What happens if you combine the “Avengers”, “Justice League“, “Transformers”, “G.I.Joe”, “Thundercats”, “Voltron” and “He-Man”? A big fancy lawsuit, that’s what! At least in America, in Japan, however, they took the idea of such a concept and ran with it, allowing for one of the longest-running crossover video game series in history, Super Robot Wars.
So, for how long has the series been running then? Try 26 years as of this writing. The 25th anniversary game came out on February 23rd of this year (obviously in development before this year), and the series has been on practically every platform imaginable, from all of Nintendo’s systems, save for the Virtual Boy, to all the Playstation’s systems, the Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, 360 and mobile phone. Heck, it even got onto the Wonderswan and Wonderswan color.
The games themselves are known for a few things, the first of which is the massive crossover of various mecha anime series, from Gundam and Mazinger to Code Geass and many, many more, which has limited its releases out of Japan, unless it was on a region-free system. The second thing that the games are known for is not only crossing the series together, but also fixing certain “problems” that the source material has.
For example, characters that fans love that get killed off can be saved in Super Robot Wars games, such as Puru and Puru Two from Gundam ZZ, characters who have potential but find it squandered (such as Shinn Asuka of Gundam Seed Destiny, get redeemed in Super Robot Wars games). In fact, Shinn’s Japanese voice actor has gone on to praise Banpresto for making his character more likable, saying he prefers that version of Shinn to what he had in the show. Plots of some shows that are troubling, such as Gundam Seed Destiny, are made more tolerable and understandable for everyone.
The third thing that the games are known for is a kick-ass music score. It helps when they have the awesome music band “JAM Project” for many of their games. Particular songs of note are “Gong”, “Okkusenman”, “Skill” and “The Exceeder”. Speaking of the last one, it’s the theme song of “Super Robot Wars V”. It’s the first Super Robot Wars game to have subtitles and menus in any language other than Japanese.
Yes, this is a game that has English and Chinese subtitles, meaning that if you have a PS4 or Vita, then you can import it and understand it easily enough. I can’t understate the importance of such a move, for years fans out of Japan were forced to either learn Japanese, play without knowing what was being said, or wait for emulation with fan-patches, with this move, Banpresto gets around the licensing issues that plagued their previous titles and allows everyone to enjoy this awesome series for themselves. There is one more thing that Super Robot Wars is known for, but I’ll save it for the end.
The gameplay of Super Robot Wars is a grid-based tactical RPG. If you’ve ever played Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics, you know the basics of gameplay. You choose your troops to send out and you meet your enemies and move your units into position so that you can smash their faces in before they can do the same to you. Sometimes there are other objectives, such as lasting a certain amount of turns or getting to a particular area before a specific turn.
The series in SRW V are as follows:
Super Machine Zambot 3
The Unchallengable Daitarn 3
The Brave Express Might Gaine
Martian Successor Nadesico – The Prince of Darkness
Getter Robo Armageddon
Shin Mazinger Z
Full Metal Panic!
Rebuild of Evangelion
Space Battleship Yamato 2199
Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon
And several Gundam series:
Zeta, ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Hathaway’s Flash, Crossbones Gundam, Seed Destiny, 00 Movie Awakening of the Trailblazer, and Unicorn. The Units in the SRW series can be broken down into three categories: Battleship class, with the most HP and armor, but can barely dodge and act as mobile hospitals for other damaged units. The downsides are that they generally have very few attacks, and if they are destroyed, then it’s Game Over.
Super Robot Class units are M to 2L sized units that have slightly better dodge rates than Battleships, but have more attacks and hit very hard. The downsides is that they also use a lot of energy for their attacks, while they hit hard and can drop most enemies with one or two hits, they also run out of gas pretty quickly if they spam their best attacks. Nevertheless, at least they’re cool. Real Robot Class units are below M. They have much lower HP than the previous two class, but are more energy-efficient with most of their attacks and are very dodgy. Gundams mostly sit in this class, if you were curious.
The story of SRW V starts by following the Yamato as it prepares for a near 400,000 Light Year round-trip to get a technology that could restore the Earth. Shortly before the start of the game, the Gamillias launched a planet bomb at Earth, evaporating almost all the waters on the planet and giving humanity one year before extinction. Joining the Yamato are the player characters Soji, Chitose and their robot “Vangray” and its AI “Nine”.
As they travel from Earth, they pick up some stray Gundam pilots, Ryoma in the Black Getter, Tetsuya in Great Mazinger and even Setsuna in the 00-Raiser [Qua]T joins them as the latter three are sent into the Yamato’s universe by accident, a dimensional distortion later and the group is flung into another world where they meet Paramails and their pilots, the Nadesco and the Brave Express Corps.
After a disastrous fight on Mars, the group is flung into yet another universe, where they team up with the Gundam Unicorn, the Evangelions and Mazinger Z. From here, the group works out a way to travel between the different universes, dealing with various problems that come up along the way. They aren’t able to return to the Yamato’s universe until later in the game for various reasons.
Over-all, the game is a solid Strategy RPG with no glaring issues other than a few miss-translations, but that’s more due to language barriers than any other reason. Heck, the people who did the translation for the game “localized” a tongue twister. In the original version, it was about the Japanese postal system, in the English translation it was “She sells Sea Shells down by the Sea Shore”, which shows a level of dedication for the fans that some English localizers don’t have.
Cross Ange characters have some rather hilarious scenes, such as the following:
Ange: We’ve been here two weeks now. And every day you go to visit Gecko.
Tusk: Aw, c’mon. There are no men here. She’s interested in my physiology. Granted I didn’t think it was going to involve sexual education.
Ange: SEXUAL EDUCATION?!
Naga: Hope I didn’t come at a bad time.
Tusk: Oh, Naga, Kaname! Perfect timing! You can stop Ange from killing me.
Naga: We’ll stay out of your marriage problems, thanks.
Ange: We’re not married! (Atomic blush)
Or a later scene:
Momoka: Is that you, Angelise?
Ange: That’s right. I’ve brought the Villkiss and Tusk along with me.
Tusk: I’m the added bonus.
Ange: Hmph! Wouldn’t you have been happier if you had stayed behind to be taught sexual education?
Tusk: Oh C’mon! I’m trying really hard to earn back your lost trust!
Shinn: Sexual education?! Typical of a man!
Athrun: Sounds like you had it rough these last two weeks, Tusk.
As you can see, some of it was lost/butchered in translation, but you can get the gist of it.
And then there are scenes that shouldn’t be as cool as they are, like such:
Great Mightgaine: Arriving right on time! Great Mightgaine!
Banjo: So they were finally able to form Great Mightgaine.
Kappei: Here comes the Storm Hero!
Shinji: So cool!
Asuka: Give me a break! That’s like something out of a stupid hero comic or anime.
Akito: That’s what makes it so cool.
I don’t recommend this game for minors, as the inclusion of the Cross Ange story also includes all the risque moments from the show, some of which ends up with Ange being naked in cut-scenes among other things. (they keep the camera above her boobs, you pervs.) The final thing to say about this game specifically is that if you want a challenge, don’t use Mazinger Z, after it unlocks Mazin Power. It can handle anything thrown at it, no problem! (yes, it’s that powerful).
The last thing “Super Robot Wars” is known for is preserving the series within and introducing them to later generations who didn’t get to see the series growing up. Not only does it cause interest in those shows to get rekindled, but it also drives sales of DVDs and other merchandise and causes people to search out series they may have over-looked in the past.
+ Awesome music
+ The animations look like you’re watching an anime
+ Use your favorite units and have fun!
– Translation falls into the “Blind Idiot” part at times
– Some of the funniest/best stages and characters are secrets, and unless you know how, they are hard to unlock
– Very, very easy, especially after you unlock Mazinger Zero
Sound and Music: 5/5
Replay Value: 4/5
If you enjoy Strategy RPGs and mecha games, then you’re going to enjoy “Super Robot Wars V” for sure! And Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new series to get into as a result of playing the game?
Title: Super Robot Wars V
Developer: B.B. Studio
Format: Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita
Genre: Strategy RPG
Played on: Playstation Vita
Release Date: 2017-2-23
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Spent time: 40+ hours
Price: 61.99 USD via Play-Asia
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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