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News: Gundam Side Stories G-Line Light Armor DLC ReleasedNews: Gundam Side Stories G-Line Light Armor DLC Released Another week, another wave of Gundam Side Stories DLC, this time it being the RX-81 LA G-Line Light Armor. A variant of the RX-81 G-Line series, it made it's first appearance...

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Videos: Masoukishin F Second PromoVideos: Masoukishin F Second Promo What with the release of Masoukishin F not far off, Bandai are stepping up with a new promo video. Despite the omnipresent boob jiggle with the various female cut-ins,...

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News: Wonder Festival 2014 Summer Garage Kit CoverageNews: Wonder Festival 2014 Summer Garage Kit Coverage Following on from our first batch of coverage for Wonder Festival, we've now done a piece on all the garage kits that caught our attention. Due to the sheer volume of...

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News: Wonder Festival 2014 Summer Commercial CoverageNews: Wonder Festival 2014 Summer Commercial Coverage We managed to make it to the recent Wonder Festival over the weekend (despite the insane heat). Naturally we took lots of pictures and have done a chunk of coverage on...

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Toys: PlayStation Optimus Prime AnnouncedToys: PlayStation Optimus Prime Announced Following on from the MegaDrive Megatron toy being made by Takara Tomy, they've now also announced an Optimus Prime toy based on the original PlayStation. Like the first...

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Reviews: Gundam The Blue Destiny (10/10)

Posted on : 01-06-2014 | By : | In : Reviews

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bluedestiny_coverOne of the biggest mistakes Gundam games make is when they try and put you in the shoes of a Newtype. It always ends up being disappointing as it is an impossible thing to get right. We’re not meant to be Newtypes, not yet anyway, and Gundam games should acknowledge this.

This is where the Blue Destiny trilogy came in. Released across three mini-games, they placed you as a grunt GM pilot on the front-lines. Not only that, you got it all via a faithfully claustrophobic first person cockpit view. Put simply, this approached nailed what the Gundam mythos was about in a way that hadn’t been done before. It’s also one of the best Gundam games ever made.

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News: Gundam Side Stories Review Addendum

Posted on : 01-06-2014 | By : | In : News

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Now that our review for Gundam Side Stories is up, we wanted to add a few more bits that cover the narrative. The reason why these aren’t in the main review is that these are pretty hefty spoilers. Whilst we don’t really care about spoilers some people lose their shit, so this concession is for them. This is by no means comprehensive but more the parts we thought worth mentioning.

SPOILERS »

Missing Link – The Slave Wraith team are all ex-convicts that have been drafted into service, so they fight dirty. Their squad leader is Travis Kirkland (played maniacally as always by Keiji Fujiwara). They basically found out some Federation secrets and are then on the run. They later team up with the Zeon Marchosias team. Amongst all this the HADES system and Pale Rider play an important role, this also ties directly into events in Blue Destiny and Yu Kajima et al make cameos in the Slave Wraith arc. Missing Link is also split into four parts; Federation, Zeon and then two flash forwards one in UC 0090 and another in UC 0096, with the latter tying into the events seen in Gundam Unicorn.

Blue Destiny – This is now in two parts, covering the original games as well as Nimbus’ path. The big news, bar the Missing Link tie-in, is that it shows two major new events over the original games. The first is that at the end of the fight between the two EXAM Gundams, BD3 (Yu’s unit) emits a green aura just before it attacks. This then follows onto seeing Yu years later in a Jegan trying to push back Axis at the end of Char’s Counterattack. During this he calls out for Marion to help and she responds that everybody’s warmth is already here. So insinuating that it wasn’t just Amuro and Char’s power that pushed back Axis, but everyone involved. Again this ties into Banagher’s comments at the end of Unicorn saying that the pyscho frame light actually comes from the pilots themselves. This in turn explains that the red EXAM hue is the early stage of this effect with the final form being green. On the Nimbus arc it also sounds as though Marion survives, as she was in a coma and that Nimbus isn’t painted as being quite the bastard he was in the original games and manga.

Rise from the Ashes – The base White Dingo GMs are damn fast. Most of the missions make it into the remake as the original didn’t have many to begin with. There are a few odd changes from the original (no proto beam rifles) but it’s pretty close and was the most fun of all the segments to play. The only real downside is that Pierce Rayer talks, which is weird (doubly so as he’s voiced by Kouichi Yamadera).

Zeonic Front – Just feels wrong functionally but is nicely harder than the other parts, as you’re in underpowered Zaku II’s for the most part. The lack of any unit control and strategy is just very strange though. Nice heads up to Marchosias towards the end, as it is explained that they are sort of a special elite compared to Midnight Fenrir.

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Reviews: Gundam Side Stories (6/10)

Posted on : 01-06-2014 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware:

10

gunside_cover1Some of the finest Gundam games ever made have been the “gaiden”, or side story, entries. These are on the whole admired by fans of the Gundam saga, as they place the player as grunts on the front lines. Understandably, when a collection such as Gundam Side Stories was announced many people were obviously overjoyed. As modern day remakes of these classic games would be a wonderful thing indeed.

It then transpired that these classic games wouldn’t actually be remade, instead they would use a new game setup and only be recreated in a narrative sense. Despite this obvious disappointment, the new game is actually rather good but the overall package is very patchy and inconsistent. As such this is one of the more challenging games we’ve had to review over the years.

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News: Gundam Side Stories Release and Impressions

Posted on : 28-05-2014 | By : | In : News, Videos

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After much wait Gundam Side Stories is released today in Japan. However, because we’re awesome we got a copy of the Limited Edition a day early (pictured above). So from playing about fifteen or so missions on the Slave Wraith side of Missing Link this is what we think of it thus far. In terms of controls and gameplay, it’s actually pretty great. It’s fluid and simple but with some nice weight to it. It feels like an amalgam of the old Blue Destiny games mixed with Lost War Chronicles and Zeonic Front. In terms of the latter, you have three units per team and you can switch mid-combat between them (like in Zeonic Front somewhat). These also act as your “lives”, as once one is taken out it has to recharge and you can switch to the others in the team. Once all units are down then that’s game over. Missions are short and simple but still quite varied. The game is quite focused as a whole, in that you don’t really have to customise the mobile suits or their load-out. You also have access to two weapons from the off, normally a machine gun and a bazooka/beam rifle but this varies from unit to unit. All this makes the controls and combat feel very direct and almost arcade like. The story and voice acting is also good and suitably interesting. All this aside though, this game looks really quite ugly in places. The majority of the cutsenes clearly weren’t done by an animator and the engine itself looks very dated indeed (worse than 0081 did in fact). The terrain especially looks like something from the PS2 era. We’re guessing this is because the budget was small and the content in the game as a whole is pretty massive (as they had to make seven games in one package). Once we’ve played it some more we’ll post our review but in the meantime it plays well but looks pretty disappointing. There are also some new gameplay videos, which we’ve linked below. You can buy the standard edition here.

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Videos: Astebreed Western Release Out on Playism Now

Posted on : 25-05-2014 | By : | In : Videos

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For those of you who need a little mecha shoot ‘em up action for your PC, Playism has just the thing for you. They have recently released the English translated version of Astebreed, a doujin PC SHMUP created by Edelweiss. You take control of the titular Astebreed mecha and shoot and slash your way through waves of of alien hordes, known as the Filune. What separates this game from other SHMUPs is the larger focus on melee which is not only used to slice up your enemies, but is also used to tactically defend yourself against certain types of attacks. Of course, this is also used in conjunction with your typical long range attacks to deal massive damage while building up your score multipliers. It’s a very pretty game visually and the gameplay really intense and satisfying when slicing away at enemy hordes and giant bosses. It took me about 2 hours to play through the first time, constantly dying while trying to figure out boss patterns and whatnot, but in the grand scheme of SHMUPs in general, it isn’t too hard. It also carries several achievements and unlockables such as character art and mechanical models. If you’re interested, the game is currently on sale at the Playism store for $15.99 and Steam keys will be available for the game when it is later released on Steam. Until then, check out the gameplay trailer below!

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Videos: Gundam Side Stories Cross Dimension 0079 Promo

Posted on : 23-05-2014 | By : | In : Videos

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What with less than a week until release, we now finally have the full blown Cross Dimension 0079 promo for Gundam Side Stories. This was the first Gundam Gaiden game and was released back on the SNES, it was also a turn based strategy game. In addition to this, we also have new promos for both Rise from the Ashes and Space, To the End of A Flash. The promos are shown below. You can still pre-order the standard edition here.

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Videos: Masoukishin F Initial Promo

Posted on : 22-05-2014 | By : | In : Videos

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Well that didn’t take long; Masoukishin F now has its first promo video (shown below). This will indeed be the final entry to the Masoukishin saga and the engine has had a fair bit of improvement. Now with a modified forced perspective, it makes the 2D models almost appear 3D. It looks quite impressive in fact. That aside, the game has been scheduled for a release on August 28th. There will be two versions available; a standard release at 7,120 yen and a limited edition at 10,930 yen. The latter will have a full soundtrack set for the series and a 100 page artbook included. The standard version will also be available to download from PSN on the day of release.

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Toys: Robot Damashii Full Action Crossbone Gundam X2 Release Details

Posted on : 22-05-2014 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

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As we saw at Tamashii Nations recently, a Full Action Crossbone Gundam X2 is on the way. Released this September at 4,800 the figures looks to have had considerable work done on it compared to the original Robot Damashii release. The ABC mantle is noticeably absent however, though that might end up as an option set. Talking of option sets, the X1 Ka Kai we reviewed recently is getting an option set to match its setup as seen in the Skull Heart manga. In addition to the X2, we’re also getting a majestic God Gundam figure released at the same time and price. So it looks like September will be a costly month.

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News: Masoukishin F Announced

Posted on : 21-05-2014 | By : | In : News

Hardware:

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In a nice move, Bandai Namco have announced what appears to be the last entry in the Masoukishin series; Masoukishin F: Coffin of the End for PS3. Considering all the prior games have been helmed by winkysoft, it’s likely this will be too. If that’s the case, then the “F” suffix harks back to their SRW glory days on F and F Final. No news on a release date or price as yet but an interesting omission is the lack of a Vita version. That aside, we’re looking forward to this quite a bit!

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News: Hidetaka Miyazaki made new president of From Software

Posted on : 21-05-2014 | By : | In : News

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In an interesting move, Hidetaka Miyazaki (pictured above) has been made the new president of From Software. Following on from Kadokawa’s recent acquisition of the company, long time president Naotoshi Zin is stepping down to an advisory role. The latter is the interesting part; Zin has been at the helm of the company since its inception during the mid-80s (back when it made business software). So this change in leadership does fall squarely into the big deal category. However considering Miyazaki’s prior experience working on Armored Core and the Souls games, does make this appointment a good one. As he does have an understanding of how games are made firsthand (you’d be surprised and disappointed at how few execs in the games industry have a clue about game development). Anyway, all that aside we wish him luck in the new role as the industry is in a funny place at the moment.

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