A Fanboy’s First Impression of Super Robot Wars Z 2.1

The latest title in the established Super Robot Wars franchise is finally here! I’ve played dozens of games in the series and I can honestly say that I like all of them, at least to some degree. I’ve had my hands on this one for a few days now, so what exactly do I think of it? Is it a shining star or an ugly blotch in the king of crossovers in the mecha anime genre?

Super Robot Z 2: Break the World Opening

ANIMATION

The animations in this game look absolutely gorgeous! The Youtube vids, magazine scans and screenshots you’ve seen plastered all over the net simply do not do the game justice. The game designers truly made this game fit perfectly fit perfectly on the PSP, as the 2D animations pop out with vibrant energy.

I’ve had access to some of my long-awaited favorites for a while now, including Mazinger Z (from Shin Mazinger), Getter Robo (from Shin Change!), Gurren Lagann, and many others, but my current favorite animation right now is Getter-2’s Drill Arm. Though the attack itself isn’t nearly as intricate as some of the final attacks made available early on, such as Gurren Lagann’s Full Drill Rise and Mazinger Z’s Photon Energy Beam, I simply adore the amount of care and details that went into this particular attack.

In it, Getter-2 darts around left and right, zigzagging and confusing the enemy with its great speed, before it fires its jets and launches its giant drill straight through the enemy unit. The opposing Ganmen pilots’ constant statement that they hate drills is immediately validated.

Unfortunately, though, the animations in the game seem to lack a particular adornment that I really wanted back. I would have liked the animation speed up feature that was present way back in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, though the game at least has an animation segment skip in its place. This new feature is different from the animation cancel one, which is now a staple in all of the recent titles in the franchise. Instead of cancelling all of the animations outright and returning to the map, the game skips portions of the entire battle sequence. For example, if, during the enemy phase, a Leo uses its typical machine gun attack, you can skip it entirely, so you can go straight to beholding Gundam Exia’s Seven Swords Attack. I would have personally liked to have utilized both the speed up and segment skip features simultaneously, but, oh, well, maybe in the sequel.

 12

SOUND

I use Etymotic earphones most of the time when playing Z2.1, and the sound is just amazing. It’s crystal clear, sharp, and all the remixes of classic themes I’ve heard so far sound fantastic. No complaints here.

I also currently love all the in-game remixes of classic mecha anime themes I’ve heard so far. Daybreak’s Bell, Just Communication, Kanjite Knight, Sora Iro Days, Triangular, and so on all sound lovely to me, and make me yearn to relive the series they originated from.

The game decides to punch me in the face sometimes whenever I’m enjoying one of these classics, though. Whenever I  play around with the BGM selections in the System menu (which I do a lot, since I like to constantly mix and match the music in the game based on my personal tastes at that particular time), the game resets the music to the default map one whenever I exit the menu, completely erasing the melody that was filling my ears; highly annoying, to say the least.

 02

GAMEPLAY

The overall gameplay of SRW Z2.1 is pretty much the same as the ones used by the more modern titles, and even goes back to basics by ditching any sort of squad system altogether, returning to the classic single unit playstyle. So, if you’ve played several of the titles in the franchise from around the past decade, picking up this one won’t be so difficult.

It’s really the minute particularities that get to me. I was incredibly spoiled by the SRW title I played before this one, L, which was for the NDS. It allowed the player to save at literally any point of the game, whether it be during the player’s battle phase, the enemy’s phase, or even during the intermission dialogue sequences. The feature being absent here isn’t that big of a deal, I suppose, but I found it incredibly convenient and so would have liked it to be retained.

That’s really my only complaint as far as gameplay, goes, though, since the game has several features that make you fall in love with the franchise all over again. One example is being able to view all the spells of the characters in multi-piloted robots simultaneously. Coupled with the now-staple feature of being able to select several of the spells at once, this adds a whole new layer of convenience to the game.

But what I really love the most is the new intermission feature called “Sub Orders”, which allows characters that were not deployed in the previous mission to gain Pilot Points, Kills, Experience, or Money. This is incredibly useful since pretty much all the characters can catch up and become with everyone else in one way or another. If one benched character has a high level, then have him earn you some money. If you sorely want to get a particular skill for someone else on the bench, then have him get some Pilot Points. It’s an amazing feature that takes full advantage of the wide range of characters that each SRW title has.

Finally, the game also has a very diverse scenario chart, which ensures at least 3 full playthroughs if the player wants to see all the unique stages. There are 50 total stages in each playthrough, and 83 unique stages. I really like this sort of setup since it makes the game even longer than at first glance, and truly makes the player appreciate the presence of a New Game Plus.

 27

STORY

No, I’m not fluent in Japanese, but I do understand enough to get by from time to time and tell what the story is when I care enough to read. There’s a lot to like here in just the first 12 stages alone. I’ve so far explored some of the Shin Mazinger, Dai-Guard, Dancougar Nova, Gundam 00, Shin Change, and Gurren Lagann scenarios and found myself extremely pleased at what I’ve seen so far.

One of my favorite things in the SRW series is how they cross-over specific moments in the mecha anime series I love. For example, here, we see the famous “Sono na wo! Sono na wo! Sono na wo!” moment in Shin Mazinger, but joined in by a miscellany of characters. Celestial Being using Dragon’s Hive as their earth-based headquarters is also very neat, as well as Kamina and Ryouma having a sort of heated rivalry that leads to true friendship. Truly awesome stuff which I’m hoping to see much more of as I progress through the game.

 Dai-2-Ji Super Robot Taisen Z Hakai-hen Screenshot

KING OF THE HILL

Before picking this game up, I was playing Star Ocean: The Last Hope on my PS3, and my third playthrough of Super Robot Wars L for the NDS. Interestingly enough, whenever the release date got closer and closer, I was almost cursing myself every time I played either of those titles, and wishing I was playing Z2.1 instead.

Now, don’t get me wrong, though. I sincerely love Star Ocean and SRWL. It’s just that all the hype leading up to SRWZ2.1’s release had gotten so far into my gut, it was straining to be released in a barrage of gaming goodness. I’m all good now, though, I promise, and Z2.1 has my full attention.

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE

Uh, uh, no way. I’m still in stage 12 as I write this, so there’s way more to see in this game. 83 unique stages, epic crossover moments, upgrades that will bring eyeball-exploding action, and the most hot-blooded yelling this side of a Bat-shit Ryouma and Kamina team-up still await. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to wrap this up, power up my PSP and once again immerse my brain in the world of Super Robot Wars Z 2: Break the World!

About Great Boota

The awesomeness of all Super Robot Wars contained in a single, drill-powered pig-mole.
This entry was posted in first impressions, Super Robot Wars and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to A Fanboy’s First Impression of Super Robot Wars Z 2.1

  1. schneider says:

    I didn’t even know about the animation segment skip feature.

    I have to agree with how good the animations are, though. There’s a whole lot of dynamic kills just for the original mech alone. The amount of cut-ins are astounding.

    I’ll concede that I highly favor Shin Mazinger and Dai-Guard, even though Dai-Guard is like a glorified Boss Borot. Never has a Rocket Punch been so exciting.

    See you at the finish line!

    • Great Boota says:

      What stage are you currently on? I just hit stage 20, and am loving the game!

    • JoeQ says:

      So they made the ‘rocket’ punch one of Dai-Guard’s standard attack? Lol, I hope it at least takes damage every time you use it. That scene with Zeus should be fun ;).

      • Great Boota says:

        Dai-Guard’s Rocket Punch, sadly, isn’t a regular attack, but a Dynamic Kill, from what I’ve heard (haven’t seen it myself). Darn thing doesn’t have range at all! Still really love it, though LOL.

        I’m also trying to steer clear of any story spoilers so I’ll be pleasantly surprised at whatever the game pulls off, so I currently don’t know if it does anything cool with the Zeus scene.

  2. Need…to..upgrade..PSP!!!

    so far the VF’s had me going with all those fancy attacks , and Dai-guard and big-O for the chunky walking scenes.

  3. JoeQ says:

    I hope the story’ll play around with the obvious similarities between Gurren Lagann and Getter Robo (and also the other series to a lesser extent). Also interesting to see how Dai-Guard fits in with such insanely powerful super robots, when one of the points of that series was subverting the traditional super robot tropes and weapons.

    • Great Boota says:

      Dai-Guard’s one of the weaker Supers in the game, but it pulls its own weight. It can Resupply other units, has all of its weapons from the anime, and has 3 pilots, so it’s not bad. It starts out as weak as it rightfully is in the anime, though, which is kinda funny. Being able to just Tackle or Punch the enemy then be nearly 1-hit killed by a counterattack is hilarious.

      • JoeQ says:

        Sounds approriate enough, considering that it very nearly self-destructed during it’s first outing! Sigh, I curse myself daily for selling off my boxset…

        • Great Boota says:

          The dialogue during its first appearance is pretty awesome as well:

          “That thing’s only for display!” LOL

        • Matt Wells says:

          Dai Guard’s appearance in this game prompted me to look into the series, and the complete DVD boxset just came in through the mail for me today. Looking forward to it :)

        • SquareSphere says:

          o_O you sold your daigaurd box set!?

          I still have mine (actually i bought all the discs as they came out back in the day) man daiguard in SRW sounds awesome though.

          Maybe I’ll get play it in 10 years when someone kind on the interwebs translates the moonrunes.

          • JoeQ says:

            Yep. In my defense this was back in the day when I was still waaayy more pretentious and would only allow myself to enjoy ‘deep’ shows. I only bought it because it was cheap and didn’t really think much of it, so I sold it off to a a guy I knew back then who was really into such childish things (*feh*).

            Of course, a couple of years later Getter showed me the light and I’ve regretted it ever since.

          • Matt Wells says:

            Ouch. So what kind of shows did you keep in your “cerebral days”? Ghost in the Shell? Serial Experiments Lain? Betterman? That sort of thing?

            Which Getter series was your first by the way? Armageddon, New or Neo vs. Shin? Just curious is all. Mine was Armageddon, just after I watched the original Mazinakiser OVA.

          • JoeQ says:

            Yeah, pretty much. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that stuff, my horizons are just broader these days.

            New was the first I saw, back in 2006 or 2007, followed by Armageddon some time later. Those two and TTGL made a convert out of me, though they were far from the first super robot shows that I saw. That would propably be Saber Rider and the Star Seriffs, would be great if someone licensed the original Japanese version.

          • Matt Wells says:

            Glad to hear it. :) New really is a great show, easily the most faithful to the manga Getter series so far. AND perhaps my favourite getter team, Batshit Hayato for the win. Shame so few people have seen it.

            Nothing wrong with serious mature series, I just think its important to balance them out with a healthy dose of childish violence and mindless action.

            You mean Seijushi Bismarck? Wow, if you’re old enough to remember Sabre Rider, you’ve got a few years on me. My first super robot was power rangers (kinds counts), first anime one was Mazinkaiser, which was a great crash course introduction.

  4. mshaydown says:

    oh btw since you love macross and VFs so much, let me tell you the upgrades that all the VF-25 units get will give you back ALL your curving missiles and even attempt to have even better animations than what are already present

  5. JoeQ says:

    I noticed you didn’t mention any Banpresto Originals. Has there been any new ones or is it just the ones from SRW Z?

    • Great Boota says:

      Oh, there are new OG characters, but there’s only one main character and mecha this time around, though you can choose whether the mech’s final attack will be Ranged or Melee. The main character’s name is Crowe Broust and his mech’s the Blasta. Here’s some pics:

      Crowe:

      Blasta:

      All of the enemies in the OP video linked at the top of the article are also OG. They’re called “Dimensional Beasts” (Jigen-Jyuu, if I’m not mistaken. Kamina also has a funny battle line where he shouts expletives at them, then at the end says: “Jige … Jige … Gejigeji-yaro!” Then Simon corrects him LOL).

      • JoeQ says:

        Thanks. Not very impressive and I would have preferred Rand, though Crowe does have that snide bad guy look that’s pretty rare for a hero character. Way too generic mecha design, though.

  6. Matt Wells says:

    The final combination in the Getter Robo change attack was so beautifuly animated it brought a tear to my eye.

    Compare this scene:

    …with this animation from the game (round about 35 seconds in).

    Absolutley beautiful. And of course there’s Nu Gundam’s final attack, which quite frankly MUST be seen to be believed. The only real complaint I have so far is that Chirico is the only playable chracter from Votoms, but who knows, Fyana might make it into the second game.

    • Great Boota says:

      I haven’t gotten those attacks yet, so I didn’t check out the videos (I’m avoiding these types of spoilers to still remain amazed when they hit me), but thanks for sharing!

      • Matt Wells says:

        When you get to them, you’re in for a treat…I’m only upset that I’ve been spoiled by what to expect from this awesome game when I do get it. I’ve got my monthly expenditure coming through soon, so in the meantime, I’m going to get my hands on copies of OG 1 and 2 to familiarise myself with the franchise for the first time. Practice for this game :)

  7. WhatSht says:

    is this on the PSP? i’m soooooo gonna get it.

    • Great Boota says:

      Yup, it’s for the PSP, and if you’re a fan of recent mecha series, you’ve definitely got to get this! In particular, the game highlights

      Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
      Shin Mazinger
      Shin Change! Getter Robo
      Code Geass
      Gundam 00 Season 1
      Macross Frontier
      Dai-Guard

      Plus a ton of others!

  8. Whatsht says:

    Finally a new game i can play, im playing macross triangle frontier and dissidia 12, was getting kinda bored.

  9. Reid says:

    any news about a PS3 port?

    • Great Boota says:

      You mean a port of this exact title? Nope, and I really wouldn’t expect one. This game is AT MOST at the level of the PS2, so if they were to create a version of it for the PS3, they would have to make considerable upgrades to it, which means that they might as well make a brand new game (that’s what they typically do anyway).

      They could, however, go the Impact route and compile both Z2.1 and 2.2 into one PS3 title, with all the HD bells and whistles. But, again, I personally would just want a brand new title, such as Z3, than a port.

      That said, there is a PS3 SRW title in the works, but that was announced / leaked (not that sure anymore; sometimes you can never really tell over the interwebs LOL) way back in 2006 IIRC. I even distinctly remember a lot of people (including me LOL) predicting that Z1 would be the franchise’s entry into the next generation of consoles, but that obviously didn’t happen.

      Time will tell, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to just not expect the PS3 release anymore. That way, at least, I won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t come out AGAIN this year, but still be genuinely pleasantly surprised if it does.

  10. JoeQ says:

    So, did they make the character deaths (you know which ones) preventable this time around or not?

    Also, no Final Dynamic Special?

    • Great Boota says:

      For the first question, yes and no (spoilers for Macross Frontier, Gurren Lagann and Gundam 00 at the end of this reply for anyone who may not have seen those series yet).

      And no, no Final Dynamic Special

      SPOILERS:
      Not sure about Michel, since I think he doesn’t die by default in this one (a la the first movie), since he’s not listed as a secret, but Kamina and Lockon for sure can’t be saved.

      • JoeQ says:

        Kinda surprised they didn’t make Kamina saveable (unless you have to jump through some super duper secret and tricky hoops), but I guess they figured it would’ve fucked up the story too much.

        What about Musashi? Hope they at least made his demise more awesome than the pretty weak OVA version.

        • Great Boota says:

          Oh, yeah, Musashi! I’m also pretty sure he can’t be saved, but I don’t know about his death, since you get Shin Getter at stage 40 on this one, and I’m only a 25. Also just to clarify on that, Z2.1 only focuses on the first 3 episodes of Getter Armageddon, which is incredibly awesome. The rest will be covered after the time-skip, in Z2.2.

          For Kamina, so far no super secret or anything for him has been discovered, and it’s being reported (from what I know) from the people who have the player’s bible of the game that he and Lockon really do stay dead, for story reasons. Lockon because he comes back in Z2.2 anyway, and Kamina because, like Musashi, he has replacement/s in that pilot seat. If they made him saveable in this game, then Rosshiu wouldn’t have anywhere to go LOL. Plus, Simon’s maturity going into Z2.2 would have been seriously hampered if Kamina were around.

          • Matt Wells says:

            At the very least, we should definitely be able to save the rest of the Dai Gurren Brigade, and POSSIBLY Kittan. Odds on Musashi are 50/50, as I think the game ends with him still alive. And who else will they be able to put into Black Getter when Ryoma rejoins the classic Getter Team?

          • JoeQ says:

            Will be interesting to see how they’ll fit all these timeskips together (and also those series that don’t have them) considering they’re all diffent lenghts. Dimensional shenanigans?

            Since big space battles feature prominently into at least a few series’ post-timeskip portions, I’m really hoping for Gunbuster and Diebuster (a first?) making an appearance in Z2.2. Also, Getter Emperor fighting alongside TTGL would be incredible awesome.

  11. Great Boota says:

    @Matt:
    Good point about Black Getter.

    @JoeQ:
    There have been some rumors sprouting up that there may be a few entirely new series appearing Z2.2 and not just pure continuations, so Diebuster alongside Gunbuster would be amazing, yeah.

    • Matt Wells says:

      Well after all, the last game to feature Black Getter DID have Musashi as its pilot…and if memory serves, in Armageddon Musashi never set foot on Shin Getter in the first three episodes, it was just Ryoma, Hayato and Go. So since they’ve already broken from established continuity, why not keep him alive for once? :)

      RE: The possibility of Final Dynamic special…depending on whether they add any more series to Z2.2, we might see the first Dynamic special involving two Getters and one Mazinger. That’d be different and cool to see, but my money’s on Tetsuya making it into the sequel as the pilot of ENERGAR! ZEEEEEETOH!!!

      Gunbuster and Diebuster in one game might be a bit too much, I think its more likely they’ll appeat together in Z3. Though if either game features Diebuster, Gunbuster AND Gurren Lagann (it could happen!), I want to see my Final Gainax Special. Throw in Eva for good measure, and we are good to go.

    • Matt Wells says:

      Well after all, the last game to feature Black Getter DID have Musashi as its pilot…and if memory serves, in Armageddon Musashi never set foot on Shin Getter in the first three episodes, it was just Ryoma, Hayato and Go. So since they’ve already broken from established continuity, why not keep him alive for once? :)

      RE: The possibility of Final Dynamic special…depending on whether they add any more series to Z2.2 or not, we might see the first Dynamic special involving two Getters and one Mazinger. That’d be different and cool to see, but my money’s on Tetsuya making it into the sequel as the pilot of ENERGAR! ZEEEEEETOH!!!

      Gunbuster and Diebuster in one game might be a bit too much, I think its more likely they’ll appear together in Z3. Though if either game features Diebuster, Gunbuster AND Gurren Lagann (it could happen!), I want to see my Final Gainax Special. Throw in Eva for good measure, and we are good to go.

      • Great Boota says:

        “So since they’ve already broken from established continuity, why not keep him alive for once? ”
        I mentioned before that I’ve been avoiding story spoilers for the game (except certain ones that may involve possible secrets, which is why I know about Kamina and Lockon), so I always just assumed that Go would take Musashi’s place like in the anime. Are you saying you know for a fact that he doesn’t?

        • Matt Wells says:

          Since I don’t own the game, and have only seen fleeting glimpses of walkthroughs, I can neither confirm nor deny that he survives this game. I assumed since they kept him around to pilot Shin Getter 3, rather than immediatly swapping him for Go, he lives to at least the end of the game.

          SPOILERS
          I have seen a Go portrait in the post credits preview for Z2.2, so who knows? He might be dead by the the beginning of the sequel, as per Armageddon’s time skip. You’ll have to play it yourself to find out. I’m sorry if I’ve inadvertently spoiled anything for you! Sorry for the double post too.

          • Great Boota says:

            That’s okay. It comes with the territory of wanting to be a know-it-all in SRW. If I find some of these things out earlier than expected, I’m not crushed or anything LOL.

            From a pure gameplay perspective, it actually would make more sense to have Musashi survive this game and save Go for the next, especially since I expect Go to be an entirely different character anyway.

            You’re also right in that they do indeed divert from the story of the first three episodes. While the characters in those episodes feature prominently in this game, the story is only just very loosely the same. I’m assuming that the story for the rest of the episodes will be more faithfully followed in Z2.2.

            That, and your reminding me about Black Getter’s predicament makes me think that Musashi might well indeed survive for both games without even being a secret! If so, good for him! LOL

      • JoeQ says:

        Oh god yes, a Final Gainax Special with Gunbuster, Dix-Neuf, Nono and Gurren Lagann! Inazuma kicks, Buster beams, Giga Drill Breaks and badass arm folds galore!

        • Great Boota says:

          Oh, and speaking of combination attacks, there is a “Final Muteki Special” in the game with Daitarn 3, Zambot 3, and Trider G7, called the Unbeatable / Muteki Combination.

  12. JoeQ says:

    So, any final thoughts, GB?

  13. Matt Wells says:

    Z2.2 news. Including the sequel series recieving their follow up storylines (2nd half of Shin Mazinger, Gundam 00, Code Geass R2, Ryoma in Black Getter YES), we get two new series: Tetsujin 28 (1980) and Macross 7: Dynamite Explosion.

    Fuck and yes… Fire Bomber and Ranka duet? Godmars and 80′s Tetsujin combination attack? Three Getters and a Shin Mazinger/Energer Z team up? I need to get a PSP asap. I haven’t even played this game yet!

    • Reid says:

      Dat awesome blue transforming Brave thing that Mr. Bushido drives in the 00 Gundam movie is pretty slick as well. Ozma/Graham teamup? Revenge of hot-blooded whiteys?

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