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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: Border Break is Finally Coming to PS4News: Border Break is Finally Coming to PS4 Back in 2009, you may remember that we reviewed the awesome Border Break. Well, it finally seems that after nearly a decade the game will be getting a console port on...

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News: God Gundam and Master Gundam DLC Coming To Gundam Versus In JanuaryNews: God Gundam and Master Gundam DLC Coming To Gundam... It's been a long time coming, but God Gundam and Master Gundam are finally joining the Gundam Versus roster as the next DLC units in January. While we've had several melee...

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News: Aegis Gundam, GM Sniper II White Dingo Ver. and More Coming To Gundam Versus This DecemberNews: Aegis Gundam, GM Sniper II White Dingo Ver. and... This December, even more suits are being added to the ever growing Gundam Versus lineup. The first is Aegis Gundam, last seen in Gundam SEED Destiny: Rengou VS ZAFT II Plus...

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Videos: Atlas Gundam Gameplay Trailer in EXVS Maxi Boost ONVideos: Atlas Gundam Gameplay Trailer in EXVS Maxi...   Bandai Namco have released a gameplay trailer for Atlas Gundam in EXVS Maxi Boost ON. As the unit is also releasing in Gundam Versus as well, we can at least use this...

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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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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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