Toys: Arcadia YF-19 Breakdown
Over at AmiAmi they have a stupidly lovely breakdown of the upcoming Arcadia 1/60 YF-19 toy set for release in April of next year. As always we're taken aback by the quality...
In addition to the BluRay anime boxset for 2nd Super Robot Wars OG, we’ll also be getting a separate but equally pricey kit boxset featuring a new Gespenst MK II Kai (which you can buy here). This is from the same Kotabukiya line of kits that have been pretty damn fantastic thus far, so even with the price tag for this it looks like it will be worth it. In addition to this news, apparently a new longer promo video for the game will be going the rounds soon. It’s likely that it will be the one that is made for Japanese high street shops to pimp the game, so it should be pretty comprehensive with any luck. The game will be available on November 29th.
Over at 4Gamer they have a piece on the VR Missions in E.X. Troopers. These are meant as battle simulations whilst you are at the Academy. The cool thing about them though is that not only can you bring AI characters along to help out but also human players to. Naturally on the PS3 this is dealt with online but on the 3DS it’s only a local (ad hoc) multiplayer setup. Still it’s a nice touch and we’re getting more and more excited for the game’s November release.
Finally relenting to the wailing of thousands of fans the world over, Double Fine announced that previously XBLA exclusive Iron Brigade would be coming to PC on the Steam digital distribution service. Effective August 13th, those of you without Xbox 360s now have no excuse to not play one of finest surprises in Western mecha game design. We talked a bit about the game back when it was still called Trenched, so those of you with a sense of deja vu can rest assured that you’re not going crazy–you already were when you imported those Super Robot Wars games despite not knowing a lick of Japanese.
Iron Brigade plays like a cross between a straight mecha action game and a tower defense title: a stream of enemy waves come through generators towards a target you need to defend, and all you have to hold your ground with are deployable turrets powered by super-science and a creaky WWI-era mecha with some truly fearsome heavy artillery haphazardly pasted on. These mecha (“mobile trenches”) don’t just hit the sweet spot between a lumbering machine and an agile player character avatar that all mecha games aspire to, but the fact that your ride is an absolute behemoth means the turrets make sense. Your mobile trench carries enough firepower to devastate a small country, but you can’t waste that firepower on small fry when you have an entire map to defend, so the game’s tactics are all about choosing where you need to get involved personally and when your automated turrets can handle things alone. Thus Iron Brigade neatly avoids the common tower defense trap of giving the player nothing to do once a wave begins, while the necessity for strategic turret placement means the player needs to keep track of the big picture rather than just aiming and shooting as necessary.
The loot system is well designed, with most pieces of new equipment not being straight increases in damage but rather tweaks to old weapons that make them feel new again, and Iron Brigade definitely has the trademark feel that Double Fine has become known for, with titles such as critics’ darling Psychonauts and unapologetically metal Brutal Legend demonstrating their ability to craft the creatively bizarre. Mecha series as of late have become entrenched (pun unintentional) in either Gundam clones which miss the mark of what made the original series special, or entire seasons of cute girls doing cute things in giant robots. Seeing something come out of left field like Iron Brigade, which is based on WWI-era futurism and 1940s men’s magazines, is a breath of fresh air. Any mecha game which challenges you to make no man’s land into Real Man’s land is an inherently noble endeavor and a fitting entry in a genre that practically invented badass.
The PC version will thankfully include the original XBLA’s DLC, “Rise of the Martian Bear,” because there’s simply nothing cooler than sending robots to Mars.
There’s an interesting interview with the team behind Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter, especially as it’s revealed that the (arcade) game utilises the Unreal engine and toolset. This is pretty rare from a Japanese development point of view, as they tend to use their own internal tech and tools. The reasoning behind the usage of external middleware (such as Unreal) was down to the fact that Square Enix’s internal engine wasn’t ready in time. Considering the fact that the game was a bit off the beaten track functionally also meant that they had issues repurposing Unreal (primarily designed around first and third person shooters) to work in a turn based way, though the driving sections apparently caused almost no issues. Naturally the upcoming 3DS game won’t be using Unreal but still it’s interesting to hear that a Japanese arcade game went down this route.
Banpresto have announced a new entry into the Super Robot Wars series, that of Super Robot Wars Card Chronicle. This is a slightly strange mixed port of the recent DS and PSP games, as it seems to share sprites and animations from between them (though not quite as shiny as we were expecting). Considering the power of most smart phones and tablets these days, especially in comparison to a PSP, the game should be a lot prettier. That said, the entry price will likely be much cheaper so there’s that to also consider. The game will also be playable at the forthcoming Tokyo Game Show and then released this year.
After a pretty long hiatus we now have a new Heavy Gear game to look forward to. Developed by the newly founded Stompy Bot, it will be apparently released on both PC and console. The studio is also focused on digital distribution, so it could likely go down the freemium/multiplayer route that’s all the rage at the moment. In any case, we’ve always had a healthy admiration for the Heavy Gear games and setting. If only for the fact that the creators openly referenced VOTOMS as an influence, something that makes very apparent functional sense when you see the scale of the mecha and the fact they have wheels in their feet. Unlike the rampant bell ends who ripped off swathes of classic mecha for Battle Tech, the Heavy Gear setup was always a lot classier in that regard; taking the functional and visual guide from VOTOMS and making something new with it. This is something that can equally be said for Hawken, as the team have happily cited the work of Kow Yokoyama as a similar influence on their mecha design. Regardless we’re just happy that a new Heavy Gear is on the way.
As part of the upcoming Rev 3.09 update to Senjou no Kizuna, we’ll be getting two new units from the first and second MS IGLOO series. Notably that of the YMT-05 Hildolfr and RTX-440 Ground Assault Type Guntank. As you can see both of these are very ground based units with an emphasis on ranged bombardment (something the game HUD has had to accomodate it seems). Game Watch has lots of nice pictures and more details on the new units too, all of which go live on August 6th.
Over at 4Gamer they have details on various versions of the forthcoming E.X. Troopers. From the standard to the limited editions of the game, with the latter coming with a lovely figure of Tikki. What’s also very interesting is that the game will be released simultaneously on both the 3DS and PS3. Bar that, there’s also a lovely new anime trailer as made by those special people at Satelight and the song you can hear is also performed by May’n. The full trailer is shown below and as always it only makes us want the game that much more.
Here’s a new trailer for the forthcoming Hawken and it, looks at least, pretty big budget. If one of the chaps appears familiar, that’s because you’ve probably seen him before in X-Men: First Class (specifically that of Edi Gathegi who played Darwin, also pictured above). The trailer does merge what appears to be game meshes into a live action-ish context, which is also pretty sweet. Anyway, it’s clear that this will have a pretty big marketing push the closer we get to the December release.
Sentinel’s rather amazing looking Riobot Gurren Lagann is now finally out in the wild. Despite having all manner of lovely Gurren Lagann toys already, we’re seriously tempted to pick this one up (purely on the sculpt in fact). As figures go though, the articulation and gimmicks look superb on this too. As always, you can buy yours here.