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Some people have Marvel vs Capcom for their crossover fix ,but me? Years ago, when I discovered that there was a video game series that had the likes of GaoGaiGar, Evangelion, and Gunbuster teaming up to fight evil space invaders, it was as if I had found out one of my childhood wishes had been granted.The Super Robot Taisen series has been a series that I’ve vicariously experienced for almost a decade. I’ve bought almost  every game in the series from the Super Famicom ones now to the most recent. Its a series that I’ve loved from afar, but really never experienced fully due to the language barrier and just simple patience. As of yesterday, that’s changed. After three weeks and 48 hours of game time, I finally have one of these games under my belt.Now, because of my lack of understand of the Japanese language, I really couldn’t tell you exactly what was going on in this game. The basic premise of the Z series has something to do with Zodiac Spheres, spheres that are apparently powered by a different and specific emotion. The antagonist, who is absent for this particular game due to something that happened during the previous game, is attempting to get each of the sphere holders to react to their specific sphere’s emotions. Apparently the antagonist  is immortal and he figures that once he activates all these spheres that something so bad will happen, something even someone who can’t die may not escape from. Theres also talk of alternate universes and Ba’al, some kind of threat whose existence is to wipe out all living things.

Convoluted? Yep! Hard to follow unless you actually know Japanese? You know it!

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While the story may be hard to follow, Super Robot Taisen’s grid based strategy gameplay is accessible enough that even someone who doesn’t know a lick of Japanese can probably get by fairly well. It also is a relief knowing that there are enough hardcore mecha enthusiasts out there that guides and wikis aren’t that hard to find.

I don’t know what Strategy Game series I would compare Super Robot Taisen to. My initial conclusion was that its like Fire Emblem, but in retrospect the only thing they really share are a vast number of enemy units per stage. The closest game I think I can compare it to, is Project X Zone which tried desperately to copy Super Robot Taisen’s crossover appeal and dense enemy unit per stage, but completely fell flat thanks to its vapid and repetitive combo gameplay.

You attack during your turns and then defend, evade, or trade attacks during the enemy’s turn. Its a Strategy RPG through and through. There are things like SR Points, optional and beneficial objectives in each stage that require you to jump through hoops in order to achieve. Most aren’t too bad and are just “defeat X amount of enemies by y turn” but there are some nerve wracking ones in between where you might have to annihilate a number of bosses in the same turn,or make sure who separate enemy factions don’t kill each other. On my first playthrough I achieved 40 something of these points out of a total of 60. Not bad too bad for a rookie.

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The animations in these games are really one of the main reasons so many people play this series.I assume, of course.  While Super Robot Taisen’s last home console game, Super Robot Taisen Original Generation 2 was a sight to behold when it came to its  mecha and attack animations.  Jigoku-hen  (also known as Z 3.1) falls short in many respects. Its understandable considering this game finds itself both on the Playstation 3 and the Vita so compromises might have been had to made, I do find it a bit regrettable.  Its not horrid by any means, but part of me can’t help but think what this game could have been if they had put as much effort as they put into Original Generation 2.

End Ramblings:

Hopefully you enjoyed Aquarion: EVOL, because it feels like a good 75% of the game focuses on its story. I thought it was interesting that I never really saw much from Gundam: Unicorn–I figured if there was one series they were going to really force into this game that it would have been that.

Rebuild of Evangelion showing up this late into the Z series is a bit distressing as well. Theres apparently a rule that these games never introduce a series that isn’t already complete. I guess they broke that rule for both Unicorn and Rebuild, but at least Unicorn will be done before Z3.2 comes out sometime next year. Rebuild on the other hand….who even knows when 4.0 is coming out, but I doubt we’ll be seeing in the next game…

I also found it strange that Gurren Lagann really didn’t come into play until the last couple stages. I never got around to playing the Z2 games which I know featured Gurren Lagann more heavily,  but I found how they ended this game with Gurren Lagann’s final battle to be rather abrupt. It was definitely way more exciting than I was expecting but I assumed the Anti-Spirals would show up earlier and be a more consistent threat than they actually were.

If you have the game or want to play the game but are worried about the language barrier, I suggest using this site as it has ample amounts of help information: http://akurasu.net/wiki/Super_Robot_Wars/Z3

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