By Ashley Ring / August 9th, 2016
|Title||Assault Suit Leynos|
|Publisher||Rising Star Games|
|Release Date||July 12th, 2016 (PS4 digital)|
Assault Suit Leynos is a series that’s been on my radar for several years, ever since I laid eyes on the second game for the Sega Saturn. It looked like some classic sidescrolling shooting action, but with mechs. When I had heard that the first game was getting remastered, as well as getting a Western release, you can bet I was excited. Finally, I would get to check out this series, and in English too! Now that the game is here, did it live up to all of my own hype?
My initial impression was not a very good one. I was having trouble adjusting to the controls, and I died not long after I started. In hindsight, I probably should have done the practice mode that’s available in the options menu. After failing a few times, I started to get the hang of the mech’s weight during movement, and the way that aiming works. After getting the hang of everything, I was really enjoying playing Assault Suit Leynos.
Graphically the game looks good, with nicely animated sprites and effects when enemies explode upon defeat. The backgrounds, especially the ones that take place in outer space, look great with a nice level of detail to create what felt like a classic arcade game. In fact, feeling like a classic arcade game is probably the best way to describe every aspect of this game. It’s fast-paced, fun, and has no downtime.
The game plays like a fast paced 2D sidescrolling shooter. You’ll shoot your way through 8 different stages with varying mission objectives. The shooting itself feels great and allows you to adjust where you’re aiming by holding a direction on the d-pad. I wasn’t a big fan of the way aiming works at first. It felt like I was just firing a lot of bullets, and not hitting anything, especially when moving targets were involved. However, I soon learned that by holding down the L1 button while aiming, the exact angle you’re aiming at will be locked, and uninterrupted. This made aiming feel much better and more natural.
Shooting is not the only thing you can do in Assault Suit Leynos. Whenever an enemy is nearby you can also press triangle to unleash a punch that manages to kill the common enemy mechs in just one hit! Because of this, punching is something definitely worth taking advantage of, especially when you have mission objectives that involve protecting someone, and the enemy starts to get a little too close for comfort. In addition to the punch, you can also block with your shield by holding R1, and boost jump with your jetpack by holding X. Blocking is incredibly important, as you take a lot of damage very quickly. The shield can block almost every single attack in the game without damaging you at all. Since you take damage so fast and easily, your health regenerates fairly quickly as long as you’re not getting hit. It’ll even regenerate if you’re blocking enemy fire with your shield. While it might sound like this makes the game too easy, it really doesn’t. It’s still very easy to die, as you’re often getting shot at in many different directions that your shield won’t always be able to cover.
Before you start each mission, you’re given a quick mission briefing to give you some background story on the significance of the mission. The mission briefings themselves are unfortunately very difficult to read, with what feels like a very low-resolution text being used. Luckily, the game tells you on the top of the screen what the actual mission objective is. The varied mission objectives are one of the things I liked most about this game. Each stage has its own objective, and it’s important to pay attention to what that is, or you may find yourself failing a mission very quickly. Some stages may have you protecting a giant spaceship from enemy fire, escorting a few robots, or my personal favorite, just destroy everything in your path. The protection and escort missions are not as tedious as they may sound. Most of the enemies can be dealt with very easily to where they don’t even manage to get close to what you’re trying to protect.
Sometimes during the middle of a mission, you’ll also be given a new mission objective. It’s important to pay attention to the NPC’s dialogue that’s going on during gameplay, because failing to notice the change in your objective will more often than not lead to your death. Amongst all the NPC chatter towards the end of the third mission, you’re given a new mission objective to make it back to your ship before it starts to enter the Earth’s atmosphere. It can be a little difficult to pay attention to the gameplay and read the dialogue at the same time, but not so much that it ever hindered my experience with Assault Suit Leynos.
There is also a fair number of weapons and other useful things to equip yourself with before each mission like a shield and more armor. Each weapon has its up and downs, and you’re given a preview of what the weapon looks like in action before selecting it. The main weapon you should probably always want with you is the HG-Gun. It’s a fast, moderately powerful assault rifle and has infinite ammo. Most of the other weapons in the game have limited ammo but come in handy in certain situations. Other than the HG-Gun, the other guns that I found most useful were a grenade launcher that’s great for damaging larger enemies, and a spreader that shoots multiple bullets in several directions.
As you complete each mission, you unlock different weapons. It’s important to try to get a good ranking on each mission, as the better your rank is, the more weapons you unlock. During my first playthrough of the game, I got to the very end of the game getting mostly C ranks on the missions, and because of this, I had very weak weapons to choose from. It got to a point where I was finding myself unable to progress on the very last stage because I just couldn’t do enough damage before a certain amount of time was up. Thankfully, once you know each mission objective, it’s very easy to get an A or S rank. In my second playthrough, I managed to get an S rank on every single mission except for the last one. Once I had better weapons to play with, everything became so much more fun, and I think that’s when Assault Suit Leynos really clicked with me and became addictive.
In addition to all that in the main game, Assault Suit Leynos also offers a number of extras and unlockables. In the games options menu, you can access Classic Mode, which is a much harder version of the game that’s more akin to the difficulty of the original Mega Drive game, as well as its soundtrack. Classic mode is very difficult. After many playthroughs of the remastered version of the game, I still struggled to make it through classic mode. It throws what feels like never ending waves of enemies. If you felt the remastered version of the game’s difficulty was too easy, give this mode a go, it certainly kicked my butt!
There are also a number of unlockables you can earn by trading in your points in the games options menu. These unlockables range from cosmetic features, like playing the game with the original Mega Drive soundtrack and sound effects, to extremely useful things like displaying a bar for your jetpacks fuel, or my personal favorite, a laser sight for the HG-Gun. This laser sight makes aiming with that gun a lot easier and smoother because you can clearly see where your shot is going to end up.
Despite my initial feelings about the game, Assault Suit Leynos is a game I found myself falling in love with the more I played it. It’s a great game to just sit down and play when you want to just get a quick game in, clocking in about roughly an hour of playtime for the games 8 stages once you get used to the games controls and mission objectives. It’s a highly replayable game, one that I find myself coming back to several times a week. At its current asking price of $19.99 it may seem a little steep for a game that only lasts an hour, but it’s the kind of game that just begs to be played over and over. Assault Suit Leynos absolutely met, and exceeded, my initial expectations and hype! Now I can only hope for a remaster of the second game!
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Assault Suit LeynosPlayStation 4ReviewRising Star Games