Toys: 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...
The moderately fourth wall breaking Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders Beginning G OVA has finally had its first few episodes released. Despite being a bit “we put a Gundam show in a Gundam show so you can watch your Gundam show while you watch a Gundam show” the slightly awesome sight of seeing a pimped out Senjou no Kizuna cabinet used as a full blown linear seat is rather impressive. In terms of the show’s narrative setup, the arcade cabinets are the means by which Gunpla builders spar with one another. Using a Haro styled 3D imager, the tech then attributes abilities based off the kit. It’s a bit like Barcode Battlers in a way but with Gundam kits and insane arcade gaming production values. To be fair we’re not far off making an arcade game that works like this, but if the 3D imager could also detect colour I reckon we’d see a lot more red painted Gunpla – for the obvious stat boost. The first episode is shown below (unsubbed) and you can buy the kit of the Beginning Gundam, featured in the show, here. It’s also worth pointing out that the area where most of the combat scenes are set is actually around Shizuoka, where the full scale Gundam is based.
It seems that Artdink have finally decided to release Carnage Heart EXA online via the PlayStation Store. This doesn’t preclude the boxed version of the game though, as that will also come packaged with the game’s soundtrack. This download version, minus the soundtrack obviously, is also a fair bit cheaper than the boxed variant too; coming in at a very reasonable 4,700 yen (1,100 yen cheaper than the boxed copy). Both versions of the game will be released October 28th and there’s still no word on a Western release as yet.
We meant to cover this earlier, but the much anticipated Gundam Extreme Versus was released a few weeks ago in Japan. Following up on its success, the game will also have a Gundam Vs Mobile element that will allow players to theme the HUD of the game. In addition, on the 27th October, a new EX Scene level will become available featuring the GF13-001NHII Master Gundam as an antagonist and subsequently as a playable unit too. 4Gamer has some nice shots of these updates in case you’re curious. No word on a console release as yet but expect something in the New Year in terms of an announcement apparently.
What with the release of Super Robot Wars L very near now, the longer and more interesting promo videos start getting distributed to Japanese stores. Thankfully, these also get uploaded online. This latest promo for the game goes through many of the notable signature attacks from the various series the game features. From the pretty bloody amazing Great Mazinger and Mazinkaiser cutscenes, to the less great Gundam Wing Endless Waltz re-hashes, the game covers the gamut in terms of animation quality (or lack thereof). Of all the units we’re most interested in though, it would have to be those from Iczer-1 and Iczer 3; as they warm the cockles of our 80′s heart. The full promo is shown below and you can pre-order the game here.
There’s now a full size FF-X7 Core Fighter from the first Mobile Suit Gundam anime series and movies, as the 9 metre model is part of the Hobby Museum at the Shizuoka Hobby Fair (which runs until March 27th in case you’re wondering). Unsurprisingly, this core fighter is meant as a companion piece of sorts to the full scale RX-78-2 Gundam nearby (the one we visited not that long ago in case you’re wondering). This version of the core fighter is the one from the end of the series and movies, which is why it’s so battered. The video of it at the Hobby Fair is shown below.
We will be reviewing the recently released Front Mission Evolved but we’ve been somewhat delayed with other things recently, which is why the review has been late in coming. In the meantime, enjoy the picture above (courtesy of Persona) where Chirico Cuvie is displaying the same kind of feelings we have towards the game (something that shouldn’t be too surprising if you’ve read our impressions from TGS).
When the Xbox Live Indie Games service was first announced, it was hoped that lowering the normally draconian barrier of entry for developing on a console would allow small, independent teams to create an explosion of creativity not bound down by the corporate world. Despite the initial optimism, the XBLIG section proved to be as much of a curse as it was a blessing, because for each title that was genuinely worth taking a look at, there were nine titles that were either shoddily put together by amateurs or simple, exploitative cash-ins on other creative concepts or even just sex appeal, and the only users who browsed the XBLIGs were the truly adventurous, willing to wade through a cesspool of human waste to get the rare nugget of gold.
Appropriate then that Explosionade is a game where you find gold hidden in sewers, because it is one of the few games that justify the continued existence of XBLIGs. The principle behind the indie games movement was that developers not chained to the high stakes world of initial public offerings and demographics research would be able to create innovative games that users would want to play, rather than what users had proven in the past that they would be willing to play, and finally there is a mecha game on the XBLIG service that proves the indie movement right, because Explosionade is a love letter to the great 2D SNES mecha sidescrollers that adds just enough new gameplay mechanics to make it its own beast.
It’s also only 80 Microsoft Points, which translates to $1 in Real World American Currency, which also makes it the cheapest mecha game you can buy. I don’t know how some of the other authors on the Indie Games service sleep at nights knowing that Mommy’s Best Games’ Explosionade is both better and cheaper than their shovelware, but it likely involves soft beds made out of money. Should you buy Explosionade? It would probably cost you more money to keep yourself alive while reading this review than it would to go and purchase the game immediately, so “Yes.” You can still read the review, though. I worked awful hard on it.
4Gamer has some very extensive coverage for the upcoming Carnage Heart EXA. Despite the large amount of pictures that show off the suitably intense OKE programming setup, the update also talks a lot about the increased complexity of the chips themselves and how this will (hopefully) create more interesting and capable OKEs. Whilst the chip area won’t be increased over Carnage Heart Portable, the increase in chip number is something that should make the game considerably more intricate and deep. Following on from this will be a SATLOKE service hosted by Artdink – this will allow players to upload and download user created OKE data from their servers (similar to the original Formula World for the original Armored Core Formula Front). Unsurprisingly, this will help the resurgent Carnage Heart community spar with their respective OKEs. Other interesting tidbits of note, are that Artdink aren’t sure whether a download version of the game will be made on release and that they are thinking of DLC content but don’t have any specifics to divulge at present. There’s still no word of a Western release for this but considering Carnage Heart Portable didn’t receive one either, a localised released of EXA is pretty unlikely. That said, Artdink are handling this new game (Not Genki), so we could end up seeing EXA released abroad. In any case, the Japanese release is still on track for the October 28th for 5,880 yen. You can also pre-order the game here.
Over at the official SRW blog, series producer Takanobu Terada has divulged the fact that ACE:P was developed alongside ACE:R. This isn’t overly surprising in the current climate; as why fund one PS3 game properly when you could siphon some of the funds to make a cut-down PSP game too. What’s more worrying about this though is that ACE:P will share much of the functional setup as seen in its bigger brother ACE:R (hardware changes notwithstanding obviously). This doesn’t really bode well, as much of ACE:R’s consumer based ire was linked to how functionally awkward the series had become (relative to the PS2 versions) – something that has directly and negatively affected the retail price of the game. This sounds like ACE:P will fly very much in the face of that, without any real concessions to appease a disgruntled customer base. Terada also goes on to talk about how the mission progression has changed to allow casual play now, rather than the larger investment of time a scenario mode would have required. Overall though, we were more upbeat about this entry into the ACE series but these new revelations don’t exactly fill us with confidence. We’ll know for sure come January next year though.
For those that read this site much, you’ll know that from the site’s logo above to this interview; we’re fans of Junji Okubo’s work. Despite being a fiendishly talented mecha designer, he’s also a proper old school shmup fan. Years ago he used to have an Eightbit Fighters site, where he showed renders of classic shmup ships from the 8bit era of gaming. What was and still is remarkable about that was how he forced himself to focus on the original 8bit pixel art as his sole reference – extrapolating the remainder himself. There’s hardcore and then’s there’s just plain awesome, Junji falls squarely into the latter category. Well, it seems that Attract Mode have his first Eightbit Fighters Chronicles volume in stock (for only $20 too!), collating all his wonderful renders from his website into a very shiny book. So pick it up now whilst you still can.