Gundam and mecha anime have never really been my thing. I’ve always preferred Shounen. However, Zoids was one of my favorite anime growing up, so I thought I’d give Super Robot Wars 30 a chance. If you are not from Japan you may have never heard of Super Robot Wars. I certainly hadn’t, and that may come down to the fact that the previous titles in the franchise were not translated from Japanese, so if you weren’t bilingual there was no way of knowing what was going on.
Super Robot Wars 30 was developed by B.B. Studio Company LTD in celebration of the Super Robot Wars 30th anniversary and published by my go-to anime game publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment. Released on the 28th of October, you can pick this up from the Steam storefront, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
The war continues to rage on Earth, as the Kaiju and Kikaiju are continuously seeking to destroy humankind. Rebellious groups are attempting to get their hands on powerful mechs to rise against the Federation, and villains are attempting to steal valuable mech for clients. As a civilian attempting to seek shelter, the Kikaiju raid one of the last standing military bases on Earth, where just so conveniently, a prototype mech was being stored.
With no other support around to defeat the threat, you take control of this mech suit and assist the students at this base in taking down the threat. Instead of having a harsh punishment, the Commander of the Dreistreger, a super-advanced AI warship and the last hope for the Federation, instead recruits you to pilot the Huckebein 30 and repel all enemy mechs you find in your way. Recruit and build a big team of mechs to save earth and humankind.
Super Robot Wars 30 is a turn-based strategy game much like any “tactics” game. Players take turns to move and attack with their mechs and clear the board of all enemies. On your turn, you can move and/or attack, use abilities from support characters, or simply standby. However, on the enemy’s turn when your mech is targeted for combat the developers have added a new feature that I haven’t seen in a turn-based strategy game before. You can choose whether your mech will counter, block, or even evade the attack. This extra controllability adds a lot more strategic planning to every impending battle.
Aside from the massive mashup of mechs, the developer has also mashed in RPG elements, with a leveling system on the mechs and support characters, and also an upgrade system for skills, mechs, and your mothership, which add buffs to your crew. Unfortunately, this means the UI can be difficult to navigate, and I found myself struggling to find sections I had been in before the last fight. Also, when buying skills, the game didn’t tell or show how to put them on the pilots, so I didn’t know I had to manually put them on until I accidentally stumbled across it like I do my coffee table when I’m sneaking to the fridge at 3 am to get a snack in complete darkness. There is a tutorial section but it mainly covered combat, and unless you watched it when prompted, you had to really search for the section it was located.
Worst of all was the dialogue. Now don’t get me wrong, I may not like reading but I do read anime subtitles and text dialogue in games, but the text in SRW30 became unbearable after 3 hours, with constant pointless dialogue entries and words that are way too big. I’m a mechanic, I swing spanners and fix cars. Having words like “vehemently” caught me off guard, and seeing as I have never heard that word in my life, I had to google it to know what it meant. It honestly felt like there was 30 minutes of dialogue before every battle which took roughly 10 minutes to complete.
Luckily, however, each block of dialogue was skippable by hitting F2, or you could speed up the dialogue by clicking the left mouse button. I quickly found myself skipping dialogue as my tiny mechanic brain and jaw became tired of reading the pointless chitchat dialogue aloud. I’m just hoping I didn’t skip any major plot lines. The game quickly felt like a “Pokemon with Robots” title, and I had to collect all the mech I could, level, and then power them up to crush those stupid Kikaiju.
Aside from the dialogue, SRW30 had some amazing battle animations and artwork. Watching the huge mech dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge incoming attacks, slashing and firing their lasers at each other, and combining like Combattler V was like watching an anime in itself. Some nice touches were that they used clips from the anime each robot was from. Another huge highlight of the game was the audio. From the high-energy theme songs for each robot pulled straight from the anime, to the very limited voice acting from the pilots of the Mechs in battle scenes, the audio had me pumped and I couldn’t sit still when Combattler V’s theme started playing.
Even the main menu music was hard-hitting and high-energy. The Japanese voice acting for the mech attack moves had me feeling like I was watching an anime and didn’t really feel like a game itself. The very minimal user input for gameplay and the quick battles were extremely overshadowed by the excessive dialogue.
Super Robot Wars 30 was an interesting game, from the mashup of Gundam and mech from various anime to the mashup of RPG and strategy genres. I did enjoy playing it, and the cutscenes and audio were definitely the standout features, however, I found the user interface super confusing, difficult to navigate, and the controls to be finicky. The major drawback I found was that there was an extensive amount of dialogue. Most of it was pointless chatter. You can skip it, but you risk missing major story dialogue, which can end up making you feel lost when going through the story.
- Scenes and audio pulled straight from animes
- Amazing Animations and artwork
- Massive mashup of characters from mecha anime
- A Pokemon game for anime mecha
- Difficult to navigate UI
- So much text dialogue
- Non-immersive and pointless dialogue
- Average battlefield graphics