Super Robot Wars V Review: Of Tactics and Japanese Mecha Crossovers

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Many of us grew up watching Japanese cartoons, especially during mornings of the weekend. There’s so many of them involving mechas, with the most notable case being Gundam. When we see these mechas in battle, we can’t help but imagine what it would be like if all of them were to exist in the same universe. Well, look no further than the Super Robot Wars videogame series and its latest entry for the PlayStation 4, Super Robot Wars V.

 

Super Robot Wars V: Brand New Storyline with Plenty of Universes Crossing Over

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In the war between the Federation and Zeon forces, humans have decided to travel to space in order to find new planets to colonize and call home. Since the war ended, a new era known as the 10 Blank Years began. Peace did not last long however as about a century after the war ended, the Gamillas appeared and and destroyed multiple planets, including Earth, and enslaving humanity.

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With Earth no longer around, humanity has roughly a year to survive but amidst all the chaos, a few people decided to take matters into their own hands and fight back to save humanity. Players can choose to play as Soji Murakumo, the nonchalant male protagonist who’s a member of the Moon Surface Special Strategy Research Institute Defense Party, or Chitose Kisaragi, the female protagonist and member of the 3rd Special Strategy Research Institute Defense Party.

Despite Soji being shown as the experienced pilot and Chitose having little to no experience with mechs, the 2 characters will have about the same experience throughout the game’s story. In fact, choosing either character will still have them pilot the Vangray. There will be minor differences for each character’s playthrough but nothing major.

 

Classic Super Robot Wars Experience

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The Super Robot Wars series can be considered a fanservice for diehard mecha anime fans. After all, you get to see a myriad of anime series like Evangelion, Gundam, Shin Mazinger, and more. At its core, Super Robot Wars V is still a turn-based strategy game featuring a storyline that combines plot points from the anime series included with an original storyline.

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Super Robot Wars V has a big number of scenarios, with each scenario having their own set of objectives to accomplish. At times, there will be factors listed in the mission objective that will lead to a game over. This could be anything from having certain mechs destroyed, failure to accomplish objective within a certain period of time, and more.

Furthermore, there’s also bonus objectives called ‘SR Point’ objectives, where accomplishing it will yield you 10,000 bonus credits which can be spent on upgrades, and make the game harder as you play through it. Why would you want the game to be harder? So you can gain powerful equipment that would not be available otherwise while playing through the game.

In each scenario, there will be a specific number of mechs that can be deployed and also a specific number of enemy mechs. Depending on the scenario there could reinforcements from your side or the enemy’s and these are scripted, meaning that you cannot control when and where the reinforcements will be appearing. Usually when it’s on the player side, it means that a new mech will be joining your team.

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Scenarios play out in a grid-type stage, where both the player and the enemies are only allowed to move a certain number of spaces. The combat system is very detailed for a strategy game, with each attack having its own range, and damage output could be affected by a myriad of factors such as terrain and attack type. Except for the earlier scenarios, it’s not easy and it requires a lot of thinking, which is what makes a strategy game enjoyable.

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After each scenario, there will be an intermission where players are allowed to upgrade their mechs and equip items for an easier time in battle for the next scenario. If players can fully upgrade a mech, they will be presented with a bonus upgrade option, which can differ from mech to mech. You can also teach the pilots new skills and upgrade their stats in the intermission menu as well. This is where you need to carefully plan out your upgrades as you would not want to waste your resources on someone that you’re not going to use or isn’t effective.

 

Beautiful Sprites, Fluid Battle Sequences

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In typical Super Robot Wars fashion, combat is simulated through battle sequences. Each mech will appear in 2D-esque sprite form and act out their attacks on the enemies. Despite not going full 3D in today’s age, the 2D-esque sprites are so detailed in high definition that the mechs look even better compared to their regular anime form.

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Not only that, the animation is very fluid and enjoyable to watch. The only downside here is that once you’ve seen a battle sequence a number of times, you might get bored of it and just skip it. Outside of battle, the map grid looks essentially the same from what we’ve seen during the PS2 era. If you’re expecting new visual elements here, you’re going to be disappointed.

 

Great Localization Quality

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Super Robot Wars has only been available in Japanese throughout the years. That is until their previous game, Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers, where we finally get to see the game translated to English. Super Robot Wars V is the 2nd time the series has received such treatment, and people were worried if they could properly translate the story’s depth, comedy, and elements. Let me put those worries to rest.

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At least within the mecha anime series that I’m familiar with; the stories are definitely intact and the translators managed to capture the essence of each character perfectly. And because the Japanese voiceovers are retained, it makes these characters and their interactions feel even more authentic and true to their original series.

 

Conclusion

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Super Robot Wars V is a wonderful strategy game that is jam packed with content from the get-go. However, it’s not a game that will suit most people. In fact, if you want to know whether this game is meant for you, you need to make sure you enjoy 2 things; Japanese mecha anime and turn-based strategy game. Fortunately, I am someone that fits the criteria and I enjoyed playing the game.

It would have been nice to see something more revolutionary as Super Robot Wars V is meant to be the series’ 25th anniversary celebration. However, since the game is catered to a general audience as opposed to only diehard fans of the series, it’s forgivable. Overall, I’d give Super Robot Wars V with our Silver Pokdeward! Big thanks to Bandai Namco Entertainment Asia for letting us review this game.