News: Gundam Side Stories Ez8 DLC Released
Following on from the somewhat improved set of DLC for Gundam Side Stories, there's now a new mobile suit out. Specifically that of the mighty RX-79[G]Ez-8 Gundam Ez8...
One of the largest Perfect Grade kits has finally been released, that of the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam from Gundam SEED Destiny. Coming in at a whopping 26,250 yen, like the other Perfect Grades it’s hardly very affordable. However, this price tag isn’t without reason; as the sheer engineering involved in the manufacturing of these plamodel beasts is suitably epic. Unsurprisingly, this mobile suit has been in numerous games over the years and the upcoming Gundam Musou 3 will also feature the mecha. As with almost all Bandai Gundam kits, Hajime Katoki has a hand in the sculpt and engineering. This can sometimes cause issues with the sculpt on certain designs (original design here), as he has a habit of somewhat standardising them. The Strike Freedom seems to be mostly okay on this front though. In any case, you can buy this impressive kit over at HLJ and they’re even holding a Perfect Grade sale too.
With Gundam Musou 3 near release in Japan, 4Gamer has some cool new screenshots of the game’s Partner Strike system as well mobile suit customisation. Though we’re mostly nerding out on the shots for the RX-78GP01-Fb Gundam Full Vernian “Zephyranthes” from Gundam 0083 (pictured above). Despite being one of our favourite Shoji Kawamori designs it’s also been somewhat in the news as of late, mostly due to Linkin Park’s fascination with the mobile suit. Unsurprisingly, the game’s site has also reciprocated this current interest with showing a new special video of the mobile suit. Naturally, as this is Gundam 0083 we’ve included the series’ two very lovely opening animations (in HD no less) below. That said, we still think that Back to Paradise would have been a better intro song.
4Gamer has announced that it will be hosting an interview session of sorts with the team behind the 360 port of Virtual On Force as well as with Juro Watari, the series’ creator, himself. The session is scheduled for 26th December, which also happens to be my birthday. Whilst the pimping of the upcoming, and utterly redundant, Softbank strategy guide is unfortunate the radio session should be an interesting – unless of course they start talking about how great women’s breasts are again. The game is released on December 22nd in Japan and you can pre-order it here.
With the launch of Gundam Musou 3 literally days away now, the official site has been stepping up with semi-regular video vignettes. Entitled Specials these show around 30 seconds of gameplay footage of a certain mobile suit pretty much owning small armies of enemy mecha. We’ve collated a few of them below, including the latest one – that of the Syd Mead designed CONCEPT-X 6-1-2 Turn X from Turn A Gundam. Enjoy!
To commemorate the forthcoming release of Virtual On Force, the 360 port of Oratan 5.66 is having its price cut in Japan. Specifically from 1200 MSP to a very reasonable 400 MSP. Like the previous price cut, this too will be for a limited time only – from December 14th to the 27th. There’s no word whether this deal will make its way outside of Japan, as the timing is linked to Force’s Japanese release.
4Gamer has a cool and nerdy lowdown on Virtual On Force’s various options. From the ability to switch “seats”, which produces a differently styled hud (a la Oratan). Though the coolest option has to be the ability to switch between the music libraries for all three arcade games, including the original Virtual On. The official site also has had a funky update too, where it has a video of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi singing “Conquista Ciela” (shown below) and a sample version of the Chronicle artbook packaged with the Memorial Box. What’s particularly amazing about the latter is that it shows a lot of previously unseen design sketches by Hajime Katoki. That alone is worth the asking price in our opinion.
Famitsu have got the scoop that another Artdink developed Macross game is on its way to the PSP. Entitled Macross Triangle Frontier it will follow on from the last game, Macross Ultimate Frontier. This game also looks to have a more fleshed out Macross II campaign as well as a new Academy mode (the latter will be a bit like a stripped down dating sim). Though we’re most excited by the addition of the EX-Gears from Macross Frontier (pictured above). In addition, the game will also have a separate bundle pack with a UMD movie of the recent Macross Frontier movie, The False Songstress. For those wondering what’s happened to the full blown PS3 game in the wake of Macross Trial Frontier, no news on that as yet. Though this PSP game will pre-date the release of the second Frontier movie and it’s likely that Bandai will try and sync the PS3 game with the Blu-Ray/DVD release in the latter half of 2011. In anycase, this PSP game is set for a February 3rd 2011 release in Japan.
Third-person (third-robot?) action MMO CosmicBreak has announced that its final beta test will begin on December 16th and this will transition directly into official service, with no data wipe between. The makers of CosmicBreak have also announced a browser-based strategy game based on the CosmicBreak universe, CosmicCommander, which while still in a rough alpha condition is giving access to those who register for the CosmicBreak beta.
CosmicBreak still appears to be free to play, with the profit coming from the common “cash shop” method, so with that and the low system requirements hopefully this game sees some play. The game has been in various betas for a while now and it’s good to see the game finally get an official release, rather than falling into development hell. Screenshots and videos of CosmicBreak are a bit deceptive, as while the game mechanics look very much “MMO” in nature where tweaked stats triumph over good gameplay and the player merely targets an enemy to attack, the controls are very similar to most mecha games, albeit a tad simplified, and rather than equipment being the deciding factor, it’s the pilot that makes the real difference.
CosmicBreak is also getting a single-player mode, which will be a help to people who want to practice the game without feeling pressure being either in a co-operative or competitive environment, which is something I personally feel massively multiplayer games ignore at their own peril, because it makes it all too easy for the newcomer to feel overwhelmed by the professionals.
The graphics are a bit more cutesy than I’d like but there is a good mix between the standard mechanical robots and the mecha musume girls running around the place, and there’s nothing stopping you from picking only the mechs and declaring a war on robot girls with skirts much too short. The cutesy graphics also have an upside in that the system requirements are fairly low; I haven’t seen a laptop that can’t run CosmicBreak and if I could deal with a jittery 15 frames per second I could even play on my piddly netbook.
The game has a few different modes, the most notable one that works as a proto-roguelike, where a single person or team venture into a series of instanced dungeons looking for loot and an exit to the next level of the instance, with the caveat that they need to reach the end of the dungeon to keep most of the loot they’ve required. You’re always tempted to grab just a few more items before heading on, and with a group you constantly have to make triage decisions about whether to risk a friend dying for just a bit more lucre. I’d give CosmicBreak a try for that game mode alone.
CyberStep has also announced a new game currently in the alpha stage of development called CosmicCommander, a browser-based strategy game featuring the same robots and universe as CosmicBreak. The trailer they’ve sent out seems to imply a mix of Ogre Battle and Super Robot Wars Z, and registering for CosmicBreak seems to get you access to a limited time alpha test of CosmicCommander, with the promise of goodies earned in CosmicCommander transferring back to CosmicBreak in a powerful gattai of marketing synergy. Hopefully we will have some first hand impressions to give you of CosmicCommander, as my college Grade Point Average shuffles off to a corner and shoots itself. If any of you are interested, use the comments section below to talk about doing a Mecha Damashii group when CosmicBreak opens back up, as we take the war to the Cleavage-Showing False Mecha. Steel is strong, flesh is weak! Thou shalt not suffer cute robot girls to live!