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Videos: Starwing Paradox Finally Gets Some Proper Gameplay FootageVideos: Starwing Paradox Finally Gets Some Proper Gameplay... Over at 4Gamer, they have a new interview with one of the developers behind the upcoming arcade mecha game Starwing Paradox. Released later this year in the Japanese arcades,...

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News: Gundam Extreme Versus 2 Initial Roster And Location Tests AnnouncedNews: Gundam Extreme Versus 2 Initial Roster And Location... As the rest of the world has Gundam Versus on the PS4, Japanese arcades are gearing up for the upcoming Gundam Versus Extreme 2. On May 12 and 13, stores in Tokyo and Osaka...

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Reviews: Super Robot Wars X (9/10)Reviews: Super Robot Wars X (9/10) Since the end of the Z series, the Super Robot Wars games have tried to change up the setup somewhat, such as including series without mecha in Super Robot Wars V. Well, the...

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Videos: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS 2 Announced For 2018Videos: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS 2 Announced For... Bandai Namco have recently announced that Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS 2 will be hitting arcades in 2018. Unlike Gundam Versus, this is being positioned as a true sequel...

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Videos: Build Strike Gundam, Farsia, Gundam Pixie, and Efreet Schneid Coming To Gundam VersusVideos: Build Strike Gundam, Farsia, Gundam Pixie,... Several new DLC units have been announced during the Gundam Games Announcement stream on January 16. Aside from revealing God and Master Gundam gameplay, we saw Missing...

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Toys: War for Cybertron Optimus Prime Reviewed

Posted on : 14-06-2010 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

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Over at HK-TF they’ve undertaken a picture review of the new Optimus Prime toy from War for Cybetron. First impressions is that this is a toy done on the cheap and whilst the sculpt looks more or less accurate it’s still very basic. To be fair the price of this toy costs a lot less than most of the Japanese equivalents, so a reduction in quality is to be expected. That said, it does seem odd to aim the game at an older demographic yet pitch the toys beneath that in terms of price bracket/quality. In any case, for those that have a hankering for all Optimus/Convoy type toys then go here and pick one up. Alternatively, you could save those pennies up and get something properly brilliant.

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News: War for Cybertron Multiplayer Demo

Posted on : 10-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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The upcoming War for Cybertron has been given a multiplayer demo via the 360 online Marketplace, so go and download it basically. From the few games we’ve played it’s obvious, that despite being very pretty, the game reassuringly doesn’t suck total sweaty robot balls. Though, that said, it is worryingly generic (from a multiplayer standpoint at least). The really good news, for us at least, is that High Moon didn’t bork the mecha handling as they feel suitably weighty. We’ll be reviewing the game once it’s released later this month, so keep an eye out for that. Naturally, Megatron must be stopped…no matter the cost…

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News: Virtual On Force Multiplayer Update

Posted on : 09-06-2010 | By : | In : News

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4gamer has some new screenhots of the upcoming 360 port of Virtual On Force. What’s interesting about these is that they clearly show a 4 player splitscreen multiplayer option (along with the already documented online setup). This is a nice concession to the fanbase, as the Virtual On scene (in Japan at least) are pretty closely knit and prefer the more social arcade-esque gatherings.

Separately, a few people have been asking me about the VR pictured above. Well, its name is Kagekiyo and he was a new unit introduced in Force. This was an experimental VR made by Dr. Yzerman of the Sixth plant “Satchel Mouth.” Yzerman attempted to pluck the soul of the fugitive warrior Kagekiyo, a retainer to the house of Hei, from the dead and trap it within the V-converter (something similar to how Specineff’s V-converter was created in case you’re wondering). Over time he managed to control Kagekiyo’s spirit, which allowed the VR to be relatively mass produced. The VR resembles a samurai warrior of the sixteenth century and is often armed with giant versions of basic samurai weaponry, notably that of a katana. Due to the use of Kagekiyo’s spirit, some pilots have claimed that their Kagekiyo VR often goes berzerk. Specineff was an earlier Dr. Yzerman creation and Kagekiyo was a partial spin-off from that line. This is yet another mecha design that also ties into my theory that contemporary mecha are heavily influenced from the cultural effects of the samurai.

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Kits: GA GAN01 Sunshine L Announced

Posted on : 08-06-2010 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

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One of the most beefy designs from Armored Core 4 and For Answer has been announced to be making an appearance in kit form, courtesy of those brilliant people at Kotobukiya. The GAN01 frame is probably one of the most heavily armored set of parts available in the games. Built by the corporate remnants of North America, in the form of Global Armaments, they specialise in the “hammer” and “nail” type of engineering finesse. Where the bigger the hammer is obviously better. Unsurprisingly, they also make some of the best solid ammo weapons in the games. This kit, despite its somewhat straightforward appearance, will feature numerous gimmicks; from the seamless overboost mechanism to actual missiles in the CHEYENNE02 missile packs. It’s also worth pointing out that this kit is made from an all new mold, rather than built from pre-existing parts. The kit will be released in October for 5,565 yen (inclusive of tax).

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Toys: PTX-140R Hardballer

Posted on : 07-06-2010 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

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Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent a toy from the Lost Planet series of games to review. Specifically, the PTX-140R Hardballer vital suit. In addition, to give the toy some context, we’ve also linked some gameplay footage of it in action in Lost Planet 2 at the end of the review.

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Reviews: Senko no Ronde DUO (8/10)

Posted on : 06-06-2010 | By : | In : Reviews

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Contrary to popular, and often ignorant, belief Virtual On has inspired a varied progeny of games over the years. From the rather flawed ZOE series, to games like the original Senko no Ronde. G.rev’s approach was very much well wrought, in the sense they didn’t just blindly copy elements of the game without understanding how they worked. No, instead they took the core of the fixed vectored dash combat system and brilliantly added a danmaku framework alongside it.

What transpired was a game that allowed the player to transform into an actual boss that spewed impossibly complex geometrical patterns of death, whilst the dashing mechanics were in place to render that almost irrelevant in the hands of a competent opponent. Even without the boss mode activation, the original game was awash with danmaku leanings all over the place and it added a very fresh dimension to the Virtual On lineage.

Unsurprisingly, the original arcade game gathered quite the fanbase in Japan and consequently received a 360 port, which was comically retitled as “Wartech” in the West. G.rev have since followed the original game’s success with an arcade sequel and it wasn’t long until another 360 port followed. Put simply, it’s bloody amazing.

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News: Vanquish Has Powered Armor, Gundam Space Colonies

Posted on : 06-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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With the latest trailer for Vanquish, we finally see what the game looks like in action and I have to say that my initial skepticism about it has all but vanished. The game’s pedigree is excellent, being created by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Mad World) and headed by Shinji Mikami (Devil May Cry, Resident Evil) but the early screenshots and teaser trailer released to the gaming public made the game seem, at best, an interesting take on the overused “space marine” trope all too common in current-gen titles.

The new trailer puts any doubts to rest because not only is the action as frenetic as we would expect from Platinum Games, but rather than simply using space-age armor to explain away the amount of damage these characters are capable of soaking up, we can see in the trailer that the main character’s powered armor provides him with additional movement options as well–one scene shows him boosting from one set of cover to another almost instantaneously, while another has him using his thrusters to gain enough vertical range to smash a foe.

It’s nice to see designers thinking about what ways these wonderful “space marine” armors could change combat, and while the scale of powered armor doesn’t exactly match that of mecha, and thus is really a whole different kettle of fish, a lot of the solutions are the same–just as giant robots shouldn’t be treated as human analogues, humans in powered armor should have different skillsets following from their upgrade. While Vanquish isn’t the only game in recent memory to play with the trope (Section 8 being a good example) it’s good to see some of the most talented people in the action game business working on the problem.

On more firmly mecha-related territory, I’d also like to point out some interesting similarities between Vanquish and Mobile Suit Gundam. Both deal with humanity expanding into space not onto different planets, but rather in O’Neill cylinders floating freely in space that use rotation to generate an approximate feeling of gravity, and both have these colonies eventually being used as weapons, by taking advantage of the plentiful solar energy resources of outer space.

While it’s hard to tell where the homage ends and genuine cultural absorption begins with the Japanese and their (perfectly reasonable) obsession with Mobile Suit Gundam, I do find the use of Gundam as a reference point interesting, because much as the mobile suit’s use in Gundam is to provide a vehicle that can operate equally well in space, under Earth’s gravity, and in the artificial “gravity” of O’Neill cylinders, Vanquish is taking the commonly used Western term “space marine” quite literally, as Vanquish’s power armor seems to be designed both as a spacesuit and as body armor, used to infiltrate a structure floating in space. Most of what are called “space marines” in the press tend to be neither, operating on planets rather than in space and not being any more mobile than regular troops being shipped to a far-off planet.

Hopefully Vanquish will be the great game that it looks like it will be, and that it will create a renaissance in the West regarding the Men In Space Suits, Holding Guns, Shooting Aliens genre, maybe even something a bit closer to the original Western concept; when the West made Starship Troopers into a movie we kept only the fascism, while Japan kept only the robots. Needless to say, Mecha Damashii supports robots over fascism.

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News: Virtual On Force Trailer

Posted on : 03-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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The official Virtual On Force port website had another update today, this time with a trailer of the game in action on the 360 (with a rather cool reveal at the end, in the form of two Tangrams). Unsurprisingly, the original arcade assets have been handled without much fanfare; as the 360 is considerably more potent that the original Hikaru boards that ran the game. Though we’re still unsure whether a home port of Force is actually a good idea. Admittedly, Oratan’s XBLA sales have been mighty impressive but Force was considerably more flawed and in part helped to limit the success of the series from that point on. In any case, we’ll see how well this new port fares once it’s released at the end of the year.

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News: War for Cybertron Pre-Order Trailer

Posted on : 01-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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Possibly our favourite Transformer, Shockwave (aka Laserwave, Astro Magnum etc.), is getting offered as a pre-order bonus for GameStop customers who buy the upcoming Transformers: War for Cybertron. Now, we know this news isn’t that current but this trailer showing off the pre-order bonus in game (and suitably voiced) is rather wonderful – though much of that is also down to the music being used.

Shockwave is an interesting design as it mirrors much of the similarities to the cyclops monster seen in Ulysses 31, a series that Studio Nue also worked on. Whilst Nue also worked on Diaclone, the Japanese toy line that birthed Transformers as we know it, Shockwave was an interesting anomaly to that as the original “Astro Magnum” toy wasn’t made by Takara. Whoever penned the original toy design, and we’re inclined to think it may have been Kazutaka Miyatake, we’re suitably chuffed that the new game will feature the mecha.

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Kits: Myzr Announced

Posted on : 01-06-2010 | By : | In : News

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The model kit manufacturer Hasegawa have announced that their next Virtual On kit will be the VR Myzr from Force. Myzr was the follow on unit from Cypher from Oratan, as Myzr can also transform (something this kit will apparently do as well). This is all suitably timely considering the upcoming 360 port of Force on the way. For those confused as to why Kotobukiya aren’t making this kit, that’s because they only have the rights for the original Virtual On and Oratan. Hasegawa, on the other hand, have the rights to both Force and Marz – as they’ve been making kits alongside Kotobukiya’s output for some time now. No word on when the Myzr kit will be released but it will most probably be before the port hits the shops.

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