Atarashii Prelude

17Oct/0829

Macross Ace Frontier: Kyun Kyun, Kyun Kyun, Watashi Wa Pairotto!

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Having glued myself to this ever since it was released, I managed to pry away from the PSP to string together this rudimentary review on the much anticipated game based on the Macross series from Namco Bandai.

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Players are treated to a rather cool opening sequence that features the Variable Fighters from four generations; the original SDF Macross, Macross Plus, Macross Seven and the more recent and familiar(to me) Macross Frontier.

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The main menu has a rather simple yet sleek interface in English, so even if you can't read moonrunes, like me, you can easily jump into the game without much hassle. Single mode comes in two flavors, the main campaigns and the freeplay mode where you partake in random skirmishes, while Network would be multiplay up to 4 players on Ad Hoc. I would have personally loved an Infrastructure mode for some online action, but sadly there's nothing of that sort, though that's what XLink Kai is for.

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The character creation screen; Players have a choice of a four unnamed characters to pick from with unspecificied ages. While I obviously went for the prettiest one(the purple hair chick), I had to resist making her too young as it had an effect on her default stats as a pilot such as speed, defense and marksmanship. Once you're done tweaking your pilot and wingman, you can select one of three mission operators. Again, no surprise which person I picked.

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All four generations are available to you right off the bat, and being a series newbie, I went ahead and tried AD 2059, which is none other than Macross Frontier.

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The loading screens themselves are a form of eye candy, and they revolve around Macross Frontier more than anything else though, but who's complaining? Other than possibly wolfx  the oldfags of course.

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And one for the Sheryl fags.

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With that out of the way, let's get on to the rest of the review:

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The hangar. You'll be spending half your time here selecting missions, tweaking your mecha, assigning your pilot with special abilities or just watching your awesome replays. In before someone nitpicks on my poor score.

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Using PT earned from completing missions, you can upgrade the machine in terms of its core stats like HP, DEF, to its SPD. Weapons too can be beefed up, where you improve damage, firing rate, ammo count and reloading time.

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Next, you can assign your pilot with special abilities that improve his or her combat efficiency from a choice of both offensive and defensive ones, like increasing your overall stats to opponent damage reduction. The coolest and my favorite would probably be Max's time stopping ZA WARUDO skill.

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If you're not happy with the default colors, you can always give your mecha a custom paintjob. Yes, I went for pink.

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Once you're satisfied, you're ready to take off!

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Missions themselves range from the usual destroy all targets to the defend a certain important objective, though you actually still have to clear the map in order to win. Occasionally, the mission spans up to 2-3 parts with a boss fight at the end. While they don't take too long to complete, diligent players may want to replay them in order to attain a better rating as it not only gives you a lot more PT but unlocks goodies like secret characters and VFs.

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Fighter Mode

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Offering the greatest mobility and speed, you'll want to stick to this form when engaging in dogfights. Its afterburner ability allows you to enter and exit combat situations much easier, not to mention dodging enemy fire more efficiently.

GERWALK Mode

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While less agile, you are still able to maneuver at a decent pace, which is good when you're facing large targets such as Macross itself, since you'll be encircling your target ensuring it doesn't kill you off in a single hit with its big mofo cannons, while piling on the offensive yourself. Instead of afterburners, you gain a rather powerful melee attack, good against those pesky fighters that fly within your range.

Battroid Mode

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Certain missions require that you thread on foot, hence the need for the battroid mode. While you can also complete them in either the aforementioned modes, nothing beats transforming into a humanoid, going up close and personal with a devastating chain of melee and projectile combos that is sure to severely damage if not kill whatever that gets in your way.

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More loading screens

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Graphics ★★★★☆

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If you're familiar with Artdink's other mecha game, namely Gundam Battle Universe, you'll notice that they reused the same graphics engine for Macross Ace Frontier. Well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, I guess. The graphics are very polished and detailed to the point you can make out the decals and markings on your Variable Fighter, with no real noticeable slowdowns even when things get hectic on screen.

Gameplay ★★★☆☆

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The missions, if anything, lack variety and will get repetitive after a while. Adding to the fact a lousy player like myself has to play certain missions more than once in order to get a good ranking, it may get boring real fast. The camera can be a real bitch at times, especially in a boss fight when you're trying to align yourself nicely and before you know it, you've been shot down. Multiplayer lags with anything more than 2 players can desperately needed a co-op mode.

Controls ★★★☆☆

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Nothing to comment here. For the most part, the controls are responsive though in hectic situations it might be difficult to change into the various modes using the analogue stick, but that's really just me. Switching between weapons can also get kind of tricky at times.

Sound ★★★☆☆

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I really want to give it a higher score, if only the developers weren't so cheap. The BGMs while a good listen, were limited in number, but my real gripe is the lack of actual vocal pieces, especially from Macross Frontier. While I admittedly enjoy listening to Sheryl's Iteza Gogo Kyuuji Don't be late, I'm really annoyed with the developers for the exclusion of Ranka songs, other than Lion, and even that you only get to listen in a bonus Vajra mission. What the flying fuck?! GIVE ME MY SEIKAN HIKOU/ANATA NO OTO/WATASHI NO KARE WA PAIROTTO(VOCAL)/AIMO(VOCAL)!

Overall ★★★★☆

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Despite my whining on the little issues, I actually gave the game a rather good score, which it deserves, as it fulfilled the criteria for a spinoff game that's actually a decent mecha action title in its own right. There's enough here for both fans and casual players alike, making Macross Ace Frontier a must have for any PSP owners. Off to train before I face off with a series veteran.

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SEE YOU NEXT DECULTURE!

Posted by Shin

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Comments (29) Trackbacks (2)
  1. Sheryl and ranka are boring. Its all about Basara. ORE NO UTA KIKKEEE!!!! :kiss:

    The game feels abit unfinished though because the Frontier campaign ends only midpoint of the anime and for some odd reason DO NOT include the fast and armored packs. The bosses also mainly Geppelnitch and Bodolza have portraits that appear when they are low in life and seem to want to say something but they are mute….which is kinda strange.

  2. dammit, and here i though we had a chance of a second Macross F season(2 more osts :twisted: ) to make up for the lame ending that the first one delivered.

    I am dissapointed now :cry:

  3. Calm down Ranka fanboy. You never know they might do a remake.

  4. Awesome loading screens are awesome. Shame I don’t own a PSP.

    Also, who knows, Macross Ace Frontier PLUS DISC? :cool:
    C.I.’s last blog post..[Late]To Aru Majutsu no Index 02 – Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

  5. some koo stuf…

  6. This looks fun. but any game with Nekki Basara on a portable platform leaves me in danger of shouting some shit about “RADICAL FIRE!!” while in a public place, so I won’t be buying that PSP anytime soon.

    otou-san’s last blog post..Kannagi the dark horse

  7. I am feel like I am playing a Gundam Game, except that there are jet fighters and valkyries instead of Gundams, but I must admit there are some improvements…Eyecandies, but No cinematics??…cheap… :shock:

    I would have preferred a different approach like the Galaxy Angels PC / PS2 games where you can establish character development and action fights….Instead they used the same mechanics like the Gundam Seed PSP games…

    I like your review…A very good look on the game…. :kiss:
    ….I dont think I can say the same about the game…. :grin: Probably people that are Macross hard core fans will enjoy it the most.

  8. Looks real nice. Shame that I don’t have a PSP… :sad:
    FFVIIKnight’s last blog post..Boku ni Natta Watashi

  9. What’s with the stat discrimination against lolis?

    Kabitzin’s last blog post..I Need To Stop Discriminating Against Bikes

  10. There has never been a time when i yearned for a PSP than now. :twisted:
    Setsuna-san’s last blog post..Macross Itasha

  11. Well, does the game go crazy with a gazillion Vajra on screens shooting gazillion-squared bullets at you?

    Would’ve been cooler too if you could use Ranka as a smart-bomb in such situation too. :)

    bakaneko’s last blog post..Gundam b00bs—gundam 00 s2 2

  12. Gonna buy a PSP to play this. XD :neutral:
    Kairu Ishimaru’s last blog post..Genshiken: Finished

  13. Don’t own a PSP… sadness…

    ghostlightning’s last blog post..Tenshi no Enogu

  14. I left my PSP back in Singapore.

    The Sojourner’s last blog post..JLPT

  15. I have turned Wing Commander Prophecy into Macross Commander. Complete with Macross Missile barrages(tm). I really prefer if they made it a first person space simulator instead of this halfassed style.

  16. Makes me want to get a PSP. Meh! No money, so i’m stuck with photography.

    Aoshi’s last blog post..New photographs

  17. You know Shin, you never add polls anymore :mad: . I would have liked pictures of the operators and pilots, with something snarky like “which would you rather pilot?” as the question. :twisted:

    @wolfx: “Sheryl and ranka are boring”
    :shock: :shock: BLASPHEMY!!! (Even if I’ve never actually seen any Macross, I know that much).

  18. :idea: Everyone!!!!

    press START button !!!!!!!!!!!

  19. No Ranka songs = -10 points.

  20. :mad: now if I made the game it would have nothing but Ranka in it!

    Mini’s last blog post..Hurray for junjo Romantica 2!

  21. What? no Ranka songs?? I’m sick of all this unbalanced preference for both singers (it’s no joke just watch the series; so Sheryl/Ranka-tards don’t come out saying it’s not true), and here I was gonna buy the game. Sorry you won’t get my monies this time Japan (you’ll get it for some figurines)

  22. Sherlys songs are better tough :shock:

  23. I love sheryl’s song, I once loved Ranka’s songs since ‘What ’bout my Star @ formo’. I love this game, although I don’t understand Jap that much so I’ll have to use my memorization and eyes skills to do play this, the gameplay isn’t hard similar from the old gundam Seed port from the PSP.

    tflops’s last blog post..Maya Koizumi

  24. @wolfx

    I guess they didn’t have the time or authority to be including so much of Frontier into the game.

    @Dularc

    There’s always the OVA, but to be honest, I’m not counting on that to really deliver either. :razz:

    @Anime Loving Republican

    I cry myself to sleep every night knowing I can’t hear Ranka’s sweet voice in the game. :cry:

    @C.I

    I would settle for a current-gen console remake of the title instead. :wink:

    @Chimasternmay

    Yes, everything about this game(other than the lack of Ranka songs) is koo. :razz:

    @otou

    Funny. That’s exactly what wolfx say he would do in a LAN game against me.

    @toonleap

    Um, I didn’t mention it but you can sorta build a relationship with the characters in game but I don’t know how that system works. :oops:

    @FFVIIKnight

    Not exactly missing much I guess, and I’m counting for future spinoffs on other consoles too.

    @Kabitzin

    This game is biased against newbies; VFs from older generations are inherently stronger than the newer models from Frontier so that kind of explains the developer’s stance on it. :evil:

    @Setsuna

    Save up and buy a Ranka figurine along with me when it releases. :twisted:

    @bakaneko

    More or less, but there’s only so many enemies the system can handle on screen at once. Ranka not only does not sing for the game, neither she nor Sheryl is even brought up in game. :sad:

    @Kairu

    Well apart from Mac F, 2008-2009 is a pretty good year for otaku gamers since there are many more of such games bound for release including Idolm@ster and Hatsune Miku.

    @ghostlightning

    I believe just like the PS2, there will be a PSP emulator for the PC eventually, so you can try it out then. :cool:

    @Sojourner

    You must be kicking yourself now. :lol:

    @Di Gi Kazune

    There is actually a pseudo cockpit view, but the camera’s so clunky, you’d be putting yourself in a greater handicap if you switch.

    @Aoshi

    Sell flash = Buy PSP!

    @westrim

    You’re right about that, but I can’t seem to find the fun of making polls anymore now that Code Geass is over. :sad: Maybe one is another post for fun’s sake. :lol:

    @double

    You won’t believe how long I was bitching about it to my friend while we were playing. :lol:

    @Mini

    Best idea for a game ever. :kiss:

    @yaku

    Yes, save your money and get the open source copy.

    @Dularc

    NO_U :razz:

    @tflops

    We more or less share the same opinion, other than in regards to Sherly’s songs. :oops:

  25. I been playing for a few weeks now. Just started the Macross 7 section and the greatest thing happened, I got to kill Nekki Basara!!!!!!! I have never in my video game history enjoyed the death of a character so greatly :mrgreen: The only bad part was that the SOB showed right back up in the next mission, but I got to kill him again so it’s all good.

    Love the game. Wish someone would put up a translation of some of the menus so I know exactly what I am upgrading. I have inferred some of them, but not all of them. If anyone can help please email me! lowlife187@juno.com

  26. @Dularc: Oh my god, please tell me you you’re kidding and that you listen to Sheryl’s songs and not Ranka’s just because you think they are better.

    I like both singers’ songs, and it’s a total travesty to sell a Macross Frontier game with songs of only one singer when it’s obvious they are both important.

  27. I love that game , good looking and fun but i was SO disapointed with the missing Ranka songs … it’s stupid …

    And what ? one Sheryl song ? WTH is that :/

    :cry:
    James’s last blog post..Art of Shunya Yamashita Sera-Chan 1/7 (Kotobukiya)

  28. The Game is QL, had fun watchin the series aswell, hope a live actiOn movie Frontier style whatnot will come out soon,
    but finding serious help about what does what and what is what good for in the menu isn’t really here, more likely some nice screenshots 2 put in the psp bkround

    jap –> english

    would be very nice, so non JP speakers/readers can understand what they are actually tuning and so on!!!

    I basically just went 4 it and tuned…everything else that’s shown here is FIGURE OUT ABLE ON ONES OWN!!!

    I don’t prefer a faggy pink mech so I colored my MECHA in a nice black body (not all the way…2 keep the lokks right) with blue and the letters/logos in white… .. . then again, who friggin cares how any body colours they’re mecha straisands xD

  29. Hope this is not against the rules, but I have found a really nice site with the controls and stats explained. Also has a list of the pilot abilities you can use during battle. Now I just need a mission list so I know what is needed to unlock new characters and mecha.

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=338404

    This is the site, hope it helps some of you.


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