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One of the first games we played at this year’s TGS was Front Mission Evolved. Despite being readily available in the shops in Japan, the game graced at least three separate booths across both formats (that in itself was pretty damn crazy to be honest). As such saying that the game we played was a “demo” and that there’s room for improvement doesn’t really hold true here, the code shown at TGS was utterly final in the released sense of the word. So what follows is pretty much an overture for our review most probably, in short we weren’t that impressed.
Tucked around the side of D3’s booth was one machine playing Bangai-O HD Missile Fury, due to its unfortunate placing it didn’t receive much attention but that at least meant we got to have a go. It’s worth saying up front that this was just plain raucous fun throughout and considering the series’ lineage there’s no doubt that this new game will be absolutely bloody amazing.
We managed to not only have several playthroughs on the upcoming port of Virtual On Force but also try out the HORI TwinStick EX peripheral that will be compatible with the game on its release in December. From what we saw, pretty much all the VR and their variants were playable and the following impressions were undertaken using Temjin 747. We’ve also linked a video at the end of the post to show the sticks in action with the game (we aren’t the ones playing though, in case you’re wondering).
From the number of tweets we’ve been getting, it seems only fair to answer some of your questions. The recurring questions we’ve got regard the absence of Armored Core 5, Bumpy Trot 2 and Macross Trial Frontier. In the case of the latter, there is a looping movie being shown at the Bandai Namco stall but despite the game being finished there’s nothing playable at the show (though the game footage does look lovely and it’s pretty clear that the game is indeed very similar to Artdink’s recent PSP games). In addition, Irem have quite a nice presence this year but when we quizzed them about Bumpy Trot 2 they simply had a “no comment”. As for Armored Core 5? Absolutely nothing, not even a video preview and due to From Software not having a presence at the show we’ve been unable to quiz anyone about it.
Considering that Front Mission Evolved is playable in about three separate booths this year (despite being available in the shops already in Japan) it may be that From Software decided to wait this one out, as Armored Core 5 is potentially quite similar in approach. In any case, it’s not as though From Software needed to be worried as after playing Front Mission Evolved quite a bit its is really quite painfully average.
4Gamer has the scoop from Capcom’s press briefing today. In short From Software are developing a new Steel Battalion game for Capcom that uses Kinect to control the vertical tanks. This looks like a reboot as well, as the tech seen in the previous games is narratively absent apparently. Naturally, there aren’t many functional details at present but of all the developers – bar the original Nudemaker – who could handle Steel Battalion well it would easily be From Software (especially considering that Chrome Hounds pretty much went down that route already). No word on who’s penning the new mecha designs as yet, as the original games used mecha designed by the very talented Junji Okubo, but we’ll hopefully know more on that in a day or two. In the meantime, here’s the teaser trailer.
Update: It’s been confirmed that Junji Okubo is not penning the mecha designs for this, which is a pity, but the good news is that the Chrome Hounds team are developing this Kinect only game – so we’re very cautiously optimistic about this.
4Gamer has covered the upcoming port of Virtual On Force’s new VR Viewer mode as well as the game’s extended online setup. With the latter, due to the original game being four player, the online ranking is now calculated per individual competitor at the end of the match – meaning that you can’t rely on your teammate to do the grunt work for you (like you originally could, to a certain extent at least, with the old card system the arcade version used). It’s an interesting and beneficial addition, as it will help ensure more active teamwork with any luck. The VR Viewer, on the other hand, will just allow moe-tards to ogle robo-bewbs.
That said, the line-up for this game is pretty thorough (see list below) and prior to a Gundam Extreme Versus port this game may partially satiate our Unicorn Gundam fixation. At present Gundam Musou 3 is scheduled for a Japanese release this Winter on both the PS3 and 360.
IGN posted some impressions of a pre-alpha version of Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury, coming to Xbox Live Arcade. It sounds like the new game stays true to the formula used by Bangai-O on the Dreamcast and Bangai-O Spirits on the Nintendo DS, and notably includes a level editor like Spirits did, which will allow users to send their creations to their online friends, although without the DS version’s really cool/really finicky Sound Loud feature.
The new game returns to the Dreamcast version’s control setup, with one stick being used to move your mecha and the other controlling the direction of your shots, which likely means a return to a completely manic pace, as opposed to Spirits’ methodically and strategically manic pace. It’s a setup that should likely be familiar with the rebirth of arena shooters after the popularity enjoyed by Geometry Wars on the XBLA, and thus hopefully can attract a larger audience than the cult classic originals.
The original Bangai-O managed to incorporate a number of important and intrinsically mecha elements into its gameplay, such as the Itano Circus of missiles being unloaded and the use of shots and missile fratricide to carve out areas of relative safety. The control of the titular robot Bangai-O itself also had a certain amount of heft and weight to it when you weren’t actively dashing, and its ability to shoot more missiles the more imminent danger the Bangai-O was in was a decidedly Super Robot mechanic. The more intense the danger, the hotter Bangai-O’s spirit burns! If you’re curious about the series, then make sure to check out our feature on the games.
The current price point seems to be 800 Xbox Points, which likely averages out to be less than 1 Point per missile onscreen at once.
Amongst a bevy of other games, SEGA will also have a playable version of Virtual On Force at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. Whether they’ll have any of HORI’s sticks at the show remains unconfirmed but rumours are that a select few will be present for punters to try out. Considering that these are pre-order only items it seems a tad unfair to show people something they can’t actually buy. With any luck the aforementioned fetish unlock code won’t be present at the show.