Developer: G.rev Ltd.
N Amer - 05/29/2007
WarTech Senko no Ronde Review
Ubisoft, as of late, has been trying to bolster their Xbox 360 lineup with titles from overseas that weren’t slated to reach our shores. The first objective on their list was to bring over the Japanese launch title Enchanted Arms. After that, Ubisoft saw fit for Over G Fighters and Import Tuner Challenge to be released in our market. They all performed so-so but that hasn’t stopped Ubisoft from further attempts with similar titles. Ubisoft’s future plans include heavily influenced Japanese titles such as Naruto: Rise of a Ninja and Exit. The former is being developed internally while the latter is a PSP title making its way to the Xbox Live Arcade.
Has Ubisoft’s strategy of strengthening their catalogue of Xbox 360 games with localization of Japanese titles worked? Well, in one way it has – namely the hardcore Japanese fanatics no longer have to import the titles over to the U.S. Coming from another perspective, with games such as WarTech: Senko no Ronde, the localization process doesn’t always feel complete. WarTech is a prime example of a rushed product.
Make no mistake about it; WarTech is a niche title that only the devoted shooter fans will enjoy. It has many factors that could possibly draw someone’s interest. First of all it has mechs – mechs are somewhat of a cult phenomenon in Japan and in the U.S. A recent example is the inclusion of mechs in Capcom’s Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Another factor that could play into a purchase of WarTech is the similarities it shares with SEGA’s popular one-on-one arcade-brawler, Virtual On. Both aspects could perhaps draw a gamer to rent WarTech for a weekend to give it a trial run.
The biggest problem, and what may hold back many from ever enjoying WarTech, is the storyline. The story is an all-out oddity. It serves no purpose but to pit fighters against each other with no satisfying conclusion to any of the eight storylines. I wish I had an answer for what happened in the story, but truly I don’t. The subtitles on the Japanese voicework are horrendous and offer no aid in comprehension. I have never felt so helpless with recapping a story than I have with Wartech. I completed the storyline for one of the characters within thirty minutes and sat there confused on what just happened between the end and the rolling credits.
As stated previously, there are eight characters to use within the storyline, but none present anything rewarding enough to give a sense of what the heck is going on in the story. To the developer’s credit, each character looks unique. The character’s come equipped with special upgrades. The special upgrades of the characters are an incentive to try them out in a test run to see which fits the player’s style of play. Whether or not the upgrades are sufficient to pull the gamer into hours of play remains to be seen – I personally became bored after about fourty or so minutes of trying each character out and picking my preferred choice.
In terms of how the game plays, there are a few attacks offered to mix it up in the battles. The most successful attacks came from melee combat. When I entered the enemies “no-fly zone.” I unleashed several attacks that depleted half of the enemy’s health bar. Though, when I cut the distance between the enemy and myself, my firing attacks automatically turned into hand-to-hand combat functions. Outside of the firing attacks and melee combat, there are of course the special upgrades where players call in for an upgrade to their mechs. Sounds cool right? Nope, not even close. They feel weak and powerless compared to the ability to just pound away at the enemy in close perimeter.
The controls have players viewing from above the battlefield as they zoom around blasting away the opponent. The attacks are generic and come with a few bells and whistles. Many of the games grand effects come into play with the special upgrades, but the upgrades serve no purpose but filling the screen with bigger mechs. Lastly, players will be able to apply defense with blocking shots with shields. Of course, blocking shots will assist in reducing damage, but players should expect a combination of attacks to be unleashed if they stick to defending for the majority of the time.
On the topic of longevity, WarTech can be completed in less than six hours if the players kept at it and are skilled. What I find humorous is that there is an achievement for playing this title for over 100 hours. This achievement is sick and twisted – some poor soul playing WarTech for that long is bound to have the feeling of torture after playing that long.
Other game modes are included outside of the story mode. There is a training mode included, but don’t mistake it for a tutorial mode. It’s a session with an android that sits there lifeless as I bombed away on the opponent. I was looking to develop a method of attack for the harder opponents in the storyline, but the training mode offers none. The best thing training mode offers is the ability to test run all the mechs to determine a favorite. There’s also a score attack mode that warrants a purpose of finishing it with a high score. There are only a few lives granted, but for some odd reason the developer gave the player unlimited continues to complete the stages.
There are online games to take part in, but finding a game is difficult. Since WarTech is a niche game, I am expecting that the height of the game’s popularity is going to be at its highest during these summer months and will wane once September hits for obvious reasons (Halo 3). The sad thing is that there is no popularity to speak of and I’d give anyone a dollar to play online with me.
With the audio, the voicework had me in terror. My first time though, I sat their befuddled with a puzzled look on my face wondering what in the world was going on. Of course, I can’t speak Japanese but the subtitles did little to explain the storyline. Sure the Japanese voice-acting is better than American voice-actors trying their best to emphasize emotion, but I am sickened by what is placed within WarTech. For the soundtrack, the developers incorporated the best elevator music in recent memory.
What’s left to say about WarTech: Senke no Ronde? Rent it – you’ll be saving your hard earned money.
|Review Scoring Details for WarTech: Senke no Ronde|
The controls are below average and don’t feel genuine. Essentially, the mechs, which comes powered with technological achievements of giant weapons, feel weak and powerless when put in comparison to other games in the same genre.
The graphics are on par with what I expected. The bar certainly isn’t being raised with WarTech.
Sure the Japanese language fits, but the subtitles do no justice for supplying any type of a storyline.
The controls provide the players no choice in the aim of their shot. Trying to hit a moving target has never been more difficult.
Good luck finding anyone online to play with. I suggest having inviting a friend over to get the best experience with WarTech. At least the multiplayer is available offline since in most cases the developers nowadays don’t feel inclined to include it anymore (i.e. Shadowrun).
I support publishers seeking a more diverse catalogue. I support developers trying their hand at different genres on the Xbox 360. But I don’t support either when it’s at the expense of quality.
WarTech left me with my chin on the ground. There’s a lot to be learned from Wartech. Not all Japanese Xbox 360 releases fit well with the U.S. market, especially when the localization crew feels that if they just added subtitles that all the problems would be solved with the storyline. Like I said, I had high hopes. It might have been because of my adoration with the Japanese culture. It might have been because of wanting a diverse group of games to play on my 360. Whatever the reason of my blind faith in the Japanese market, WarTech let me down and it’s an utter shame.
I had high hopes. I had high-apple-pie-in-the sky hopes for Wartech. Ultimately, it let me down
Reviewer: Dakota Grabowski
Review Date: 06/20/2007