Feb 182013
 

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Mecha Monday! Today I’m here to review a Super Robot Wars title, the most recent title. Super Robot Wars Original Generations 2, for the PS3. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, I’d suggest you check out my Super Robot Wars Primer. OGs2, as it’s usually shortened to, is the Banpresto’s first foray into the HD world. Released November 29, 2012, it comes fairly late in the PS3’s lifecycle, but Banpresto generally doesn’t have the kind of crazy resources to work with in order to churn out a brand new HD work like some other companies can. Hopefully, with 1 HD work under their belt, they’ll have the assets and resources along with the know-how to make a few more in the future. So how does their first title stack up?

OGS2 Logo

Well, first things first. While the Super Robot Wars series is perhaps best known for the crossover between various mecha anime and other mecha works, the Original Generation series actually has NO licensed mecha. It has its own (somewhat) original story, and own (somewhat) original mechs. In some ways, it makes for a more interesting title in my opinion. In a normal SRW title, you can kind of predict the events of the game, and what mechs and abilities you’ll have at your disposal. For the most part, this isn’t really the case in OG games, which keeps an element of surprise in the game. Now, the original generation series is actually partially available in English. Namely, the first 2 games for the GBA, Original Generation 1 and 2. Unfortunately, both of these titles were retconned (albeit in minor ways) into the PS2 release Original Generations, which never saw a stateside release. OGs was further expanded upon by Original Generations Gaiden, and the sequel to that title is where we’re at now.

The Exbein Ashe, the coolest new mech in SRW

The Exbein Ashe, the coolest new mech in SRW

When I say that the mecha and plotlines in the OG games are only “somewhat” original, I mean that they are not wholly new to the SRW series. What the OG series has been doing in formulating its plot is actually incorporating and combining the various original plots of previous SRW games. As a result, you’ll see original mechs from other SRW games. Featured prominently in OGs2 are the mechs from SRW D, SRW MX, Real Robot Regiment, and SRW Alpha 2. In addition, the beginning of the game heavily features the SRW EX plot, though this is mostly ignored as you go through the rest of the game.

This may seem a bit overwhelming to a player that’s new to the series. Particularly if you’re like me, and can’t actually read Japanese (not that well, anyway). While there are plenty of gameplay tips and help you can find online, a story translation isn’t really out anywhere. There is a fairly good summary I’ve found here, but it is by no means complete or polished. The plot is actually quite intricate and interesting, if that’s your thing, but it is by no means necessary to really enjoy the game.

Exbein Ashe attacks, so cool~

The gameplay is quite similar to past SRW titles. It’s a turn-based strategy RPG. There are a variety of factors to consider as you deploy and make your way to the enemy, such as terrain and weapons and your own units defensive abilities, etc. As far as sheer difficulty goes, this game (along with most modern SRW games) isn’t very difficult. There are these things called SR points on each level, which can up the difficulty of maps (sometimes significantly). Additionally, collecting more SR points actually puts the game into “hard mode” in which the enemies are generally tougher. An interesting note, if you wish to get the best ending, you do need at least 42 SR points. If you’re craving for more difficulty, you can access EX-hard mode after you beat the game once, which gives each enemy +3 weapon upgrades, along with +30 kills so they reach their ace bonus faster. Additionally, you are forbidden from upgrading either your mechs or pilots, and the game is permanently on hard mode. So while the normal game isn’t all that challenging, the challenge is there if you look for it.

How the map and general gameplay will look. The red is your attack's range.

How the map and general gameplay will look. The red is your attack’s range.

OGs2 did not offer all that much in terms of innovations to the series, but there are several new and interesting features that make their debut in this game. Since the OG roster has grown so large, the player has finally been offered something of a “squad” system. Instead of the fairly annoying partner system in Original Generations and Original Generations Gaiden, in which you could only partner units while playing the map and only when each unit had 110+ morale, now you can partner units in the intermission menu and the morale requirement has been removed. That is a welcome change as the roster has only been growing in recent years. Additionally, the game introduces a brand new system called “ability parts”.

The ability parts system is a totally new system, though not one that heavily impacts gameplay. Essentially, each mech and pilot has 3 ability slots. In order to activate an ability, you have to assign 3 of the same ability to the mech/pilot combination. Examples of this include a 5% boost when using ammo-based weaponry, or +1 to your movement range. What’s interesting about this system is that the abilities affect each unit in a twin, so if you apply the range +1 ability to one mech, both mechs in the twin get that ability. Of course, this means that the second mech would not have that ability if it were to separate. To be quite honest, it’s just another way to expand the already existing parts system, which does something fairly similar. It’s not a wholly unwelcome system, but it doesn’t offer very much new material.

Attacks from the Fabularis, one of my new favorite units.

For Banpresto’s first HD SRW title, the graphics were one of my major concerns, and I’m sure it was on the minds of most people who play the series. I mean this particularly in the context of mech attack animations, which is one of the biggest draws to the SRW series. Unfortunately, this title fell somewhat short of my expectations. The title was originally delayed once, and then it seems like it was rushed out. As a result, in terms of attack animations, it is clear that the new units got the lion’s share of time and effort (as they have not had an HD lift) whereas many of the recurring units from OGs and OGG simply had their animations receive minor touch-ups. Additionally, some of the other new graphical features, such as the 3D camera for map movement is definitely utilized less near the end of the game. All of these signs point to a somewhat rushed title.

Now as a fan I am willing to accept this, if the new material was good. Fortunately, the SRW team did not disappoint there. There’s a wealth of great music, cool attacks, and fantastic animations here for me to enjoy. Taking an objective look at this game, parts were definitely rushed and assets were reused. However, being the crazy fan I am, I loved every second of it. I am currently nearing the end of my second playthrough, and have plans for at least one more.

Attacks from the Flickerei Geist, another one of my new favorite units.

For anyone interested in purchasing this game, I paid about $90 for my copy I ordered off amazon (the US amazon). I got the Asia-region version, because for whatever reason the Japanese-region version was more expensive. To my knowledge there is literally no difference between the two functionally, so it didn’t bother me much. And, of course, this game is NOT region-locked, so any PS3 system should be able to play this title without a hitch!

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Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

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