In today’s age of console gaming, asking individuals to name a solid, anime based, turn based strategy will most likely result in older titles. It’s rare for one to be released now in a age of more cinematic based games and even rarer for one to be translated and officially released in the west. The long running anime crossover series Super Robot Wars from Bandai Namco saw its latest iteration Super Robot Wars X released in the SEA region, with an English translation. Online retailers allow people to import and enjoy it in the west on the PlayStation 4. Still, we have to wonder if it’s worthwhile to import?
Super Robot Wars X
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PS Vita
Release Date: March 29th, 2018
Players: 1 Player
We begin our story with a selectable male or female protagonist, each with moderate changes in ability. The game is set in the world of Alwarth. Upon leaving the Magical Church worshiping Ende, the god of knowledge, with their companion and mentor Hopes, a talking owl, we follow the protagonist on their adventures through a mystical world in their mech.
Throughout the game, you’ll meet characters from popular mecha-based anime series such as Mobile Suit Gundam, Gurren Lagann, Code Geass, and Mazinkaiser, all of which have been dragged here from different worlds. A major surprise included is an appearance of the movie Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
The characters themselves are well written and the interactions are enjoyable. As the worlds collide, all the origins, history, concerns, and interactions are flushed out strongly and are a strong point to carry you throughout the game.
As they piece the puzzle of why they are jumping between worlds, the dynamic personalities bring something interesting, especially for the fans of the many anime appearances throughout the game. The translation is still done well and is understandable with very few parts that end up confusing.
Still, the characters don’t help the overall plot. The collision of worlds does give bits and pieces of each anime series injected as mini plots to the game. However, most of them rarely ever seem to be concluded. The overarching plot fades into the background quite a bit as well. Parts you become invested in may not appear again, if not seemingly too far into the game.
A consequence from this is the game becomes an incoherent mess and for the most part, uninteresting. For many fans this can be one of the weakest in the series. Thankfully, its story mostly is restrained only to this entry of the series and will more than likely be forgettable.
Overall, gameplay is simple. Units on your team takes turns moving on a grid based battle field and utilize attacks, skills. If you’re controlling the main character, magical abilities called dogma can be used in order to complete objectives and defeat enemies.
To get an edge in the game, you can upgrade your mecha stats using the games currency via buying usable items and accessories. Still, despite upgrades you can do to the different mechs, the game is too easy overall. It’s also very easy and barebones compared to previous titles in the series.
The grid maps do not have many, if not much at all in terms of obstacles for you to work around. At most some there are characters who cannot fly who in turn have to jump into water. Even with these disadvantages, it does not add much to the overall lacking difficulty.
The vast majority of time I would just look at my chances to hit and dodge, or counter attack. You also have a chance to have another friendly character near you do a follow up as well. The game is far to lenient on advantages given to the player, which really prevents the game from being challenging at all.
Visually, the game is quite simple in aesthetics but still has some strong points. The vast majority of the time you will be viewing the battlefield grid. It’s nothing special, with not many great animations or visual effects to see.
The small representative figures don’t have too much detail, and I’d often lose track of the character I wanted to move. Beyond this, however, the game has well drawn artwork when characters talk and interact. Some of the cutscenes included are even taken directly from the respective anime the mech is picked from.
What really stands out however are the battle animations. Just like the games before, they play like short movies and have memorable actions, and visual appeal. They never felt annoying, even if they can get repetitive. I was excited to see them with each character, until I noticed one fatal flaw.
Disappointingly to fans who’ve played the previous entry, Super Robot Wars V, you’ll notice that a lot of these animations are reused. Visually, it’s great for new players, however, despite the visual quality it just feels lazy. After awhile I ended up just skipping over them or fast forwarding through it to speed up playing through the game.
The audio to the game is one of the stronger points. The music in the game’s standard edition uses redone tracks from the various anime shows, which are combined with cameos from the anime and even some original songs. The premium sound and song version takes things one step further, using tracks ripped straight from the anime as well as original sound effects.
It is disappointing that they made two different versions just based on the audio, but it really does not take anything away from the game itself. Also, the game contains Japanese voice acting dialog for almost all major aspects of the game – which is definitely a big plus.
Super Robot Wars X screams that it’s only for one group of people: fans of mecha anime and Super Robot Wars. While I can separate myself from my attachment of the series for this critique, I feel like it’s not a bad game – it’s just not a good game either.
Lazy reusing of old animations, overly simplified and watered down mechanics, as well as lacking visuals in the main interactive part of the game really sets the bar low. Hopefully, the next entry to the series improves on the parts that are lacking. While I enjoyed some aspects of the game, ultimately it ended in disappointment.
Super Robot Wars X was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a review copy purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 6.5
- Character interactions and dialog
- Using audio tracks from the anime gives sense of nostalgia for animes making apparences that I seen before.
- Seeing many different anime character artwork styles blending together well and not disrupting the game
- Boring, half assed plot and never feeling satisfied if there is a conclusion.
- Reused battle animations from the previous entry making their return
- Battle grid is uninteresting
- Far to easy
Update June 4th, 2018: People have been coming at me with corrections and criticisms based on this review. I made a mistake that Nadia: Secret of Blue Water is a not a movie but a series. This Is true and Its been years since I seen it. Likewise I used Mobile Suit Gundam as a generalization of the series as a whole. I do like Super Robot Wars personally but had to make my judgement based on what was given with the game. I still stand by my score and still love the game series and this entry is a decent addition and will continue playing the games in the future. However my score was based around what the game has presented to me and my time with it. I felt that this game is one of the weaker entries of the series but I am still proud to own it. The plot, the constant reuse of animations and wishing there was more strategic aspects of the game all left me wanting so much more out of this entry.