Another Century's Episode R (Import Review)

If you're not big or don't play heavily on import games. There has been a import series that has been very popular with Otaku gamers since the PS2 days. This game is called Another Century's Episode also known as ACE. ACE will allow players to play with their favorite Mechs from Gundam, Macross to even Eureka Seven in a single universe. Another Century's Episode R is the first for the PS3. Is it worth the import? Or should you not suit up?

Story - Summoned from their respective worlds to the planet of Aria. Our heroes meet up Autumn Four a girl who has lost her memory. Autumn and her ship the Ark Alpha is being attacked by Artificial Weapons by a group called the "Seasons." It's up to the heroes to help Autumn regain her memory and end the threat of the Seasons.

The story is pretty interesting if you can understand Japanese. The story manages to weave the main plot of Autumn and integrate it with plots from your favorite Mech Anime that are featured in the game. It does a great job of making you feel part of the series and also bring new life into it.

Gameplay - The gameplay varies depending on what Mech you're piloting. For instant some Mech's like Macross can change modes and transform. Gundamn's have saber swords, faster thrusters etc. The controls can feel clunky for some ships like Macross. I found that piloting it in fighter pilot mode to be sluggish. The fighter doesn't turn as quickly or move as fast as you hope it would. The levels are played like most Mech games, you are assigned missions which usually have you, protecting assigned sectors, eliminating wave of enemies, or defeating a boss. The game can feel repetitive, but the huge cast of Mech's to choose from will take that feeling away. The battle system is broken up into three parts. You have your standard attacks, your combo attacks and secondary attacks. There is also a great level up element as well. Players get to level up the speed, power, defense and more. Winning missions and completing them in a certain grade will earn you more points. The game is challenging on any difficulty. I love how on certain levels you need to choose what Mech you use carefully. Using a Veritech, on a mission design for a Gundam can be costly. This might be annoying for some, but it adds a strategic element to the game, it also ensures that the player uses most of the Mech's in the game. Finally the camera movements can be frustrating no matter what Mech you're using. The lock on is difficult and really effects how you view other enemies around you. Fighting big bosses is a pain when it comes to the camera view. Sometimes you want to target a specific section of the bot, but the camera won't go there, until you fly closer. It can make battles more harder then it needs to be.

Overall the gameplay is fun to play, minus a few setbacks. The controls can feel clunky with some Mech's, but the upgrading, the combo attacks and fast pace action is enough to keep you playing. The story mode is very long since you have to do each route for each Anime Series included. It might feel repetitive but it adds just enough elements in the routes to keep it fresh.

Gameplay Video

Graphics - Out of all the ACE games this one looks the best. The backgrounds, environments and Mech's look good, the graphics can get a little blurry in some environments. The Mech's are awesome and the designs of the big boss battles are a nice on the eyes. The real highlight of the graphics is the backgrounds, such as the water, the sky and when your Mech is going full speed. The graphics won't wow you, but it does capture the feel of the Anime world, and that's what you need.

Sound - The sound is flawless, the reason why is because you get to control the music being played. You can choose your BGM from the files you have on your Ps3. Play your favorite Anime Themes or Anime BGM to bring more realism to your fight. The voice acting is also done in top notch form with the real actors from the respective shows.

Replay Value - The game doesn't add much for replay value. There is no DLC, nothing really to keep you playing. After the tons of story modes are completed. No Co-Op, No Online, however this an extra hard mode if you want to put your full ability to the test.

Final Grade C+/7.5 - Another Century's Episode R has a interesting story. The gameplay is a hit or miss depending on what Mech you're using, the camera movement gets in the way in some battles. It lacks any replay value, but if you're a Mech fan and love Anime, then this game is worth the import. It has enough gameplay time to keep you going for a while, the addition to add your own BGM is welcomed and makes the battles feel more closely to the Animes. Overall if you love Anime Mech's it's time to suit and give Season a taste of what a true Ace is like.