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Reviews: Super Robot Wars Z 3 Tengoku Hen (9/10)

Posted on : 19-05-2015 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware: ,

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srwz3_2_cover_thumbBack in 2009, during the last days of the PS2, we saw the first game in the Z series made digital flesh. It was quite the departure from the previous Alpha series and also boasted an all new 2D animation engine. It was also a pretty damn fantastic game, that used focus groups of three units to offset the formations of enemy attackers.

Not long after that the PSP saw host to the second part of the Z series, in the form of Hakai-hen and Saisei-hen. These were more streamlined and dropped the formation approach for single units while still retaining some lovely animation. Then last year we received the first part to the third instalment, called Jigoku-hen it was split across PS3 and Vita with cross save functionality enabled. Taking a middle approach with having each group comprising of two units, it sat neatly between the first game and its portable offspring. That made sense as it was both a console and a portable game. It also looked incredible.

So now after six years we have reached the end of the road with the Z series and Tengoku-hen doesn’t disappoint.

Retaining the same dual unit system from Jigoku-hen, you can either do combined or spread attacks. Picking the pairings wisely is also key as some seishin can still be used for the party as a whole. The old school combo attacks are also back in full force, where disparate units can combine to create new attacks together. Bar this the main game system hasn’t really changed all that much over the previous game though.

What is different is how the missions have been scripted and balanced. While Jigoku-hen was fun, you could brute force many of the maps. Just power up one unit and just set them off to destroy everything. Things are different in Tengoku-hen though. The AI is a bit sneakier and the objectives are often indirect. It definitely makes for a more engaging game of strategy.

What’s more the special conditions for each mission are also far more of a challenge and require multiple playthroughs to complete. What’s more the majority of the enemies are on the whole tougher now too, so you definitely have to think ahead more.

One interesting addition though is that some enemies are so large now that they take up part of the map’s background. The only thing left to “attack” is then a singular flashing square. In previous games, this normally indicated a position that a specific unit had to reach but now this is the point you have to attack.

Then there are the new animations…

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While there has been some obvious carry over from the first game, there is still a lot of new content here in terms of both art and animation. Admittedly this is down to the addition of new series and their various units but a lot of the returning mecha have also been spruced up.

A few stand-out units in particular are Zeta Gundam and the Diebuster mecha. The former has had some serious animation love poured on it and it looks amazing at this resolution, whereas the latter has been recreated in a very faithful Gainax-esque way. This is also true for the Gurren Lagann animations as well.

The Gainax side of things has also been represented functionally too, as you can power up the levels of each unit manually (with enough seishin or the help of Nekki Basara, among others). Admittedly some, like Gurren Lagann, require additional battleship hardware present but being able to force these units to reach their final forms so readily is very satisfying (though admittedly not necessarily all that straightforward).

Admittedly the absence of units like Final Dancouga and Baldios is sad but the return of Orguss and a few others is nice at least. Some had even hoped to see the re-birth of the Hi-Nu Gundam as well but alas that doesn’t seem to be the case.

For those that bought the game at release in Japan, you also received a download code for a sidestory game called Rengoku-hen. This featured the OG mecha exclusive to the previous games and helped to fill in their backstory up until the events in Tengoku-hen.

This is also a key point, this game finishes the narrative arc across three parts in now five instalments. So to have the OG mecha return and team up together was a really nice touch.

Overall then this is a fantastic entry into the series and despite a few sad unit omissions is one of the best Super Robot Wars games yet. It’s sad to think that the Z series is finally over but it did at least finish on a high note.

Tamashii: 9/10

This review was undertaken on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game.

Specific Unit Animations »

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Comments (7)

This Game was better than the Alpha Series,

[…] the success of the recently released PS3 and Vita game, Super Robot Wars Z3 Tengoku-hen, Bandai Namco are following up with a new 3DS entry to the long running and popular turn based […]

[…] the success of the recently released PS3 and Vita game, Super Robot Wars Z3 Tengoku-hen, Bandai Namco are following up with a new 3DS entry to the long running and popular turn based […]

[…] also a series that has been featured in all manner of games over the years, with the recent and very successful entry to the Super Robot Wars series being […]

[…] also a series that has been featured in all manner of games over the years, with the recent and very successful entry to the Super Robot Wars series being […]

[…] also a series that has been featured in all manner of games over the years, with the recent and very successful entry to the Super Robot Wars series being […]

[…] kind of functionality was a glorious kind of gaming witchcraft. I used the setup extensively on Super Robot Wars Z 3 Tengoku-hen and it was incredibly […]

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