Title: Super Robot Wars 30
Release Date: October 27, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Here we are, 30 years later, the west finally officially receives a Robot Wars release, Super Robot Wars 30. Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’ve been a fan since the early ’90s, but since around 2016, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole with this series’ entries and all of the spin-offs. I’ll admit, it’s not the easiest fanservice to get behind, and it requires a high level of player interest to be enjoyed, but this is a mecha nerd’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared especially for them.
Super Robot Wars 30 has a campaign that merely exists for early 90s to modern Mobile Suit and mecha characters to join together to fight Neo Zeon enemies and the like. It’s nonsensical but surprisingly easy to follow. This is mainly due to the option to pull the encyclopedia on every character as they are speaking to receive their full lore summary. This also works with highlighted text during dialog. It’s in-depth and fantastic for those who only know of a few of these characters, essentially opening up the possibility for players to check out these characters in their respective franchises.
Players can choose a mission from a list, which sets the stage for the battle at hand. Of course, the missions will always be epic to the point where the overdramatized character banter will make you believe that they might lose, but someone will always make an entrance to save the day. It’s so stupidly cool, though, and you can’t help but feel like you are watching some over-the-top anime episode featuring all these intense pilots.
Following missions, you’ll add a few new mechas to your character list and then move on to the next mission. Rewards are granted for you to equipment your favorite mechas and base, which adds buffs to characters and higher rewards. There are a few types of in-game points, but it mostly comes down to simply completing the mission. In fact, you can bet that all your favorite mechas will be pretty tough after a few missions, which will make them strong enough to face any challenge. Well, on Normal difficulty at least.
You see, Super Robot Wars 30 is an incredibly easy SRPG that will likely not provide anyone with an ounce of understanding of the genre, a challenge if played on Normal. There’s an option for Auto Battle as well, which will get you through most missions on this difficulty setting, so that’s why you’d probably want to turn it up a bit. There is fun in positioning your troops on the field and actually feeling the intensity the story hopes to deliver. That way, when reinforcements show up, and you’re on the brink of defeat, you can celebrate with the rest of the pilots.
Most of the spectacle of this game comes in the form of attack animations. Each mecha has its own abilities and skills that can be upgraded throughout the campaign. This gives variety to their animations, but the player-controlled protagonist seems only to have one loadout available. You’ll enjoy them the first couple of viewings, but after a few, you’ll likely skip them.
Each time a character is attacked, their corresponding soundtrack plays. Further, some missions feature video intros, but the resolution is a little small. I notice that some of the mechas don’t look too good up close, but there are times when they are clear as day. I didn’t understand how some looked great while others appeared pixelated. Still, everything comes together nicely for the experience that fans want.
Accessibility to newcomers comes with easier difficulties and auto functionality, but also with the in-game systems themselves. The UI is not easy to navigate and appears dated, providing menus inside of menus of stuff players can upgrade.
However, none of it really matters because, in the end, you can max out whatever you want and be totally okay. This leaves you with the enjoyable nostalgia of these characters interacting. There’s some replayability found with which missions you pick, but this is a 40+ experience, and not all of the missions are interesting, so don’t be afraid to turn on auto and go do some chores or something.
In combat, players can move their units around a field to position them for an attack. Attacks can range in distance and use up energy to use, but you’re typically clear to approach this without any obstacles. In all honesty, there’s room for mistakes in every mission, which is great for first-time players.
Every attack receives a response, so if you attack an enemy, expect them to counter. However, you can also do this. Depending on your position, you’re able to link up with other units and create some massive combos of damage. Again, it’s all spectacle in a way, and the enjoyment directly derives from these character interactions.
Super Robot Wars 30 is a wonderful place to start in this series due to its ease of accessibility and commendable encyclopedia of terms and characters. It’s an approachable SRPG no matter your skill level but shows age in its menu design and limited tutorials. Still, it managed to rope me in for hours of enjoyment as I survived off this mecha feast for days. So, here’s to another 30 years of Super Robot Wars.
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