News: Gundam Side Stories DLC Update
Over the last two weeks, a large number of new Gundam Side Stories DLC has been released by Bandai Namco. Last week saw the release of the RGM-79N GM Custom and RGC-83...
Toys: DX Chogokin YF-30 Review
For those that are interested, we've recently reviewed the DX Chogokin YF-30 Chronos from the PS3 game Macross 30 over at HobbyLink.tv (in addition to a small unboxing...
What with the launch of Gundam Musou 3 around the corner, 4Gamer have a nice bit of coverage for the game’s pre-launch ceremony. From the announcement of background online matchmaking (where players can battle away in the story only to have the game seeking online gamers to help them out), to the unsurprising reveal of forthcoming DLC. The latter will feature two mobile suits, the GNX-Y901TW Susanowo (piloted by one MISTAH BUSHIDO) and the NZ-666 Kshatriya, as well as maybe a new level or two. Pricing and release dates for the DLC haven’t been finalised as yet though. The really classy aspect of the event was how Bandai had rolled out Harutoshi Fukui – author of the original novels – to help pimp the various Gundam Unicorn awesomeness that will be in the game. In the meantime, enjoy some more videos of the game in action.
Following on from the recently released trailer, 4Gamer have done a good breakdown of Another Century’s Episode Portable’s new customisation setup. To not mislead anyone, this customisation is by no means like something akin to Armored Core let’s say, instead it’s more of an extended version of the module setup seen in the previous games. Whilst modules were something that could be used mid-mission, such as replenishing health, the new weapon panels will have a more combat orientated and immediate focus (rather than tucked away in the pause menu). In that, you can now equip new and custom weapon panels that give units a new ability. These are also built from Chips that can be combined in various configurations. All of these are unlocked by defeating enemies in missions. Each unit also has a Capacity limitation in terms of the panels that can be equipped, this can be increased by upgrading the unit’s parameters with ACE points (the latter being a staple from the previous ACE games). In any case, all this sounds pretty interesting and we’re curious to see how all this will work in game.
Some sad news: in-browser game site InstantAction is now dead. The site had been closed for quite a while, promising a relaunch of the service with brand new features (including a browser version of the much-beloved Tribes) but after months of waiting we find out not only are those new features not coming, but neither are the original games returning either.
The greatest loss here is easily Fallen Empires: Legions, an amazing 3D browser game that was superficially similar to Tribes, but with the jetpacks an order of magnitude more powerful and with a corresponding increase in the speed of gameplay. There’s nothing quite like the exhilarating feeling you get from flying over a hill at 100 miles per hour and carefully landing on your opponent’s base, and now it’s likely you won’t ever get the chance to experience it.
On the brighter side of things, there’s a fan group attempting to get Legions back into action, and although the demise of InstantAction means the browser version of Tribes will likely never become a reality, this freed up the Tribes license for the developers of Global Agenda to work on an MMOG FPS based on the property.
So while Fallen Empires: Legions and the browser-based Tribes game might be out of the equation, we’ve got a MMOG version of Tribes on the horizon as well as the Tribes-inspired Firefall coming. Instead of the return of two older games, we have two new games about supersoldiers with mecha backpacks to look forward to–a fair trade if you ask me.
The upcoming Another Century’s Episode Portable has finally had its first trailer released. Despite the somewhat typical grand tour of the game’s menu system, the rest of the trailer shows actual in-game footage. The latter is potentially quite reassuring as it at least appears that the new PSP game is returning to how the awesome PS2 games operated. Especially when it came to boosting and how that interlinked with the combat. After the disappointing ACE:R, we’re now actually hopeful that the PSP game will be pretty decent. The game is released January 13th next year for 6,279 yen and you can pre-order it here.
It seems mecha games have gotten one last hurrah out of the Nintendo DS with the release of the eagerly anticipated action RPG Solatorobo. No word yet on whether the game will get a Western localization, but since we’ve seen Solatorobo in French there is certainly reason to be cautiously optimistic.
It’s interesting to note that for what is likely considered to be a longshot in the games industry these days–Solatorobo not being a direct sequel to a well-known property nor being a cash-in on another successful game’s genre–Solatorobo had quite an advertising campaign associated with it, with no less than one hundred commercials being played on a single TV station, all within eight hours. That’s one hundred different commercials, mind you.
If you’re as incredulous as I was, you can check the official website and watch all 100. They spend a large portion of that airtime fleshing out the game’s world, talking about the kinds of foods that dog and cat people eat and the kinds of shoes they wear, in case you ever had questions about dog and cat people living in Victorian-era floating islands but were always too afraid to ask. It’s a rare glimpse into a fully realized world, rather than the usual slapping together of standardized video game and anime tropes, and it’s amazing (and perhaps slightly frightening) how much work CyberConnect2 put into making the world of Solatorobo feel alive. I find myself wishing that developers of “open world” style games put that much thought into their releases.
If you, for some reason, still prefer your trailers to focus on the actual game, you can see a quite nice one here.
4Gamer has a a pretty epic selection of new screenshots for the upcoming Gundam Musou 3. In addition to the new four player online co-op, the game will also feature one of our favourite new mobile suit designs; that of the MSN-06S Sinanju, pictured above, from the amazing Gundam Unicorn (a series you can watch in very pretty HD via the PSN store on the PS3 no less). The game is still scheduled for a December 16th release in Japan and whilst there’s no official word on a Western release, it is highly likely as the last two games also made the jump abroad just fine.
At the 27th Kanazawa Model Exhibition a fair few toys and kits have surfaced. From more Border Break kits to Armored Core as well as a nice little set of new gashapon (which we mentioned a while back). Even seeing the Flintlock from the classic Xexex also cheered us up. However, the big show stopper was the appearance of the AS-5E3 Leynos kit from the genre defining Assault Suits Leynos (aka: Target Earth). The manufacturer behind this suitably regal kit is that of Plum, who’ve also handled the recent Silpheed and Darius Burst kits. What’s different and impressive here though is that this is the first mecha kit the company have made. That said, judging from some of their blog entries, the sculpt and articulation look absolutely bloody amazing. No word on a price or a release date but this is a kit that is made from the purest of DO WANT!
Update: GA Graphic has a nice article on the kit as well, with some cool close up shots.
Over at Anime News Network they have a fascinating video tour around Satelight Inc., this being the Japanese animation studio where Kawamori Shouji is the executive director. Unsurprisingly, the studio’s credits are pretty long but what’s especially interesting is when the video linked above hits the 15 minute mark. This is when we get to see the functional side of mechanical design and that for the latest VF-25 variable fighters in Macross Frontier, Kawamori opted to literally block out the mecha in Lego and then work with a 3D artist/animator to fine tune it. This being especially important as the design would later go on to be used in both toy and kit form, so planning out the transformation in real world detail would obviously be a big deal. The reason why we thought this was pertinent on a mecha gaming site, despite the obvious linkages to Kawamori’s work in games, is that designing mecha (especially of the real robot variety) is a very functional endeavour. Whilst mecha need to look captivating, their primary purpose is actually based around discreet and specific functions. Basically, mecha design is at its core about what that mecha will do and not so much about what it will look like. Such an approach is one that has fundamental linkages to how games are designed; as planning out the basic rule sets of what the player has to work within, as in what they can do, is crucially important and still takes (initial) precedence over how pretty the game is. This is why (good) real robot mecha designers often add a functional grounding to (good) mecha games, something that Kawamori has proven multiple times already during his career.
With the upcoming Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity around the corner, SEGA have teamed up with Studio Gainax to package costumes from both Gurren Lagann and Evangelion. In terms of the latter, players will not only be able to wear the plug suits seen in the series and movies but also wield a human sized Lance of Longinus. However, the coolest addition has to be the Gurren Lagann “suit” that male characters will be able to wear (along with a Giga Drill and Gurren Boomerang). Whilst the Evangelion tie-up is by no means a new one, the Gurren Lagann one is. In any case, the game will be piercing the heavens (as in released) on November 24th for 5,040 yen.