Another mid-year Super Robot Wars review! Yes, after V and X we now have T, and while I was slightly disappointed by this game’s easier difficulty I was thrilled with the inclusion of Cowboy Bebop! Let’s take a closer look…
This is Guy from “GaoGaiGar” …. Bravery is sort of his thing, though I may have got one of the only times he used the word “courage” instead…
Super Robot Wars T was released for the PS4 on March 20th 2019 for both the PS4 and Switch, with the PS4 “Asia version” once again coming with a completely translated English version! (obviously, otherwise I’d struggle to get through all 50 odd levels without a plot to follow…)
The game features characters, units, locations and often storylines from: Gundam, specifically Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Char’s Counterattack: Beltorchika’s Children, Crossbone Gundam and Mobile Fighter G Gundam, as well as Invincible Robo Trider G7, Brave Express Might Gaine, King of Braves GaoGaiGar, Gunbuster, Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture – Prince of Darkness, Getter Robo Armageddon, Mazinger Z: Infinity, Aura Battler Dunbine, New Story of Aura Battler Dunbine, Armoured Trooper Votoms, Cowboy Bebop, Arcadia of my Youth: Endless Orbit SSX, Magic Knight Rayearth, Gun X Sword and Expelled From Paradise. It also features characters and mechs from older Super Robot Wars games, including V and X! (though sadly to actually unlock and play as these units you need to buy DLC…)
In case you can’t tell, Magic Knight Rayearth is a Shojo series…
Round three of explaining the many systems of Super Robot Wars. So essentially the game is a cross between a Tactical RPG and a visual novel, but staring mechs and robots from a whole bunch of different anime. So before, during and after playing a map you get plenty of dialogue and story exposition told to you via character artwork and text boxes, which can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but it is broken up by the actual gameplay. You deploy a certain amount of mechs and characters onto a map made of a square grid, and you can move your characters a certain amount of spaces, do a certain amount of damage to enemies and resist a certain amount of damage from enemies in a turn based format to varying levels based on character and mech stats and equipment.
In between levels you can move through a whole bunch of menus to do the upgrading, levelling up and equipment buying / selling / equipping. There are several other menus and modifiers at play as well. TAC Points can be earned during play mostly by recreating something from one of the shows (like using Amuro to shoot down Char, that sort of thing) and they’re used to buy new equipment, upgrade your overall tech level up to six (picking one of three permanent modifiers each time) and upgrade pilot stats. Money is also earned during play and can be spent on upgrading robot / mech stats. Training is available as well and is set in four areas that give you more TAC Points, more money, specific pilots more kills and specific pilots two extra levels of Experience. In the past two games if you used a character on the previous map they weren’t available for training but this time you can use any pilot for training regardless of whether you used them, and even later expand how many pilots you can train each time, making it extremely easy to level characters up and get them to Ace and Great Ace ranks (60 total kills, 80 total kills) in between actual combat.
That it is, Domon…. That it is.
During fighting your pilots have four stats, Health, Energy, Morale and SP. Health is obvious, energy is used up by moving and attacking with the bigger the attack the more energy being used (though some attacks use ammo instead, which is a set amount of uses), Morale goes up the more enemies are downed with the bigger attacks only being available at higher morale levels, and SP allows you to use Pilot Skills that can give you 100% accuracy for one battle, drop the enemy’s accuracy to 0%, give health, give you attack +120% for one move, that sort of thing, with again the bigger the buff the more SP is used. SP does go up during battle but slowly, so sometimes it’s best not to over-use some of them. Every time you shoot down an enemy that character gets an Exec point which can be used to access special buffs by spending two or three Exec points, with Capital ships also having the ability to spend Exec points of “ExOrders” which can help out mechs/robots nearby. New to T is “Supporter Commands” which is basically like Skills but use a combined pool of group SP points and some of the buffs benefit everyone.
The difficulty once again changes based on how well you do. Each map has a special requirement to unlock an “SR Point”, the more SR Points you have the more difficult the game becomes, so the better you play the more the game tries to keep up with you. That being said once again, like V and X, I didn’t lose on a single map and maybe lost a total of two pilots/mechs across the entire 50+ levels despite getting most of the SR Points, and thanks to the extra slots / training of already deployed characters the last few levels were even more of a breeze. Again, fun, but not challenging, and the best kind of game is both…
Graphics and Sound:
This pretty much sums up Ryoma’s character is one word, really…
Much like the previous two entries the graphics are fine, the menus and text are clear, the animations for mech and robot attacks are pleasing to the eye and the on-map 3D models do the job. It’s not graphically intensive, but for a multi-franchise crossover T-RPG it’s fine.
Music once again features licensed music from each franchise every time someone from each franchise attacks or has something storyline important happen, otherwise there is some original background music. Sadly there are a few tracks repeated from both V and X (seriously the “sudden threat” BGM needs to be changed before I lose my mind!) but some of the menus and the level up sounds have be swapped out for a new track, so that’s something! It’s not bad or anything, but given this is the third game that I’ve put nearly two months into in three years some of the tunes are getting on my nerves now. There are some voice work for attacks but mostly the dialogue is just text to read.
Captain Harlock … um, well, fires the main cannons!
As all these games go there is a core original story with all-new characters surrounded by plotlines from the other works added in. Sadly I have to say that the protagonist is probably the weakest of the “VXT trilogy” and I never really connected with him (and yes you can pick a female protagonist instead but much like V you have a young female co-pilot either way so it made far more sense to have a male protagonist with her to bounce off of)
So you play as Saizo Tokitou (or again, Sagiri Sakurai, if you want) who is a proud Salaryman for the VTX Corporation and works for “Special Section 3” as a test pilot for their new “Tyranado” mobile suit. He is joined by co-pilot Rami Amasaki and a trio of other SS3 members who follow in a craft alongside the suit for the duration of the game. The company is ran by Dyma Goldwin, a former ace pilot, while the Earth President is Ame Presbund, also a former pilot and friend of Dyma. The main original threat is a multiple-galaxy-wide empire known as the UND who wish to make a deal with Earth that would allow them to take 1 billion humans to use as an extra army in some far-flung warfront.
This story is combined with Van and his quest for revenge against “The Claw” for the death of his wife (Gun X Sword), the Mazinger pilots fight against the returning Dr. Hell and the new Mazinger Infinity (which at least makes a change from the last two games adapting the Mazinger Zero storyline…), a couple of Neo-Zeon factions are former and the key pilots of the original UC Gundam shows unite to take them on, a trio of Earth girls are selected to pilot God Runes in a magical dimension (Magical Knight Rayearth), the Devil Gundam (or Dark Gundam, if you will) and its deadly DG Cells return alongside a believed-dead Master Asia to cause Doman Kasshu and his Shuffle Alliance some issues, and other stories, like the crew of the Bebop going from one bounty to the next but then getting caught up in the over-all story, Captain Harlock’s Arcadia searching for the fabled land of the same name, the Getter Robo team reuniting or the Gunbuster anti-alien force being deployed for the first time also occur alongside other characters just appearing and getting only brief times in the spotlight (mostly series that are making their third appearance in a row, like Might Gaine and Crossbone Gundam)
Hmmm…. Now there’s a catchy pre-fight sentence! …. *sigh*
In the end the super-evil looking President Presbund shocks everyone by betraying humanity and joins up with the UND, but is then defeated and the UND force taken out by our heroes. Goldwin, who had seemingly sacrificed himself to stop the UND earlier in the story, turns out to be alive and well and after delivering the final blow to Presbund decides that now the UND has been defeated it would be best if humanity spread out across the stars and conquer all civilizations and planets it comes across. This, funnily enough, doesn’t sit well with our large ensemble cast and so they defeat him (and Presbund, who turns out also faked his death, but then is actually killed this time in the most pointless plot twist ever) and THEN we get our happily ever after ending…
*ENDING SPOILERS END*
Basically the lead protagonist just constantly talks about being a Salaryman, having pride in being a Salaryman and how his only goal in life is to make profit for VTX. You’d think this was a set up for him to gain a personality and will for himself as character development, but he just stays the same for the whole story, only encouraging his young alien (not really a spoiler as its revealed in her introduction) co-pilot to also be a good Salaryman and starting off every attack talking about having “VTX company pride”. It’s so weird, it’s like a jokey side-character, not a lead protagonist! This really hurt the storyline, the big finale didn’t feel all that big (though that may be due to not feeling any threat at any point…) and there was no pay-off to our lead character. Ah well…
I feel it might be worth tracking Gun X Sword down just to find out why the hell he yells “Chestoh!!” all the time… Well, beyond the fact he’s normally cutting a rival suit’s chest… oh.
While there are a few stand-alone missions you can download like the last two games there is actually a DLC storyline you can buy, Season Pass-style. It creates a crossover with the cast of T and the original characters and mechs of V and X, plus a few older SRW mechs that have appeared as bonuses in V and X (in other words, so they don’t have to create new assets). It sounds really fun, but not fun enough to find out how to buy it from the Asian Sony store with my English Sony account. As an annoying tease I unlocked Secret Scenarios featuring the cast of V and X, including controlling them, but they vanished after their respective missions…
Oh yes, they went there… How could you not?
If Super Robot Wars T is your first experience with the series you’ll probably end up loving it, but being the third lengthy SRW game I played in three years combined with it being made even easier and having a really dull protagonist I have to say it’s the weakest of the “VXT Trilogy”. Which is a shame because I love Cowboy Bebop so much and ended up really enjoying the Gun X Sword characters, but it was just hard to get invested in. I know Super Robot Wars 30 is being released at the end of the year, but I’ll probably at least take a year off from the franchise and buy SRW30 in 2023… Probably.