Kits: Shizuoka Hobby Show 2013
This year's Shizuoka Hobby Show is under way and as always it has a huge amount of new model kits on display. With Hasegawa's new Myzr Eta kit (shown above) from Virtual...
News: Masou Kishin III Valsione Bonus
In the upcoming Masou Kishin III players will be given a special bonus code in the initial run of the game. This will give a different version of Valsione as seen in the...
This has been going the rounds as of late, as it seems that a live action Gaiking is in production. The teaser trailer shows that, much like Michael Bay’s recent Transformers films, this Gaiking remake is massively over detailing its designs. The reasoning behind this is obviously because some muppet thinks that this makes the mecha look more realistic; the problem is that they picked Gaiking.
Gaiking is a super robot with MASSIVE horns on its head and a giant mouth in its chest. I mean, honestly, it’s hardly a realistic place to start. Yet going to all that realistic detail in the cockpit and all the visual kibble adorning the mecha’s body is utterly missing the point. At least with the recent animated sequel a few years back they managed to at least get the tone right. This just looks very silly, simply because it’s taking itself desperately seriously. Super robots are meant to be preposterous fun, making them realistic just makes it all very dull.
Gaiking was also one of the mecha mecha in the Shogun Warriors toys/comics line. These were basically a means to sell totally disparate Japanese mecha toys from separate series all under one line back in the late 70s and early 80s (a bit like a super robot version of Robotech). The only heartwarming thought about all this is that Go Nagaimight get to finally see some Gaiking royalties if this is actually made.
The original Gaiking and its recent sequel have also been featured in numerous Super Robot Wars games over the years. Our personal favourites are Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 and Super Robot Wars K. Both games come highly recommended.
A few places have been covering the recent release of the Metal Composite Gundam Unicorn toy as of late. Despite being a remarkable piece of engineering, some inevitable comparison shots between this toy and the previously released 1/100 scale Master Grade kit have surfaced. Now, before your brain melts out the side of your head, the Master Grade is on the left and the new Metal Composite toy is on the right. The fact that they look nigh on identical is testament to the technological advances Japanese toy production has made in the last decade. Bear in mind that the kit on the left would have had to be assembled and painted by hand, whereas a factory produced toy – which has a diecast endo-skeleton no less – looks just as good out of the box. This is why the Metal Composite toy also costs in the range of 18,000 yen but unlike a kit you can actually play with a toy without it breaking. In short this looks like the ultimate incarnation of Hajime Katoki’s brilliant design and is well worth grabbing before it goes out of stock. The Unicorn was also featured in Gundam vs Gundam Next Plus, a game we enjoyed quite a fair bit in our review.
At the recent Tokyo International Anime Fair a rather interesting new anime series, called Kihei Senki Legacies, was announced. Now, we know this is primarily a mecha gaming website – so why cover an anime series announcement?
Well, the first reason is that the mecha design is being helmed by Kunio Okawara. The granddady of real robot mecha design and a designer that has worked on numerous mecha games over the years. The second reason is down to the narrative premise of Legacies; as the series’ protagonist is an ardent gamer and as such is ideally equipped to pilot the Omega 99 pictured above (which looks like an interesting fusion of Gundam and Patlabor design sensibilities, with a dash of Mr. T thrown in for good measure).
Now this is not the first time a mecha gaming nerd has fronted an anime like this, as Overman King Gainer did it not that long ago. What’s interesting about all this is that gaming is entering more into the world of mecha anime, as it’s normally the other way around – with games referencing anime based functionality to form the base rulesets for the mecha.
The TV series is planned to have a 52 episode run and there’s no word on a release date as yet.
A very entrepreneurial Japanese modeller, by the name of ostraking, has managed to inject a selection of lights into the various Kotobukiya and Hasegawa Virtual On model kits. From the Type 94 Temjin from Fragmentary Passage, based off the MBV-04-G Temjin kit from Kotobukiya, to the HBV-502H8 Raiden from Oratan (also from the Kotobukiya line). What’s impressive about these is that much of the surface light sources in the games aren’t easily backlit in a real world kit, this is especially true of the Fei-Yen from Force that has very flat skirt sections – something ostraking has handled with great skill.
As per the recent column on the official Japanese Oratan 5.66 site, it turns out that the game will be receiving a pretty decent price drop. From 1200 MS points to 800, however this is only from March 30th until April 6th (as it’s part of Microsoft’s Deal of the Week scheme apparently). At present this price drop is for the Japanese release only, the column also apologises for the lack of updates recently – which is rather sweet really.
Update: It’s been confirmed that the price drop for Oratan 5.66 will coming to the West as well.
Made by a nice chap called gevurah22, it features Char Aznable’s iconic red MS-06S Zaku II along with the English version of Char’s theme tune Char ga Kuru (or “Here comes Char”), which does hurt the ears somewhat. All within the cute confines of Little Big Planet no less. It even features some of the Blue Destiny mobile suits. Anyway, the video of it in action is linked below.
Nabeshima talks more about AC5′s change in functional approach, emphasising that the game will be more about tactics and using the geography of level rather than high-speed finger work. This harks back more to the original PSone games, especially the first, as many levels were set within city type environments and were more tactical as a consequence (the reduced size of the AC’s is also to do with this too apparently, as it would make it far easier to take cover). The other interesting element is that apparently you won’t just view your AC from behind and that you will have some form of camera control. Apart from that, the approach they’re taking is one of coarse realism and that you’ll have to “think” more in combat. The narrative will mirror this too apparently, as the characterisation won’t be simply friend or foe but instead more grounded and realistic. Again, like the older games, they’ve opted to keep the characters “faceless” so much of this will be inferred through dialogue and in-game text. This doesn’t really bode well for a Western release, as this kind of narrative has never been localised properly in terms of the series’ history.
As for the two designers, Masahiro worked on Chrome Hounds and is helming the main mechanical design of AC5 (as we suspected, as he is an internal designer). Whereas Satake is assisting him and comes from working on both Nexus and Ninebreaker (interestingly he designed the Mayfly head that adorns the new Nineball on the cover of Ninebreaker), they both also recently worked on Demon’s Souls. Over the years they’ve penned multiple designs for the Armored Core games as well, which helps to explain why Shoji Kawamori’s involvement was scaled back after Silent Line and why parts began to look more angular. They also talk a fair bit about how the realism in AC5 is dictating the design of the respective parts, citing a new revolver hand gun and vertical missile launcher. In any case, having a mecha desginer from Chrome Hounds and his assistant who contributed to Metal Wolf Chaos can only bode well for AC5, as those designs were truly exemplary and fit the new realistically grounded approach that seems to be the new direction for Armored Core as a whole.
This is one of those things you just don’t think will ever happen: Tail Concerto, a mecha platformer on the original PlayStation with a cult following, is apparently getting a sequel (of sorts) entitled Solarobo Sore Kara Coda E for the Nintendo DS (made by none other than CyberConnect2, the developers behind the .hack and recent Naruto games – not to mention being the team behind the original Tail Concerto).
The original Tail Concerto was extremely cute and what we know about Solarobo so far suggests that the game is going to be taking place in an equally cartoonish world, full of talking cats and dogs, so those of you expecting to go on a grimdark cyberpunk mecha adventure on your Nintendo DS might need to rein in your expectations a bit. However, the artwork and screenshots (kindly ignore the huge splash image there) we’ve seen are good enough for me to temporarily cast aside my general rule against Talking Humanoid Animals (Who Aren’t Also Ninjas).
While the cute look might turn some people off, the original Tail Concerto is generally well-regarded as a good, if a bit short and simple mecha game and I for one welcome different kinds of art styles within the mecha genre. If only because with different art styles come drastically different rule sets, which add vitality to the very specific genre of ‘mecha games’. Sometimes, playing as a bubble-shooting steambot mecha piloted by a canine cop is just what you need between bouts of emotionally-sensitive teenagers inexplicably in control of billion-dollar pieces of military hardware to keep the mind fresh.
A bunch of new screenshots for Front Mission Evolved have been going the rounds, coupled with the semi-updated dev diaries we clearly have a PR campaign in its latter stages on our hands. Admittedly, there are still no actual release dates as yet but with box shots getting previewed it’s obvious we have a release fairly imminent. Naturally, we’ll be the reviewing the game once its out – so keep an eye out for that. In any case, we’ve linked the other screenshots below and whilst they show the game has come along a fair bit, they still don’t look that amazing really. Anyway, see what you think.