Toys: Metal Robot Damashii Hi-Nu Gundam
Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan we've been sent the Metal Robot Damashii Hi-Nu Gundam as seen in the novel Beltorchika's Children (one of the adaptations...
The surprisingly decent Steel Chronicle will be receiving a new update today. Not only including new mecha, from high mobility and heavy firepower types, to all manner of balancing changes. We did get a chance to play this last year and whilst it’s no Border Break, it’s actually pretty good nonetheless. Definitely inspired by Border Break, it also has a strong Monster Hunter and Phantasy Star Online vibe about it too. No word of a console release but it’s at least making money for Konami. If you’re curious about seeing the game in action and don’t mind excitable Japanese narration then Konami have uploaded a bunch of HD videos of the game for your enjoyment.
Few of the Super Robot Wars games have had a continued and concise narrative arc. Starting in 2000, the Alpha trilogy took five years to run its course. With the finale being nothing short of epic, as it had one of the largest ever series rosters at the time (a whopping 33 series in total) and contained the most potent of all super robots; Ideon.
That wasn’t all either, Alpha 3 was the first Super Robot Wars game to feature mecha from another gaming franchise. With the mighty virtuaroids from Virtual On Oratorio Tangram and Virtual On Marz present in the game, the overall mix was a very interesting and most definitely a diverse one. All that aside, Alpha 3 remains to this day as one of the greatest Super Robot Wars ever made.
Hot on the heels of their massive Metal Gear Rex replica is an equally impressive Metal Gear Ray from the same craftsmen at threeA. It was first publicly unveiled a few weeks back, at a showcase in Hong Kong, alongside upcoming figures for Halo and Portal.
But it was difficult to get a real sense of Ray’s size, though the safe bet was that he’s just as huge as Rex (if not more so.) So thanks to close up pics, via Kojima’s Twitter, we finally have a better idea. Mostly due to Square Enix’s Play Arts Kai Gray Fox, which stands close by and offers a true sense of scale. Anyone familiar with that figure knows already how big it is, so seeing it appear relatively diminutive speaks volumes.
Details are scant, other than what the pictures tell us. Like how its mouth can open; it remains to be see if he’ll shoot water, which was a primary means of offense in Metal Gear Solid 2. Ray is also without a tail, a key defining trait of the mass production unit. Perhaps one will be included in the final package, which can be applied at will? Like the battle scars that one can apparently adorn Rex, according to previous pictures.
No word yet on availability or price, but it appears to be coming along just swimmingly, and will more than likely have the same $500 or so price tag as its predecessor. Even though Rex is the most popular among Metal Gear diehards, Ray has plenty of fans nonetheless, who would be more than willing to give it a home as well. Provided that they’ve managed to pay his older brother off at that point. Also, Arsenal Gear next, please.
At the recent Zone of the Enders event, commemorating the forthcoming release of the HD edition, a new game was announced. This is the same game that’s been in pre-production for years but was held back on the grounds that Konami didn’t think it would make its money back (the first two games barely did and those had far smaller teams than this will need). Now that a veritable cluster fuck of marketing and game releases awaits, it seems that Konami are more keen to take a risk with a new game in the series. Bizarrely, the mecha design has taken a turn for the organic. In many ways the new Jehuty (shown rather gloomily above) is stylistically reminiscent of Takayuki Takeya’s work. Especially when you think of his gruesomely beautiful Lord of Byston Well sculpts. Thankfully, Hideo Kojima posted some better shots of the maquette here, here and here. The really bizarre thing is that the in-game models are actually being scanned off these real world maquettes, which is a pretty big snub to the art team really. The big thing for us though is that the whole pseudo-organic route has been done to death before. What made the original mecha designs so compelling were because nobody had ever designed mecha like that before. This feels a bit dull and safe by comparison. In addition to all this sequel excitement, the HD edition is indeed looking very lovely and a box set edition will also include a BluRay of the Idolo prequel OVA that was released way back with the first game. No word on release date or systems as yet and the game is currently being called the “Enders Project”. However, the HD edition will be finally released this year on October 25th.
As previously mentioned, the Mamoru Oshii directed live action trailer for Steel Battalion Heavy Armor received its first preview. Naturally this pretty much shows Oshii’s predilection towards gratuitous gun porn. Following on from this there’s now also a rather blandly narrated “how to” trailer on the game. As always this doesn’t fill us with confidence as the game is increasingly looking like a pile of steaming bobbins. Either way, we’ll know for sure come the end of June when the game is finally released.
In a nice new update on May 29th, Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost will have the suitably villainous CB-0000G/C Reborns Gundam added to the playable roster. Due to its Tau drive config, it can only activate its Trans-Am system once. Though we still love the fact that Ribbons Allmark’s voice actor was none other than Tohru Furuya. Basically this chap has been the iconic voice of Amuro Ray in the classic Gundam series, so to have him play the villain in a new Gundam series was really rather delicious. Separately, when Ribbons and Amuro face off in the recent Saisei-hen they have some pretty cool dialogue together too (as it’s the same actor). In any case, the Reborns Gundam was always a potent unit and it’s no surprise that it has the 3000 point cost tag in Full Boost.
In a recent Tweet, Yuji Korekado posted a new screenshot from the Zone of the Enders HD Collection. From the second game Anubis it shows the early boss fight with Ardjet. As you can see above, it looks pretty good. This is also from a forthcoming demo meant for the event on the 25th and they are almost trying to recreate the same setup as was seen in the TGS 2002 demo (this was later included in the very nice Anubis artbook). It’s also worth clarifying that this version of the game is not really the same as the one we reviewed. Whilst a few people think our appraisal of the second game is a tad harsh, the review was done back in 2003 on the initial Japanese release. This was a very badly balanced version of the game and suffered lots of problems. Multiple silent revisions followed, culminating in the Special Edition. The latter is a very different game functionally and one day we’ll hopefully get around to covering that version in a new review (as we like it a lot more).
This year’s Shizuoka Hobby Show is now in full swing. Among the many new items shown, with a mention of a Kagekiyo kit being pretty cool, is the reveal of Yamato’s next 1/60 scale variable fighter toy. Specifically that of the VF-4G Lightning III. The mecha itself has an interesting history, as it was originally (though very briefly) shown as a toy in the original Macross TV series. A more substantial display was then later included within Macross Flashback 2012. In both instances though the mecha was only shown in fighter mode. For years this produced all manner of speculation as to its transformation sequence, as well as what the battroid mode would actually look like. In 1995 the questions were answered as the variable fighter was featured (fully transformable) in Macross Digital Mission VF-X. Whilst the game was a steaming pile of bobbins (despite having a damn sexy intro) it did at least lay much of the fan inquiry to rest. Since then, the VF-4 has been a staple of pretty much every Macross game since. All that aside though, it’s one of our favourite designs from Macross and we’re so very happy that Yamato are doing the decent thing and making a toy out of it. No word or pricing or release date as yet but considering that the VF-4 was operationally rolled out in the Macross timeline around September 2012, expect Yamato to try and hit that date. Yamato also have a very nice page detailing the toy’s engineering in regards to its transformation. If you want to have a look at the rest of what the hobby show has on offer, then feast your eyes on this, this and this.
Following the new promo for Gundam Battle Operation, we now have a new update with some new screenshots as well as the slew of fixes on account of the recent closed beta. One of the most important of these obviously being the improving of the game’s netcode in order to reduce lag. On top of this there are all manner of gameplay tweaks and balances mention, with the slightly floppy grapple being firmed up and more immediate being notable. Despite being free to play, they’re really making an effort to make the game more palatable to its (Japanese) audience, as well as openly communicate that. That in itself is reassuring. Still no word of the game’s release date though, bar sometime at the end of June.
In a move that’s more than a little bit uplifting, Capcom it seems haven’t entirely abandoned the Lost Planet series. A new Capcom developed cel shaded and anime styled game called E.X. Troopers has been announced. Both 4Gamer and Famitsu have the scoop, along with a nice promo trailer (shown below). Functionally it looks a bit more arcadey in places, with the player dashing around a bit now, but it’s still very much a Lost Planet game. Especially as many recognisable Akrid are present not to mention the all important Vital Suits. Released on both PS3 and 3DS, the game will also be playable at this year’s Capcom Summer Jam. Interestingly, Shintaro Kojima (the game’s producer) also worked on the Monster Hunter series so expect even more of that type of functionality in this game. It also seems that May’n, of Macross Frontier fame, will involved musically too. In any case, our faith in Lost Planet has been reaffirmed and we can’t wait for this when it’s released later this year.