Super Robot Wars is a long running franchise that has been going for 30 years, while having 0 retail presence outside of Japan and Asia the series has had its roots in unexpected places. Ladies and Gentlemen, Super Robot Wars 30 is here with a WORLD WIDE RELEASE.
Super Robot Wars is a turn based strategy game consisting of many, MANY Japanese anime mecha franchises. Over the years the series that see representation chop and change but usual suspects Gundam are a main feature.
The franchise’s that see representation in this title are as follows. (List courtesy of Super Robot Wars Wiki)
- Super Electromagnetic Combattler V
- Mobile Suit Gundam (units only)
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
- Zeta-MSV (units only)
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack
- M-MSV (units only)
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
- Heavy Metal L-Gaim
- The Brave Police J-Decker (debut)
- The King of Braves GaoGaiGar FINAL (units only)
- Hakaiou ~GaoGaiGar Vs Betterman~ (debut)
- Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion III – Glorification (units only)
- Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection
- Getter Robo Armageddon
- Mazinger Z: Infinity
- Mazinkaiser Infinitism (debut; units only)
- Magic Knight Rayearth
- Gun Sword
- Majestic Prince
- Knight’s & Magic (debut)
- SSSS.GRIDMAN (debut)
And there are even more included in the DLC packs that follow the games release.
The representation as you can see from the list above ranges from mech units to actual characters from the shows/manga.
One of the main selling points is the characters are key to the narrative and tend to interact not only with the original characters but also other series characters in a dream/crossover style fashion.
This is somewhat of a double edged sword when it comes to the narrative, as seen through the perspective of the very anime Waifu or Husbando (I went with the Male who was called Edge and looked like Shadow the Hedgehog) you’ll come into contact with new characters on a missionly basis until the end game.
The problem being that not every character has equal pull in the story and sometimes conversations between the teams go on far too long as every character has something they NEED to say.
The main narrative sees our band of students attacked by an enemy force, activate 2 experimental pieces of equipment, one a battleship with an A.I which learns from battle and one a mech our protagonist is surprisingly adept in.
After the first battle the powers that be see your potential and let you and your motley crew travel the universe, waging battle and upgrading your battleship A.I in the hopes of creating a better future.
It’s all anime cliche with all the cliche trimmings and it’s all the better for it, while not the most original of concepts the character interactions alone are brilliantly done and it’s not hard to get swept up in all that mecha drama. The only other caveat is that the cutscenes drag on, so much so that it feels like they never end at times, it’s an issue that has been with the series a long time and is just how it is.
The main gameplay visuals are about as basic as you can imagine for a strategy game, barren playing fields with small pixel art statues representing your units. It isn’t until you initiate an attack do you see the true beauty of Super Robot Wars 30, the battle animations.
The battle animations for the game are 10/10, top shelf animation which look ripped right from the very screens and pages, while you’ll be seeing alot of them repeated throughout the campaign you’ll often find yourself leaving them running and sitting in awe of them.
Talking of presentation the game has had a massive overhaul from previous games which were mainly just menu based outside of battles. While still menu heavy, the developers have drawn out a galaxy map and added a lot more detail to screens to make it feel less like a wall of text and more like controls on a ship.
Now the core gameplay of Super Robot Wars 30 remains unchanged from previous games and may be slightly familiar to anyone who’s played Project X Zone OR Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier on the Nintendo DS.
You’re presented with a scenario, usually involving some new characters to your cause, play a few turns and then your custom team comes in and you finish the map.
Players are given first go and you move your units across a grid, choose various attacks which have different damage output and drain different resources such as ammo or energy, after you’ve moved everyone the enemy gets their turn and so on.
You have various abilities to help turn the tide of battle such as Accuracy improvement, morale boosts which boost up damage and many more which unlock over time as you build up your team.
Units can also support each other in battle delivering devastating blows or blocking a potentially lethal shot.
When it comes to being attacked you can choose to defend, evade or counter which somewhat breaks the tired script of taking turns hitting each other, sometimes a well done counter can wipe the enemy out.
Standard missions usually just involve destroying the enemy units but some have bonus objectives which gift you more credits to spend on powering up your various mecha.
There are a lot of systems at work in Super Robot Wars 30 and fortunately there are plenty of tutorials and a handy players guide you can jump to at anytime if something hasn’t quite clicked with you yet.
To go along with that there is also a handy glossary to help you with any characters or terminology you may not know, it’s very comprehensive and you can lose hours alone just learning about all the series has to offer.
Finally before I wrap it up, considering Super Robot Wars 30 is predominantly a console game, playing it on computer feels natural with full keyboard and mouse options, it’s the little things.
I’m not the biggest fan of Mecha anime but I love the few Super Robot titles I’ve played, before this one I was working through Super Robot Wars T (for Cowboy Bebop of course!)It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and appreciation this series has for Mecha anime and while the gameplay loop can get repetitive during longer play sessions it still remains fun when you come back to it after some time.
It’s great Bandai Namco managed to release this title through Steam instead of having to pay nearly double to import an Asia version, alongside Gundam SD from the other year it seems Steam is the place for quality Mech Strategy games and Super Robot Wars 30 is the best one yet.
A fantastic celebration of the series and Japanese Mecha.
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