By Steve Baltimore / August 26th, 2016
|Title||Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers|
|Release Date||August 5th, 2016|
I had heard a lot about the Super Robot Wars series over the years but had yet to play any of the games or check out the anime. Since Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers would be getting an English release in Asia and was promoted as a good jumping on point for the franchise, I got pretty excited. So when the opportunity to check this out came along I jumped on it. Did I find a new series to love, or get in way over my head?
This game features a few different story paths. The all new beginner mode explores the story from the perspective of protagonist Touya Shiun as he tries to understand what is going on after his father dies from injuries he sustained in a battle and left two young ladies in his care. There are other paths that are can be selected when not playing in Beginner Mode. One is kind of a prequel to things that take place in Touya’s path and the others focus on the game’s heroine, Calvina Coulange. Though no matter which path you take, the main story is pretty much unchanged from what I can understand of it.
To be completely honest, the story of this game was confusing to me. This game was touted as a good entry point into the series, but I can honestly say that is completely false. Even with the extensive in-game glossary, I had a very hard time figuring out when the events took place that they were referencing, who all the players from the different factions were, and what even was going on most of the time. It doesn’t help that the translation is pretty rough here as well, with lots of typos and poor grammar plaguing this localization. Honestly, a lot of the dialogue is written as if the characters have no personality at all. Even though this sounds horrible it’s most likely not near as bad to someone that has knowledge of the series. This game has made me very curious about the series now and I will likely be checking out more of the games and anime really soon.
This game is visually pleasing for the most part. The character portraits for the in-game cut scenes are a mixed bag. You can tell some of these are older art that has just been upscaled for this game. The battle animations are what really makes this game shine. These moves are the craziest, most over the top, mecha anime styled attacks you will ever see in a video game and they are fantastic. My jaw dropped as I saw some of these attacks being executed. I felt like a little kid that was discovering Mecha anime for the first time all over again. These attacks can change up when certain rival characters meet on the battlefield or depending on which pilots are in which mecha. The battlefields themselves, however, leave a lot to be desired. They are not very detailed and it’s easy to lose where your characters are because they are so tiny. You can tap the L and R trigger to cycle though your units and the enemy units, but it is kind of a pain.
While I thought most of the music was pretty generic during the visual novel style cut scenes, the battle music was top notch. During the previously mentioned battle animations each character and some bosses have their own themes. I never knew I wanted this in a strategy game like this, but it does amp up the combat quite a bit. Most of the spoken dialogue occurs during the battle scenes. The actors do a fantastic job making these scenes larger than life. Some may call this a bit cheesy, but personally I thought it was great!
The gameplay itself is that of a standard grid based strategy game. Players will have to be aware of the terrain on the battlefield as certain tiles on the grid will give you different perks, such as forest titles raising your evasion. There are tons of different attacks with varying ranges and effects for each mecha. Some mecha even have unison attacks when grouped together but be aware if you use an attack that targets several spaces on the map, friendly units will be affected as well.
You also have Spirit abilities at your disposal. The effects of these range from restoring HP to having a 100% hit rate, or leaving an enemy with just a few HP remaining. I know you’re saying “why would I want to spare an enemy?” Some victory conditions require you only reduce your foes to a certain level of HP rather than destroying them. It took me about two battles to discover that glorious Mercy skill and save my sanity, because my pilots live by the motto go hard or go home and they would destroy them in one hit. Speaking of victory conditions, most of then are pretty straightforward. Most of the time it is defeat these enemies and these units must survive. Each map will contain an SR point objective as well. By completing these objectives on each map you will not only earn a SR point, which adjusts the difficulty of the game based on how many points you’ve earned, but you will gain some PP to upgrade your pilots skills with as well. I did not obtain all of these during my playthrough, but I’ve heard from fans of the series obtaining all of these will have an effect on the story ending.
While the story was completely confusing and the localization very lackluster, I still had a lot of fun with Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers. The gameplay is fun and those combat animations are just a pure joy to watch. I spent around 50 hours to complete the story once, and there is a New Game+ option so you can carry over some stats and such to see the other story paths or shoot for all the SR points. If you’re a fan of the series, you will enjoy this title and should definitely jump in at the $65.99 price tag. Though if you are new to series or are just curious about it, I would recommend either checking out some of the previous titles first or watching the anime series so you won’t be as lost as I was with the story.
*Reviewer’s note: This score is subject to change if Bandai Namco were to patch up the localization in the future*
The game was provided by Play-Asia for review purposes. If you would like to purchase a copy of the game for yourself, please use the affiliate link below.
Bandai NamcoBanprestomechaPlay AsiaSuper Robot Wars