Hottest of the hot blooded!
Hot-blooded giant robot action—that’s really all one could ever want in life. Or at least what I find myself longing for amid the current crop of anime shows. These days, it feels as if the age of such things is long gone. But then, Super Robot Wars T comes along, slams you right in your seat, and gives you all the hot-blooded mecha you could ever want. Even better? This is the game where it feels like they mostly got it right.
For those who came in late, Super Robot Wars is a series of tactical RPGs in the same vein as Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics. In this case, the large cast of characters spans several modern and classic robot anime series. Your favorite Gundam can join forces with the likes of Voltron/GoLion, Gurren Lagann, and (as of this game) the crew from Cowboy Bebop, all of them voiced by their original actors and boasting animated attack cutscenes. And as you’d expect, the story within the games is often a tangled web of crossovers shoehorned into one timeline.
For years, Super Robot Wars has never been made available in America. It seemed impossible, given the legal nightmare of licensing all the various shows. This changed in 2016 when Bandai Namco released an English-subtitled edition of one of the spinoff games, Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers. This version, made for the Southeast Asian market, was totally compatible with North American PS4s and fans instantly made a grab for it. In 2017, Super Robot Wars V was released with its own English-subbed Asia edition, making it the first mainline game to be legally available and playable. Super Robot Wars T is the third mainline game to be released with English support after V and its sequel, Super Robot Wars X.
In SRWT, you play as either Saizo or Sagiri, each a member of the elite VTX Union megacorp. Regardless of which pilot you choose, they end up piloting a new prototype mobile weapon, the Tyranado. As VTX aims to make the Tyranado the newest addition to the Earth Federation military, Earth soon finds itself is on the brink of a new conflict. Along the way, you join forces with the likes of the aforementioned Bebop crew, Van The Dawn from Gun Sword, the cast of Magic Knight Rayearth, Captain Harlock circa the Endless Orbit SSX TV series, and making their grand return, the cast of Mobile Fighter G-Gundam! Suffice to say it’s a heavily stacked deck in terms of a roster, and I found myself running around the room shouting “THIS GAME WAS MADE FOR ME!” after the first trailers.
If you’re new to the series, Super Robot Wars T is totally accessible and easy to jump into. As you go through your turns, units can rack up ExC Points that grant things like additional actions, bonus critical attacks, or boosting stats. Additionally, you can program pilots with various features after gaining TaC points in combat, which allow you slowly but surely turn your favorites into one-hit killing monsters on the battlefield. The cherry on top? There’s a custom BGM mode so you can import your favorite theme songs and soundtrack cues.
Story-wise, SRWT is more satisfying than its predecessors. While V was considered a good game with a tight plot, X left many fans wanting due to repetitive tropes and bland characters. In T, the story doesn’t try to be ambitious and just sets out to be fun. I mean for crying out loud, your team eventually goes up against evil salaryman mech pilots from rival companies. It is ridiculous in the best possible way. Also, any moment with the VTX crew and the main roster is never dull. There are always one or two interactions that will make you laugh or cheer out loud. Case in point: Bright Noa from Gundam ZZ delivering his trademark brand of “correction” to a cocky teenage pilot via the arsenal of a space battleship. It does not get better than that.
The only downside of SRWT is a recurring flaw in the next-gen games: wasted opportunities. In addition to some missed moments and units like the Rayearth Rune Gods getting only two attacks, the game sets several of the cast’s stories after their respective finales. This results in characters slipping with development, sometimes for contrived reasons. Also, while Spike’s Swordfish handles like a dream in-game, the Cowboy Bebop storyline never seems to fit, always being the odd one out. So much of Bebop’s action is on the ground or within human drama. Sadly, all of it is distilled down into anticlimactic visual novel text. Even reenactments of fan-favorite scenes like the hyperspace fight in “Gateway Shuffle” fall flat due to lackluster setup. It’s a shame, but it’s a minor blemish on an otherwise worthwhile big picture.
Really, Super Robot Wars T is the most fun you’ll have with a tactical RPG. It’s definitely worth the extra trouble to import and it’s quickly become one of my favorite games of the year.
publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
developer: B.B. Studio
available: Now (Import)