Review by DarkWizard

Reviewed: 10/02/06

Its first entry into North American shores does not disappoint.

For many of us, this is our first game in the Super Robot Wars (Taisen) series. Reason for the other games to be held back from North American shores include licencing problems, and the number of robot anime involved that we have not seen. Luckily, the Original Generation series is free from those limits, so it made its way over here relatively easy. At first glance, this game looks to be a simplistic, robot anime game, and judging from the multitude of mediocre anime based games, this one manages to break that stereotype, and establishes itself as an amazing deep and fun game.

For a game that has a considerable amount of politics involved, it was really easy to get into and is really interesting. Characters are well developed and their personalities will be the source of many humour scenes. Story scenes between missions can be short to lengthy, but thankfully, there is a feature that allows you to fast forward through all the text in case you have to restart a mission. By the end of the game, you will feel as if you know the characters.

For the first time in a long while, I find a game that actually poses a challenge. The enemies themselves are not hard, but it is the Battle Masteries required for a secret mission and couple other items that makes this game a real challenge. The Battle Masteries are not mandatory, but it adds a lot to the game's challenge. Oftentimes you'll find yourself scrambling and try to position your units in a way so that you will be able to destroy all the enemy units within a specific number of turns. Chances are, you're going to go through the mission couple times before you get a good strategy down and fulfill the Battle Mastery. Other times, you'll be carefully selecting you attacks to reduce the enemy's HP to an amount before they would retreat before blasting it with your strongest attack in an attempt to wipe it out. Things like this can drag a battle on for a longer period of time, but once you do finish it, you'll get the satisfaction of knowing you earned the Battle Mastery, and you got to shoot some evil guy down. However, the types of Battle Masteries is really limited. By the time you're half way through, you'll be sick of wiping out every enemy unit with a strict time frame. Then in the second half, you'll be sick of trying to lower the boss' HP down to a manageable level before using your trump card to finish it. The game can really use a larger variety of Battle Masteries.

Boss units in this game are no push overs. Most of your attacks will miss, and most of your units are prone to a 1-2 hit KO. However, thanks to the use of Spirit Commands, you can easily extend the survivability of your weaker mechs. The Spirit Command is fairly essential late game, and adds variety to a rather simple move and shoot SRPG.

The customization of the mechs is pretty basic, ranging from upgrading weapons, pilot stats, to improving mech stats, but they can be the deciding factor whether you can get that Battle Mastery or if the unit will survive the mission. And for those that like to powerlevel and grind for lots of money to turn your units into uber killing machines, that is not going to happen for the first two times you play the game. The upgrades are simply too expensive, and too many mechs to uberize. This also leads to an even greater challenge in game since you can't powerlevel your units.

The music is lively, and it does not get old since the battle theme will change from character to character, depending on the game they came from. Attacks have a nice variety of sounds, so weak attacks will sound weak, and strong attacks will sound destructive/

For a game that is about 4 years old, the graphics does not disappoint, but they aren't impressive either. Animation is limited, but for the existing ones, the animations are quite fluid and looks exciting. Special signature attacks will have portrait cut ins, and will generally have some extra dazzle and spark to separate them from the normal attacks.

In conclusion, this game is very well done. A well written story, a cast of interesting and well developed characters, and a challenging and fun battle system makes this game a must get for SRPG fans. Coming soon also is the sequel to this game, and hopefully if these two sell well, Atlus may even bring over the PS2 remake over.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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