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SUPER ROBOT TAISEN: OG SAGA- ENDLESS FRONTIER (DS) REVIEW

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SUPER ROBOT TAISEN: OG SAGA- ENDLESS FRONTIER (DS) REVIEW

Post  Adminassassin on Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:32 pm

Version 1.1, this review may go under minor changes to correct control descriptions and small details.

By James Daniel Fluker

ATLUS is well known for publishing niche and RPG goodness over the last decade or so. What makes many of these titles shine is that they mess with the conventional aspects and make something that’s fresh to play.

Endless Frontier is the third title of a sub-series called “Original Generation,” which are the only games in the SRT franchise to be officially brought out of Japan. The first two were released for the GBA and were closer to turn-based strategy games like Fire Emblem. With Endless Frontier, developers Banpresto and Monolith Soft (of Xenosaga fame,) made it closer to an RPG with fighting-game elements.

The battle system is initially intimidating but makes sense and feels right at home after some practice. Upcoming turns (as well as other character data) are showed on the bottom screen in a format similar to Final Fantasy X and Monolith Soft’s own Xenosaga Episode III. Upon each character’s turn, they can do a limited number of move sets, based on the COM% (command ability) they have left or stored up. As usual, there is also HP (health points) and SP (spirit points, used instead of Magic points) to worry about. You can press start to use SP moves or items to heal and the like at the beginning of each player’s turns but this may lower your COM% to a level that it effects the number of movesets available this turn.

After that, you press “A” to start fighting and the first moveset animation will begin. After that, it’s the player’s responsibly to time when to activate each of the remaining movesets to keep “air-juggling” enemies and keeping them off their “guard,” (which prevents most initial damage) if they have one. If another party member has the next turn, you can instantly transition to them by pressing à on the d-pad at the right moment and they will get an extra moveset and COM% before going onto to their turn. In addition, this is a very helpful way to build up the “Frontier Gauge,” which is used for unique Overdrive-like moves that are activated with “X” upon filling. Defeating an enemy with a move from the FG will give multiple bonuses, from extra experience points to more COM% and a nice start at filling the FG again.

Battles are often one-sided, as once the timing is down, players can easily wipe out most random encounter enemies before taking much if any damage. In fact, this is the game’s main weakness. If under-leveled or bad at timing, players will find the game quite difficult, especially during boss fights. But if they can get the timing down pat, which most will within a handful of battles, most encounters are little challenge. At the proper levels, most boss fights are only affairs of larger health bars and stocking up on recovery items. This is a fairly common weakness in the genre, although Endless Frontier manages to keep the player involved in fights due to the reliance on timing and strategies based on filling the gauges.

The graphics are incredibly well done. The overworld and dungeons are fairly simple but maintain that 16-bit goodness popularized by Final Fantasy’s earlier entries. In battles however, the graphics are closer to an arcade fighting game with lots of detailed character models and attacks that flow very quickly and look great. One can really feel the ferocity of the blows and the character portraits are also pleasing to the eye, with some animated ones used for certain Overdrive moves.

The story is decent but mixed in quality. It is of a very anime-ish nature, with lots of fan service and innuendos. Those who like anime will probably get a kick out of it, but it might be a little too much for those less familiar. The writing is very clever and well-done, especially in this regard but it unfortunately couldn’t get the story itself decipherable, as most of it is overly full of key terms and names and becomes hard to keep track of. Past the laughs, it’s mostly just serviceable for “go here and fight this person” and is never really engaging or immersive, which is a little disappointing. There are some nice cameos and even playable characters in the form of KOS-MOS and TELOS from Xenosaga and the protagonists of Namco x CAPCOM.

The music of the game is decent but sadly, most players won’t hear most of it. I had the sound down almost the whole time, especially in battles. This is because characters will shout various Japanese phrases over and over, along with dozens and dozens of uses of the same battle sound effects in just one turn. It becomes very grating and most will choose to mute it all. Thankfully, an option to separately turn sound effects and voices off is available.

Overall, Endless Frontier is a fairly average RPG with a unique, addicting battle system. As such, fans of the genre or those looking for a title that tries something a little different will likely enjoy it. Hopefully, ATLUS will choose to bring over its recent sequel, which adds yet another word (“Exceed”) to the overly-long title to our shores.

8/10

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Re: SUPER ROBOT TAISEN: OG SAGA- ENDLESS FRONTIER (DS) REVIEW

Post  Adminassassin on Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:39 pm

Will soon update with a small addition complaining about item purchasing and a few other minor bits Wink

Here's the current review, hosted:
http://www.nint3ndo.org/2010/09/super-robot-taisen-og-saga-endless.html

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