I was meant to have up a review for this game last week but shirley was finished and I think people are more interested in my figures than opinion on video games…
Besides, 2 reviews in 2 weeks may have been a bit much.

But in any case, the extra time allowed me to get a little further into the game and get a better feel for it so here’s my take on the latest addition to the SRW series.

SRWZ is the first “true” super robot wars game since Alpha 3, which was released back in 2005 (some people don’t consider the OG series as a true super robot wars series as they don’t include mecha from various series).

A lot of cosmetic changes have been made since then (and from OG gaiden as well) with improved graphics, a completely revamped menu system, changes to the squad system last used in alpha 3 and the addition of the bazaar to purchase and sell parts.

The largest change with regards to gameplay is the formation system, which allows players to change the formation of individual squads to better handle the enemy. You can now pick formations to focus all attacks in your squad to focus on a single unit or spread the damage to an entire squad. It also affects defensive possibilty by allowing the player more control over the cover and assist attack sequences.
There are 3 formations which work in a paper-rock-scissors fashion with one formation being strong against another and weak against the 3rd.

and for those who don’t know, here’s the list of shows which are used in the game:

Overman King Gainer
The Big O
The Big O Second Season
Zambot 3
Daitarn 3
Xabungle
MS Z Gundam
Char’s Counter Attack
Gundam X
Turn A Gundam
MS Gundam SEED Destiny
Mazinger Z
Great Mazinger
Getter Robo G
UFO Robo Grendizer
GOD Sigma
Sousei no Aquarion
Eureka Seven
Orgus
Baldios
Gravion
Gravion Zwei

And the game is also special on a personal note as it is the first super robot wars game I have ever played which I have NOT chosen the “real” robot route on my first try, and I have played every main super robot wars game since SRW alpha on the PS1…
Why? Simple. Picking the real robot route allies yourself with the minerva group in Gundam Seed destiny and I REFUSE to be in the same side as that little shit, Shinn Asuka! I don’t have any love for Kira Yamato, but I LOATHE Shinn!!

And on with the review!

Loved:

  • The cutscenes. I swear they get better and better with every new game!! I particularly like the Big O and Gravion sequences!
  • The addition of old series which I have not seen in a SRW game for some time, like Gundam X. I missed it from the days of SRW alpha gaiden and SRW-R.
  • The new squad system. They completely revamped the system to make it incredibly easy to swap out units and make new squads. It used to be a real chore, made worse by the fact that if you had event specific units, it often messed up your squads, but those days are not gone!
  • Loading times, or rather, the inherent lack of! This game saves and loads at a blinding speed. A far cry from the days of SRW impact, which took an age and a half to do anything…
  • The difficulty. Recent SRW games have been criticised for being too easy compared to the earlier versions. Later games tried to increase the difficulty by introducing skill points, special conditions for stages which are optional but provide units with additional stats if completed. It also increased the overall difficulty if the player had enough of them, but the games could still be steamrolled over.
    I managed to get every skill point in SRW OGS on my first attempt with no real difficulty, for example. Z is still asomewhat easy game but the skill points definitely require some thought and tactics now, which is a nice change.
  • It’s still the same old super robot wars!! It’s all about watching your units from various shows kciking ass in spectacular ways!

Disliked:

  • The lack of a stand out mecha series. This is a bit of a personal thing, but a SRW game can live or die on the strength of the mechas used in the game. I had the same issue with SRW MX, and that is there are no mecha in this game which grabs your attention and gives you a buzz when you delpoy them. Gravion and Big O are fun but I don;t get the same feeling from them compared to when I deployed gunbuster, shin getter or Gaogaigar in Alpha3.
  • The formation system. This is rather harsh as, in some ways I like how they are trying to diversify the game a little by adding this new system, but I found it a chore to keep swapping my formations around to take advantage of the situations.
  • The main characters. Again, personal opinion, but for me, both the super and real robot pilots lack… Character!!! I just don’t find myself liking them at all, but I don’t hate them either. They just don’t really register like other original characters like Ryuusei, Aya, Rai, Arado, Seolla, Ibis, Kyosuke, Excellen, Baran Doban, Zengar, Rastel… The list goes on.
  • It’s the same old super robot wars. This game isn’t going to convert anyone!

Overall, I would say that I am left a little disappointed overall. The lack of a stand out series is a major blow for a game like this but with the overall presentation as it is, it simply feels less engaging than the alpha and OG series. I had the same problem with SRW MX but it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad SRW game, but more of a forgettable one.
Having said that, I hope they don’t forget it and continue with the series. It just needs slightly more appeal in the original character and mecha designs and a stronger selection of series. Get rid of Orguss for one thing!!!

If I was to recommend a SRW game for a new player, Z probably wouldn’t be it, unless he states implicitly that he likes the majority of the series on the list above. I still rate the alpha and OG games higher than Z but it is better than MX and has none of the frustrations of impact and the portable games.

Now I really should go and play some more of it but unfortunately, I recently aquired a UK copy of Persona 3: FES. Man, that game is like crack!!!