Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation
Is your GBA ready for hot robot-on-robot action?
What if you were given the opportunity to engage in a battle royale with giant robots from Evangelion, Gundam, and other popular anime series? It sounds almost like a dream come true, and (sadly) like an absolute impossibility. Japanese gamers have these dreams as well, and for that reason they gave birth to the Super Robot Taisen series. The series has seen itself released on nearly every console and has showcased the familiar faces of anime fans favorite robots in turn-based strategy along the way.
Unfortunately, the Super Robot Taisen series never made its way to America, and most anime fans already know the answer why. Licensing. In making their journey to America, anime series are purchased by many different companies, and popular titles like Super Robot Taisen and the recent Jump Superstars for the Nintendo DS, can never be fully realized here in the states.
Never a company to back down from a challenge, Atlus saw fit to scour the back catalogue of Super Robot Taisen releases for an iteration of the series that offered entirely original character designs. Luckily they found in the series not one, but two titles to deliver to the American masses, the first of which they dubbed Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation. Many fans may be disappointed to not see some of their favorite characters within the game, but it isn't entirely devoid of familiarity. Fans should realize that while particular characters from the "Who's Who of Anime Robots" may not be represented, the game offers players a chance to play as new and creative robots that are strikingly similar to many fan-favorites.
Character design aside, Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation is a game that many Advance Wars fans will feel right at home with. Both titles offer fundamentally similar experiences in core gameplay. Unit movement, the top-view battle field, and attack cut-scenes are all shared. The differences in Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation begin after the battle ends.
Micro-management is king in this strategy title. The units are all composed of two characters, the robot and the pilot, and both are upgradeable outside of battle. Robots can be repaired and outfitted with new weapons and upgrades, while pilots can be taught new techniques to enhance their robot's abilities. As players armies grow full with more and more robots, the depth in Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation starts to become very clear. Not to mention, with each robot housing a pilot, the game's story quickly becomes as deep as the gameplay itself.
The story follows two-interweaving plotlines, each with a playable main character. Either Ryusei or Kyosuke lead the player's army as they prepare for an alien invasion in Earth's distant future. Society has made it to outer space and proclaimed it the Space Era, yet the impacts of two meteors have hindered the further advancement of the human race. A third meteor brings with it alien technology, and fearing an imminent invasion, humans quickly begin to develop vast armies of robots to defend the planet. It should be known, humans often have a knack for using vast armies or robots that were meant to defend the planet for other, more sinister things.
Watching Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation progress could be difficult for some players expecting an amazingly visual experience. The battle field is a very simple grid, and the graphics are slightly dated considering the game's original Japanese release in 2002. Appreciating the title could be dependent on the player's love of solid gameplay, and wonderful chibi-robot designs. The super-deformed robots in the game are very charming, and creative to boot. Watching a fat little robot zoom along and land a devastating laser punch is one of the best things I think I've ever seen.
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation offers a deep combat system, dozens of customizable chibi-robots to love, and (according to Atlus) over 40 hours of strategy gameplay. It seems like everyone has something to look forward to upon the game's release, be it fans of anime, fans of the genre, or fans of steamy robot-on-robot action. Atlus knows this, and won't be leaving those who pick up the game high and dry for long. In an amazingly quick follow-up to the game's August release, the sequel to Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation is slated for release this October.