Reviews: Super Robot Wars Z 2 Saisei Hen (9/10)

Following on from the first part, we’ve been waiting for Saisei Hen with baited breath for quite a while. Unlike previous Super Robot Wars releases, the sequel to the first Z was planned in two parts. This was moderately cunning on the part of Banpresto; as not only would it allow more modern mecha series (often with two story arcs) to be portrayed in more detail but it also meant we could be charged twice for effectively the same game.

However, this isn’t quite the case. Whilst Saisei Hen is very much the second of two gaming parts it still has a huge amount of new content on offer. It’s also noticeably easier throughout too, though your mileage may obviously vary on that point. Either way, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying ourselves with Saisei Hen and it was very much worth the wait.

Like the previous installment, Saisei Hen eschews the use of squads as per the console versions in favour of single units. Pilots are also again broken down to a main, who can be upgraded with a variety of skills, and sub-pilots that are basically along for the ride (though they thankfully bring their seishin with them). In addition, the mecha are similarly upgradeable and can be equipped with all manner of parts to boost certain stats or offer new abilities.

Whilst this may sound familiar to fans of Super Robot Wars, it is striking that this entry can be utterly rinsed without much forethought. Admittedly the knowledge and experience of how to successfully equip the right parts for certain units, as well as understand what the pilot skills do, isn’t something that most gamers will have. However for the Super Robot Wars throng, this game is much more forgiving than previous entries.

We’ve also always had a habit of playing the games by not upgrading units until very late in the game. That way you can appreciate their tactical nuances as well as focus more on the strategy rather than simple brute force. For the most part Saisei Hen was as tricky as the previous game in this regard, however upon upgrading our units it was very clear how big a difference it made. It’s definitely very satisfying to max out Chirico Cuvie’s Rabidly Dog and equip all manner of parts to make the unit literally “untouchable” but much of the tactical risk of using the mecha is somewhat absent, as it’s almost never going to buy the farm. This isn’t one unit either but pretty much anything you upgrade, something that’s more noticeable on account of the fact that we were able to max out the stats of an abnormally large number of units this time around.

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

Now all this may sound pretty damning but in reality nurturing an army of mecha from the last half century into an unstoppable force is very enjoyable. In addition, if you want to challenge yourself, then attaining the SR Points in each level should keep most people busy as the conditions to attain them are pretty tricky for the most part. Not to mention that many missions have very specific criteria for completion. Some of these are quite memorable too, as the re-enactment of the attack on the Memento Mori from Gundam 00. As it requires you to fly head on through a large force of enemies. All within 5 turns no less, so the pacing is nicely tight and just like in the show. Setups like that are quite common and feel like the development team really know their stuff when it comes to the disparate mecha series involved.

The other very important fact to remember is that this is also very much a portable game, much like the first entry way back in 1991 in fact. It’s not really intended to be played in long bouts. In that sense the difficulty is probably gauged about right, as the game is still very compelling nonetheless and lacks any real difficulty spikes.

What the game still does incredibly well though are the battle animations. Whilst many of the mecha have already been used in the previous game there are still a lot more units and upgraded attacks. In some places the animations are a little rushed but overall they look pretty damn superb throughout. The pacing and attention to detail is also again very impressive and for any fan of the series featured in the game, you’re very much in for a treat.

Overall then Saisei Hen is as good as the previous game and whilst it is still very engaging the amount of strategical complexity has definitely been replaced with a more brute force approach. In some ways the game echoes the more modern mecha series it contains; where the second story arc features far more potent mecha that obliterate all that stand in their way. In that sense Saisei Hen was always destined to be somewhat excessive and in that regard it succeeds pretty much flawlessly.

Tamashii: 9/10

[spoiler show=”Specific Unit Animations”]

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

[/spoiler]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Join the Conversation

12 Comments

  1. as someone who pre-ordered it but has yet to see it arrive, I’m both miffed that I havent got to play it yet but quite pleased that it should be worth the wait 🙂

    1. it finally arrived yesterday (was waiting on my desk when I got to the office:)) and I’m having a blast so far, but is it just my psp or are the load times for battle animations a little excessive? even when installed data is being used im waiting up to 10 seconds for an animation to start during a battle

      1. After trying to fit (almost) every free living hour I had since the game came out, I have been madly engaged with it. Reviewer’s comments are quite accurate on that note. I also agree with the quality of animations. Certain series did not “end” the way I wanted them to, but that is alright. Trying not to spoil, but I’m so happy a particular BGM was included at long last (it didn’t make it in the previous game).

        60 stages felt somewhat long.

      2. I have no issues with load times, the same as with part 1. I’m not using the standard data install though, the entire UMD sits on my Memory Stick as an ISO. I’ve been playing PS games this way since before they were offering the “data install” option since it cuts load times to virtually zero on any game. This is a big help since many early PSP games are borderline unplayable, their load times are so excessive. Do this with SRW MX and you will save several HOURS over the course of the game, easily.

        1. ah right, I didnt have any problems with load times after installing part 1, so im thinking its either my new memory stick thats dodgy or they’ve optimised the game for psp3000 and above (im on a psp2000 model). it’s not stopping me from enjoying the game mind you!

          1. Yeah, it could be a Memory Stick issue. I’m on a 2000 as well.

            I have noticed that saving mid-battle takes a split second longer as the game goes on, but the maps are pretty big and there are a ridiculous number of units out at once, so that could be the reason.

  2. just found one on Ebay used $50. this will be the last hurrah for my PSP, but I loved the Super Robot Wars Alpha from the PSn . So this will be worth it.

    1. WOw , neat game , did they change the cover of the game ? the one shown for the review is diffrent then the one I have, that being the omission of Tetsujin 28
      (hope he’s still in it, grew up watching Gigantor) and no Lelouch mech on the cover . I guess with all the available mechs in the game , they did more than one game cover . But can anybody give more info? confirm/deny?

  3. Yes Hakai Hen is apparently the game I bought , now i need to find Saisei hen cheap as well , thanks for helping me figure this out.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *