking a target and rolling are controlled independently. Now in an AT you have sticks and pedals, so this approach makes sense. The sticks control the torso, turning and target tracking, but the pedals handle the rollers. All of this fits with that control setup, but mapping that directly to a pad will produce the functional equivalent of wrestling with a ferret. It’s overly complex and incredibly frustrating, something that multiple PS1 games have confirmed on numerous occasions.

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