|One thing to take particular note of here is that the HUD is 100% in English--something I'm particularly thankful, as I have a hard time reading the katakana names when they're zipping about the screen, and I like to know what I'm killing.|
At first glance, the game doesn't look too impressive. I mean, what is it with games these days and half-assed starfields? *ahem*, anyway, the HUD is fairly simple and tells a few things, some of which we already know, some of which are new. The new information to look at here is the "radar" icon in the lower left: There are two gauges, one for the shield and one for fuel. I believe it's likely that the fuel gauge is simply a boost meter, and that it regenerates gradually (at a slower rate if it dips into the red "critical" end). The Shield meter is likely finite, and depleting it will result in some of the battle-damage we see in other screens. (Yes, BATTLE DAMAGE. To an even better effect than we've ever seen before in a mecha game).
Yes, that's an Irish-class. Yes, it's sexy as hell. I mean: goddamn. I'm sorry about that. Let me start over. If you're careful, you'll notice that this Geara Zulu is carrying a unique weapon--it looks like a beam bazooka? This is not one of its default arms--it's a "custom" weapon from another unit. Cool: just like Gundam Senki. Look a bit more carefully, and you may notice something interesting at the radar screen: some enemy icons have vertical red lines about 1px wide extending from them. This proves that battles will occur in fully three-dimensional areas instead of 2D planes. Not exactly a ground-breaking revelation, but it is a positive indicator.
Behold the controls. A quick breakdown:
Square: ranged attack
Triangle: melee attack
Left Stick: movement
Right Stick: camera
L1: shift mode
L2: gappo (?)
D-Pad Up: replacement attack (up)*
D-Pad Down: replacement attack (down)*
D-Pad Left: support (left)*
D-Pad Right: support (right)*
*I may be mis-reading the kanji, but I think the left/right buttons give orders for your ally units to cover you (drawn enemy fire) and the up/down gives allies attack orders, probably on whichever enemy unit you have targeted.
Left Stick (flick/snap): step
L1 + L3 (flick/snap): quick step / emergency approach
R1 (double tap): boost up
R2 (double tap): boost down
X (double tap): turn (180 degree turn maybe?)
L1 + Square: sub weapon 1
L1 + Triangle: sub weapon 2
L1 + Circle: sub weapon 3
L1 + Cross: sub weapon 4
Triangle (hold): melee attack (strong)
R1 + Triangle: melee attack (upper)
R2 + Triangle: melee attack (lower)
Left Stick Up + Triangle: melee attack (thrust)
Triangle (emergency approach inside): melee attack (emergency approach)
L2 + Triangle: guard counter
L1 + L3: sub-flight mode
Naturally, we won't know what certain terms mean (like "step") until the game is released, but from this we can ascertain that the game will play very much like Encounters in Space, but with a more complex battle system. So far, so good!
Here we can see both the pilot and mobile suit customization menus. Most of it is fairly self-explanatory, but I do wonder what the "efficiency" stat might effect. Anyway, the combat mechanics seem to have a fair amount of depth, as does the mission mode I detailed a while ago, and so does the level-up system, so to speak. Even at its budget price, this Unicorn game is shaping up to be very nice.
Of course, a big part of the reaon I'm so interested in this game is for the capital ships. Check out that Clop! And an Irish class in the distance. You'll notice the Delta-Plus is equipped with the Unicorn Gundam's beam magnum here.
Notice that both the Kshatriya and Unicorn gundam have special guages. The Kshatriya's is an I-Field, and I would assume the Unicorn's is for the NT-Destroy system.
I'm assuming these two images (above) are from a tutorial mission. They both look fairly bland, though the missile effects look quite nice: in motion, this game should be absolutely stunning to behold.
The Delta Gundam in what appears to be the throes of a special attack. If you look at the radar, we can see that the white arrow in the center is pointed in the same direction as the camera (which has an additional indicator in the radar circle) instead of the direction the mobile suit is facing. This seems superfluous and confusing. Perhaps it's a bug/mistake from an earlier build of the game....
LOOK CLOSELY at the above Sinanju. Notice anything odd about it? It's completely undamaged... save for some (very well-made) damage textures on the head. Notice that the HP appears to be at its max, as does the shield value. What does this mean? Perhaps this is the default texture, or perhaps as the shield meter decreases, your mobile suit slowly shows more damage? Hm....
Just look at those thruster trails. Beautiful.
|Take note how, unlike the earlier Sinanju, this one has more damage to the shield meter, less armor overall, and lacks the damaged head texture. The mystery deepens!|
I'm continually impressed by how beautiful this game looks. The backgrounds aren't too spectacular (that starfield is downright ugly) but the mobile suits and ships... absolutely gorgeous. Incredibly detailed, great effects... I really can't wait for this game--hell, I've already pre-ordered it from AmiAmi. With the gameplay video we saw earlier and the control information we have today, it seems a very safe bet that this will be a solid game similar to an "evolved" Encounters in Space. The biggest concern at this point is one of content--it would seem that there is no multiplayer mode, and covering only the first 3.1 episodes of the OVA makes it seem like it might be light on single player content--a sentiment that is only reinforced with the knowledge the DLC scenarios are already planned, the first of which will be available at release.
Still, this game is very inexpensive for a Japanese release, so I don't have any qualms about buying it when it comes out early this March.