By now you've most likely listened to the interview with Tommy Yune & Kevin McKeever done at GATV.tv
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
, 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 ...