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News: Gundam Breaker 2 Boss UpdateNews: Gundam Breaker 2 Boss Update In a recent update covering the forthcoming Gundam Breaker 2, we get to see all manner of new bosses. Such as the Adrastrea from Victory Gundam (as shown above). Bandai...

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News: Gundam licensed by Right StufNews: Gundam licensed by Right Stuf In a surprising turn of events, it looks like Right Stuf have brokered a deal with Sunrise to bring Gundam to the West. The first series of which being Turn A Gundam,...

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Toys: Robot Damashii God GundamToys: Robot Damashii God Gundam Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent a toy from Mobile Fighter G Gundam to review. Specifically, the Robot Damashii God Gundam that’s on...

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Toys: Robot Damashii Dragonar 1 CustomToys: Robot Damashii Dragonar 1 Custom Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent a toy from Metal Armor Dragonar to review. Specifically, the Robot Damashii Dragonar 1 Custom that’s...

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Toys: Soul of Chogokin Spec Layzner Mark II ReviewToys: Soul of Chogokin Spec Layzner Mark II Review Over at HobbyLink.tv we've reviewed the recent webshop exclusive Soul of Chogokin Spec Layzner Mark II. It's a glorious good toy and likely the nicest one we'll ever get...

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News: Macross Triangle Frontier Update

Posted on : 08-12-2010 | By : | In : News

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Following on from the announcement recently, 4Gamer have some nice coverage of the upcoming Artdink developed Macross Triangle Frontier on PSP. Again, we’re pretty much spooging over the fact that Macross II is getting a campaign and that we get to play with a VF-2SS Valkyrie II again.

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News: Another Oratan 5.66 Price Cut

Posted on : 08-12-2010 | By : | In : News

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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.

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Toys: Robot Damashii Sinanju

Posted on : 05-12-2010 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

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Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent a toy from Gundam Unicorn to review. Specifically, the Robot Damashii Sinanju. In addition, to give the toy some context, we’ve also linked some gameplay footage of it in action from Gundam Musou 3 and Gundam Extreme Versus at the end of the review.

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News: Virtual On Force Options Update

Posted on : 03-12-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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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.

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News: Macross Triangle Frontier Announced

Posted on : 02-12-2010 | By : | In : News

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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.

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News: CosmicBreak Near Release and CosmicCommander Unveiled

Posted on : 02-12-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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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!

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News: Another Century’s Episode Portable Missions Update

Posted on : 02-12-2010 | By : | In : News

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The upcoming Another Century’s Episode Portable received some new coverage over at 4Gamer that goes into a fair bit of detail on the new sub-mission objectives, secret units and multi-zone fields. The latter splits missions up into areas, which means in multiplayer different players can deal with these different zones independently. To take an area you need to obliterate it’s defending forces, this is a continuation from the field setup seen in ACE3. Some missions will also have secret units appear once certain criteria are met, defeating these will award the player with more ACE points for upgrading units. The sub-mission objectives are additional but optional objectives that can also award the player more ACE points. Finally, the official site was updated with information on new playable units. Amongst these was the 00 Raiser, which adds to the Exia in terms of the Gundam 00 line-up. Considering the unit is notoriously uber it will be interesting to see how it will be handled. The game is still on track for a 13th January 2011 release and you can pre-order it here.

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Reviews: Virtual On (10/10)

Posted on : 30-11-2010 | By : | In : Reviews

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Back in 1995, SEGA were pretty much surfing the crest of success when it came to arcade games. With hardware that antiquated its competitors, the then new Model 2 boards were host to a slew of very impressive games. However, one game in particular wasn’t intended to be just eye candy. A small team at AM3 had ambitions for something more functionally complex and involved. To the extent they wanted to distill the core of real robot mecha combat and make that accessible to gamers at large.

The game they birthed was Virtual On and it was a milestone in many ways, from the use of a twinstick control setup to the innovative dashing focused combat. There are few games in the mecha pantheon that have defined so many that have followed in their wake. Even less that have influenced games outside of the mecha genre, to the point of distilling functional elements that many gamers now take for granted. Virtual On was and still remains to this day a very important game as without it many subsequent mecha games simply wouldn’t exist.

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News: Happy Birthday Virtual On!

Posted on : 27-11-2010 | By : | In : News

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Today is a very special day indeed, as it marks the 15th Anniversary of one of the most influential mecha games ever made; the wondrous Virtual On. The series’ creator, Juro Watari, somewhat tearfully remembers the day over on the official Virtual On Force blog and that the actual day the game should have had its final rom delivered was on the 24th, a Friday. Apparently, the team were balancing the game right up until the last minute and specifically Bal Bas Bow’s floating arms caused a lot of issues. The latter had the last remnants of the team working until 9pm and after they finally nailed it, they went over to the main Sega office building with the final rom disc only to find the department was shut! So the official day that Virtual On was birthed was on the Monday, the 27th. Watari also goes on to say that at the time making a mecha game such as Virtual On was a huge uphill struggle, as the overriding belief was that a game like this could never be made. So for him to look back on the past 15 years feels somewhat miraculous and that the real “Force” behind Virtual On is its passionate base of players. In any case, Watari is suitably and justifiably upbeat about the Virtual On games he’s worked on over the years and for those that have yet to sample the delights of the original game, we can thoroughly recommend the SEGA AGES PS2 port. Finally, our first retro review will be published shortly and it shouldn’t be too hard to guess what it will be!

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News: Thousand Suns Gunpla Edition Released

Posted on : 26-11-2010 | By : | In : News

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We mentioned this a while back but it seems that Linkin Park are proper Gundam nerds (UC nerds no less too). Their album A Thousand Suns has subsequently been released in Japan with a cutsomised HGUC kit of the RX-78GP01-Fb Gundam Full Vernian from Gundam 0083 (pictured above). The reason for all this Gundam cross promotional high fiving is due to the fact that one of their song’s, The Catalyst, has been used as the background music for the opening movie of Gundam Extreme Versus. You can buy the Gunpla album set over at HLJ in case it tickles your fancy.

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