Review by JonAcheson
"Great tactical fun, even without the licensed mechs!"
The Super Robot Wars franchise is a long-running series of games that are famous for pitting the stars of nearly every major giant robot anime series against each other. However, up until now they have only come out in Japan, because in the overseas market, the rights to all of those giant robots are tied up in a web of different licensees, and some of those distributors don't want their robots to appear in any games in which they are not the only stars.
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation avoids those licensing issues by using only original characters, some of which have appeared in previous games.
In one way, that's kind of a shame, as I would love to see Giant Robo beat up on EVA Unit 01, but on the other hand, it's great to finally get to play one of these games.
There is no denying that this is a GBA game, and even so, it's not the best looking of them.
The main problem is that it can be difficult to distinguish the different robots from each other on the tactical map, as they are represented by just their heads, and all the icons for each side use the same color scheme. So, things are not as easy to distinguish as the units in Advance Wars are. On the other hand, the little scenes that play out when one unit attacks the other are much nicer than the ones in Advance Wars.
The original mechs are nicely designed, and even though they are done in a Super Deformed art style, it is pretty apparent which ones are Gundam sized mechs, and which are truly Giant Robots.
It would also have been nice if they could have put more effort into the conversational scenes that occur between battles. As in, it would have been nice to at least see the giant mechs that were being talked about, or the characters that are talking, rather than a static shot of an empty room, with the standard talking heads next to the dialog boxes.
The gameplay is where this game shines, and it is very deep, but somewhat difficult to fathom at first. There is not much in the way of a tutorial in the game itself, and the tiny instruction book that comes with the game only tells you what the controls are, not what the underlying strategy is. After I started to get the hang of it, I ended up starting over and playing the first few levels again so that I could do it right.
The important thing is to make sure that your hero character gets the majority of the Pilot Points that are given out for killing off enemy mecha. The simplest strategy for doing this is to have the supporting characters attack first, to weaken the enemy mecha, then have your hero attack to finish them off. If you attack first with your hero, the supporting characters will tend to rack up all the Pilot Points, which is not to your advantage.
There is a lot of depth to the gameplay, and after playing through 9 levels for each plotline, I feel like I have only scratched the surface.
This game is a lot of fun, assuming you like giant robot anime. The original mecha are pretty close analogs to your famous anime mechs, so I don't miss the licensed mechs all that much. And the strategy part of the game is fun and fast, with a satisfying amount of depth.
I expect to play this game over and over again. Very highly recommended. The only thing missing is a way to skip over the drama scenes, but you can breeze through them pretty quickly by hitting the A button repeatedly, so this is not a major flaw.
I love this game, and it has given me a reason to pick up my GBA SP again. It has taken the place of Advance Wars for me, at least until the next Advance Wars game arrives. I would love to see a DS version in the future.
Overall, if you think you might like this game, I urge you in the strongest terms to pick it up immediately. This will almost certainly become a hard to find title in the near future, and in the worst case you will probably be able to sell it for more than you paid for it. But I think that you probably decide to keep it for yourself instead, because it is such a great little game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/28/06
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