Super Robot Wars is a franchise I’ve wanted in my life for many years. I’m not talking about the “Super Robot Wars: Original Generation”, that’s not what I was after. Super Robot Wars is a tactial strategy game [a’la Final Fantasy Tactics and their ilk] where a variety of the Giant Robot/Real Robot/Super Robot franchises all come together, via technological Deus Ex Machina or some kind of Magical McGuffin which tugs these universes/storylines together. And it’s not just “Mobile Suit Gundam” stuff either. I’ve seen in some of the games I have not had access to [because of translation reasons], Big O, Voltron, Texas Mack [from Getter Robo], Gigantor. You name it, it’s made an appearance. These worlds get pulled together to form a super-group of colossal proportions, everything from Evangelion to Cross Ange and Martian Successor Nadesico, to defeat a similarly super army of aliens and robots, usually something new, or maybe enemy forces from other anime join their cause.
These pilots learn about their loved ones, their goals, and there’s about a fifty to fifty ratio of story versus combat. These heroes bond over a common goal, but they don’t always stand together. Sometimes they are split up, because they no longer wish to fight, or have differing opinions, or are blasted across a planet from each other. For whatever reason, through a fair amount of the game, your party will change, so being aware of this is of the utmost importance. You gain skill points [at a kind of slow rate, if I’m being honest with myself], gain new parts for mobile suits, like repair kits, modules to make a mobile suit more viable in certain terrain, ammo/energy refills, you name it. What I found myself doing was looking over a flowchart of the stages, to see what characters appeared where and plotted my course according to who I wanted. Who are those people you might [or might not] be asking?
- Roux Luka [Pilots Zeta Gundam. Show: ZZ Gundam]
- Kincade Nau [Pilots F91, but also affiliated with Crossbones Gundam]
- Beecha Oleg [Pilots Hyaku Shiki. Show: ZZ Gundam]
- Ryoma Nagare [Pilots Black Getter. Film: Shin Getter Robo Change!]
- Asuka Langley [Come on. Evangelion 2.0]
There are some others that barely didn’t make the top five, like the Yamato itself, Black Mightgaine, his Divers, etc. It’s a pretty standard tactical game, where you can upgrade the suits, attach skills to pilots, become Aces, Super Aces [more kills brings you closer to being an Ace] and fall in love with an all-new story with some familiar [or not familiar, some of these programs never came to America as far as I know] faces. It’s wonderful. It has replayability in the hidden paths, hidden characters [YAZAN GABLE!], branching story paths, approaching stories with different pilots [because there are so … so… so … so many] and the list goes on. You can upload your own favorite Sentai/Mecha music [or whatever music], customize that, and the attacks coming as anime cutscenes is just… wonderful. I might sound like I’m gushing, but it’s been a genuinely wonderful experience. It’s what I’ve been waiting for for a decade, probably more.
Battles are pretty simple. You start with a larger ship, such as the Yamato, one of the Nadesico ships, etc, and deploy from there. Ranging from 5-9 pilots so far, not counting guests, you have an overarching goal such as defeating all the enemies. Pretty standard. When you activate an attack, you pick a skill according to certain criteria [some attacks require more Focus, which you get over the course of the battle], range, ammo [or sometimes not], or it might be one you couldn’t have moved into range for. You enter a cool cutscene and the enemy has a response too. But when you’re attacked, you can Attack Back, Defend, or Evade. If you have support units nearby [with the Support Attack/Defend Skills] they can help you accordingly. But you also have SR Points to try and achieve, and completing them gives a point, and 10,000 bucks to customize or purchase stuff with. Completing these can be an incredible challenge, or super easy, but I have not been able to figure out if completing them makes the stages easier or harder. I’ll know in my second playthrough for sure [which will happen, and will happen on Bottom Tier]. Stuff like “Kill this pilot but if he drops below half health he runs away]”, or “Kill 8 units in one turn”, but all the units have 7-9k hp, so you have to whittle them down, and then kill them all at once. You can send your pilots you aren’t using on sub-missions, like patrolling, practicing, for money, skill points, kills to add to their total kill count. Have someone you want to use, but they aren’t ready for battle? Here’s where you can power them up!
I Can See Them .. I Can See The Enemy: 5/5
Yes, I gave it a 5/5. It’s deserving of it for more reasons than me loving the franchises involved. The music is authentic, the voices are. The story is gripping and well-told, there are dozens of types of mobile suits, tons of replayability. It’s a style of game that could go very well or very poorly, but a lot of love and care was put into every single facet of it. The only negative I have is that non-Newtype pilots suck compared to their Spacenoid cousins. They take damage way more frequently because their dodge rating is a lot lower. I’m bummed that certain characters/suits are not in it [Char Aznable, Big O, Hell, I’d love to see Sentai Robots in it], but this is also my impassioned plea to Bandai Namco. This version of the game was only available in SE Asia, but it has English Menus so that I can play it on my PS4 because there is no region lock! Please, give us more of these. It’s frustrating to have to import a game that I can play normally. Or at least, a digital release. I know there are people who will thank you. Between you guys and Capcom [Sengoku BASARA], there are franchises we’ve seen glimpses of, but never really got to appreciate because they don’t come over here. Disc sales have become poor, or what have you. But this one is proof it can have English menus and still get sales. We want them. I want them. The OG Generation games weren’t enough. We want, need the real deal. Maybe there are licensing issues, but it’s not 2001 anymore, and it’s easier than ever to get ahold of classic anime or stuff that isn’t aired in America. It’s 2017, and the outcry for these kinds of games is louder than its ever been. Super Robot Wars V is one of the best tactical games I’ve possibly ever played.