Another Century's Episode 2

By now you've most likely listened to the interview with Tommy Yune & Kevin McKeever done at regarding all sorts of things in the ROBOTECH and Macross worlds. The interviewer brought up the recently released (in Japan) PlayStation 2 mecha action game Another Century's Episode 2, which I mentioned back in December, in which the universes of a variety of mecha anime are smooshed together and the player can choose from a wide variety of combat mecha to deploy and do battle as -- various Gundams, Mobile Suits, Aura Battlers, Heavy Metals, Metal Armors, Aestivalises, and oh yes, Valkyries. There's also a video of the game's spiff-tastic opening CG sequence up at GATV, and more can be examined at the game's official website.

I've actually had opportunity to play the game, and while it did take me a while to adjust to the Valkyrie control configuration -- having previously slogged through Macross Digital Mission VF-X and its sequel, conqurered Robotech: Battlecry, and spent about twenty minutes with Sega's slick import-only Macross PS2 game, I've got more than your usual number of Valkyrie control configurations rattling around the ol' noggin, so being presented with a wholly different new one presented a slight challenge -- it's a hell of a lot of fun. Practically every mecha in the game comes equipped with a variety of weapons and a melee attack for when you're out of ammo, and the Valkyrie is no exception; after hearing nothing more than a "clik, clik" from the GU-11, I eliminated a number of Battlepods by speeding towards them in Battloid and mashing them with the mecha's mighty fists. Mechanized fisticuffs is joy!

Generally, it plays an awful lot like Konami's Zone of the Enders, with a control scheme that sometimes feels a bit too loose, like the player is just going through the motions and doesn't have true control of the mecha. Lock on to an enemy, turn on the afterburners, beat the crap out of your foe, and repeat. On the other hand, combat is incredibly fast and furious and sometimes sucked me in regardless; I was jamming on the button to deploy the Tallgeese III's beam saber so hard my finger felt raw during a battle with one of the major villains from, I think, Metal Armor Dragonar. After he retreated, I physically felt spent.

For a well-rounded mecha-head, the true fun of the game is that you've got such a wide variety of units from such shows as Aura Battler Dunbine, Brain Powered, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Macross, and Martian Successor Nadesico, and they're all more or less to scale. Deploying a squad containing the big ol' Wing Zero Custom, the middle-sized VF-1S Skull One, and Akito Tenkawa's tiny little pink Aestivalis and then having them fly around the SDF-1 Macross as it executes a transformation -- and being able to actually get in close and zoom around the carrier arms as they move is such a bizarre geek-out moment; my friend Levi actually picked the God Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam to play during that mission, and seeing it do its crazy over-the-top mecha-fu in space against Battlepods and Zentraedi Powered Armors was just surreal. An awful lot of the stages are ripped right from episodes of the shows involved, so you can recast battles from Dragonar with the Gundam Wing boys, send Aura Battlers to deal with the Zentraedi invasion, and have Valkyries streaking over the skies of the Federation military installations from Gundam 0083. And with everything looking so shiny and polished, it only heightens the sense of mecha-geek awe in a way that none of the super deformed Super Robot Wars tactical RPGs have managed.

While I haven't seen it in operation, I assume that there's also a split-screen versus mode like that of its predecessor, where you and a friend assemble teams of mecha and pit them against each other. I assume the reason I didn't get a chance to see that was because last time I played the game's predecessor, I was thrown into the deep end of the versus pool against a friend of Levi's who spends a lot more time playing video games than I do and got repeatedly creamed and, consequently, extremely ticked off ...

The one problem with Another Century's Episode 2, at least for all you folks out there? Gotta have an import-ready PS2 to play it. Me, I'll be snatching up a copy when the price comes down a little. Fun stuff, fun stuff ...


  • So we have to import a ps2 console from Japan in order to play it?? is there any other way, some kind of adaptor or something????

    By Anonymous sdf1macross, at 26 April, 2006 23:30  

  • Yeah, what you can do if you have the old larger model of PS2 is acquire a custom flip-top case and a set of boot discs. What this enables you to do is start up the PS2 with the boot disc, pop open the flip-top, swap that disc with the game, and then close it up and start the program. This avoids a disc check that would have occurred automatically when the disc tray reenters the machine.

    I seem to recall on the more recent slim models you have to open up the machine and install some sort of tabs in the machine that disable the check somehow. I forget how that works -- I have the old machine, I installed the flip-top, and it works like a charm. Installation is slightly nerve-wracking but not actually hard, and once you've got the hang of the procedure, it's pretty damn easy. If you're interested, surf around for a good deal -- prices can range from $30 - $60, but you also have to bear in mind shipping from wherever the hell in the world some of these operations are out of.

    If you need any further guidance on these matters, e-mail me and I'll see what I can do.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 27 April, 2006 02:20  

  • I will, I'll try to find some good deal, I do have the slimmer version though, I had the bigger one, but broke it and when I went to buy a new one the only one they had was this new slimmer kind, I don't want to open it and mess it up, I will try to find out what needs to be done to it to play those games.
    I remember back in 2002 I didn't know about dvd regions and had a couple of dvds sent from Chile, which I believe is region 4 and played them here in a Region 1 dvd player and it worked, months later I would find out that they weren't suppose to play because they were from a different region and I guess they were codified in a different way, anyway all those dvds play fine in my Ps2 as well as in my PC and my dvd player and they all are region 1 while the dvd are region 4, could that happens with these games, could it be possible to play them just like it is, I mean just put it in and see what happens or will that affect he game or the console??

    By Anonymous sdf1macross, at 27 April, 2006 03:27  

  • Every so often you buy a DVD from another country that says it's region such-and-such and it just flat out isn't. That's because there's really no prevailing "authority" when it comes to pressing DVDs -- if a DVD comes out of the factory with no region coding, nobody's going to slap the company releasing it on the wrist for it. But since all PS2 games have to go through Sony to get to market, there's really no chance that they'll work on the wrong country's system -- you'll never find an officially licensed PS2 game that's region-free. I say this not to squash hope, but rather so that you don't spend $75 on a copy of the game, then get it in the mail and find that you can't play it. Trust me, I know how not fun it is to buy an expensive import game and then not be able to play it for whatever reason, so you just thumb through the manual and look at the pictures and lament your lot in life -- I honestly don't want anyone to have to suffer through that. It's just awful.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 27 April, 2006 09:02  

  • Thanks for the advise, I was looking at the price of this game and it is pretty expensive, I was thinking on maybe wait until is not so expensive and wait and see what PS3 has to offer when it comes out, to my knowlegde you are suppose to be able to play PS2 games in that console so maybe they will have an adaptor for imported games, or just buy an imported console if that doesn't work or as a third option keep looking and see if the one I have can be improved.
    Thank you for your help Captain JLS.

    By Anonymous sdf1macross, at 27 April, 2006 10:08  

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