UFO Robot Grendizer – The Feast Of The Wolves

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UFO Robot Grendizer – The Feast Of The Wolves (Xbox Series X) – Review

Long before Gundam, Transformers, Megazords and other colossal mechas, there was Mazinger, the very first anime mech character in history, who starred in the highly successful Mazinger Z manga and anime series. Created by Go Nagai in 1972, this began the whole mecha anime craze, with toys flying off the shelves and inspiring everything that came after it.

The third entry in the Mazinger franchise was Grendizer in 1975, which went for 74 episodes, and just like its predecessors, was a huge success, not only in Japan but across the world, especially in France, Italy, and the Middle East. While Mazinger appeared in a few games in the 90s, Grendizer hasn’t had his own game, only appearing as a playable character in Super Robot Wars. Until now. Published by Microids and developed by Endroad, the legendary mecha finally stars in his own game, UFO Robot Grendizer: The Feast of the Wolves, now available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

After the destruction of Planet Fleed by the Empire of Vega, Daisuke Umon takes refuge on planet Earth. Taken in and adopted by Genzo Umon, he lives at the Shirakaba Farm. With Vega’s invasion of Earth imminent, Daisuke will defend it with the help of Grendizer, the titanic robot hidden deep within Genzo Umon’s observatory. With the help of Kôji Kabuto, the prince of Planet Fleed, they will fight back against Vega and his terrible robots, the Monstronefs, which were sent to destroy him.

Grendizer finally gets his own game and in a big way. Literally. The game is primarily an action-adventure beat ’em up, with players taking control of Daisuke and pilot Grendizer, who comes equipped with an arsenal of attacks and weaponry, ready for battle. The controls feel incredibly smooth and responsive, as players pummel, cut and blast their way through hordes of gigantic enemies and other familiar faces.

New moves and abilities can be unlocked as players progress through the game, giving them even more tools to increase their combos and take down all who oppose them, but boss battles will also really test your mettle. With every big hit and earth-shaking stomp destroying every enemy in your path, it feels damn good to be piloting the legendary Grendizer.

There are some camera issues, however, when taking on more than one enemy. While beating down one enemy, it’s difficult to see where the others are, leaving you open to their attacks. In other similar games, the camera usually pans out to allow players to see and react to incoming attacks. There are, of course, ways to work around this, but it’s still a little inconvenient not being able to properly anticipate enemy attacks. Even with this setback, it doesn’t affect the fun that players and especially fans will have in this game.

There are even some flying levels with Grendizer in his UFO form. Some are in a third-person perspective, similar to the old Star Fox games, while others use the classic arcade-style top-down view, similar to the Mazinger Z arcade game. While they’re not quite as exciting as playing as Grendizer on foot, they’re thankfully not too overbearing, and they’re a nice change of pace from the main game. It feels like it never loses momentum, with a nice balance of action-packed arcade-style gameplay, but still allowing room for storytelling.

The story stays true to the anime, which fans will certainly appreciate. During gameplay and cutscenes, plenty of dialogue between the characters can be enjoyed. In between missions, players can explore more of the ship and interact with other characters, giving it some RPG-like elements, and dialogue throughout the entire game is fully voiced in English, French, Italian, and Arabic since it has a huge fanbase in those regions. Strangely, there is no Japanese dub available, but it has been stated that a full Japanese dub will added as a free DLC in early 2024.

Sadly, as most of the voice actors from the original anime series have since passed, a whole new voice cast representing each language provides the voices, and the characters sound just as good as they did in the old anime. The style of voice acting really feels like it was done in the 70s, and with the way every line is delivered, the cheesiness from that era is perfectly recreated. It’ll be interesting to see who the Japanese cast will be and what they sound like, but chances are it could be the same cast from the upcoming reboot series, Grendizer U, due out in 2024.

The graphics are bright and colourful, even in its darkest moments, and the overall art style is a nice homage to the anime with how it’s presented, including music, sound effects, and more. Even though it’s a modern game, it does a great job recreating that 70s mecha anime vibe instead of feeling like a modern adaptation of a classic. There is plenty of fan service, most specifically during transition scenes where Daisuke’s seat moves from the cockpit of Grendizer to the ship, and even some scenes from the show’s opening remade in 3D, complete with an instrumental version of the iconic opening theme, “Tobe! Grendizer,” performed by the legendary Isao Sasaki.

It may have taken 48 long years for Grendizer to finally get his own videogame adaptation, but the wait was well worth it. UFO Robot Grendizer: The Feast of the Wolves is a love letter to the manga, anime, and most importantly, the fans. It may keep things simple, but in this case, simplicity really is key, and it won’t keep you waiting for long to get you straight into the action. Its minor drawbacks barely affect the fun factor, and even though it can be completed in about six hours, the replay value will keep fans wanting to experience the game again and again. For fans of giant mechs, the Mazinger franchise, and of course Grendizer, UFO Robot Grendizer: The Feast of the Wolves is an absolute blast, and I’d say it’s a must-buy that packs a real Screw Crusher Punch!

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The Good

  • A love letter to the manga, anime and the fans
  • Fast paced, arcade style, action-adventure, beat 'em up gameplay
  • Fully voiced dialogue in multiple languages
  • Gives that real 70s mecha anime feel
  • Feels damn good to be piloting the legendary Grendizer

The Bad

  • Camera issues during combat
8
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10

Written by: Sammy Hanson

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