Reviews: Gundam The 3D Battle (8/10) One of the main factors in Artdink's renaissance as a studio is how it managed to land the Gundam and Macross licenses. Turning them into very capable PSP games and a few...
News: Knights of Sidonia on Oculus Rift DK2
At the upcoming Anime Fest in Tokorozawa they will be allowing punters to experience the opening launch sequence of the Tsugumori from the recent Knights of Sidonia anime...
Reviews: Transformers Tataki (6/10) The Transformers catchphrase "more than meets the eye" is an apt one. Originally used to underscore the transformation abilities of the toys, the catchphrase takes on a different...
Toys: PlayStation Optimus Prime Update
At the recent Hobby Maker show in Akiba, we got another glimpse of the upcoming PlayStation Optimus Prime. Compared to the showing at WonFes, this one was all nicely painted...
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.
The upcoming XBLA shooter Seisou Kouki Strania was recently showcased by the staff from G.Rev, but what caught our eye was this photo of the characters from the game. It’s notable because you can see Yamamoto Nanashiki’s inimitable style shine though (something that was confirmed at the event itself). This is doubly interesting as he was also responsible for designing the Rounder mecha in both Senko no Ronde and its sequel DUO (which we recently reviewed the 360 port of). Considering all the 80′s and 90′s gameplay references G.Rev’s staff were making at the event, it’s nice to see that aesthetically the game is following suit too (as there’s something almost Tekkaman Blade about the characterisation and poses in that shot).
The much anticipated Armored Core 5 has been officially delayed until next year. This is something that was intimated at this year’s TGS by the fact the game was noticeably absent. Ultimately this is good news though as the last thing a fresh reboot of the series needs is to be rushed to release. That said, From Software have started the early aspects of their marketing push by firing up their fan supporter setup, so expect more news on the game in the coming weeks.
Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent a toy that’s one of the most well known Original Generation (or OG) mecha from Super Robot wars to review. Specifically, the new Super Robot Chogokin Alteisen. In addition, to give the toy some context, we’ve also linked some gameplay footage of it in action at the end of the review.
A new trailer was released for upcoming persistent world online shooter Firefall, and while a lot of the footage being shown is of locations and concepts we’ve already seen in the larger ten minute gameplay trailer, our excitement for the game has been by no means diminished since the game’s announcement, as there is clearly a lot of potential.
One thing the new trailer does hint at which we haven’t seen before is some sort of system that allows players to “glide”–while the huge mecha jetpacks enable characters to gain vertical height and sometimes forward speed (similar to the thrusters in Tribes, of which Firefall seems to be a spiritual successor) this seems to be an entirely new mechanic, used for crossing large amounts of distance in the air. This gliding feature projects two laser wings which reminds us just a bit of the V2 Gundam’s Wings of Light, which along with the very possible Gurren Lagann and Gundam 00 influences in the powered armors’ designs leads evidence to someone at Firefall being a closet mecha fanatic.
In addition to the 10 minute trailer that’s been passed around widely, it’s also worth noting that there’s a less well-traveled version of that very same trailer with developer commentary that explains a bit more about the specific game mechanics.
As we suspected the White Dingo variant of the GM Sniper II is now available for pre-order as a Tamashii Web special purchase. Fear ye not though, as places like Tokyo Hunter are stocking the toy on your behalf (as Tamashii Web specials are Japan only purchases unfortunately). Considering how much we loved the recent GM Sniper II toy, we literally cannot wait for the White Dingo version as the Dreamcast game that birthed it is very close to our heart.