Review

Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier (Nintendo DS)

This Game is Tits!

by Coop

                      

With a name like Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier, the audience for Atlus's newest DS RPG is already fairly limited. It's long and very Japanese, which means it's going to cater to JRPG fans instantly. It also has the word robot in it, which means many will pick it up expecting mech battles. Don't be deceived: there aren't really that many robots in Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier. I know, it's sort of false advertising, but don't leave yet, the game has plenty of reasons beyond robots to pay attention. It has a unique battle system, interesting characters, and huge freaking cans. Like, giant bazongas, all the time.

Seriously, there are a lot of boob jokes in Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier. So many that it's important to spend time just talking about them. There's nary a dialogue segment where one of the characters doesn't reference the size of an opponent's breasts, an ally's fun bags, or her own hooters - and for good reason. With few exceptions all of the females in the game are sporting jugs so big their backs likely never stop aching, and the world seems to be made up of underdressed, busty women. Usually this counts against the game because of how silly it is, but the constant references and call outs to ta-tas really help move the game's story on, and, in all honesty, are one of the motivating factors for continuing.

                        

That's not to say the story isn't good, it just... isn't as entertaining as waiting for the next joke about knockers. The localization team did a fantastic job in this title, because what they couldn't form together with the story (see: character development, depth) they expertly crafted with cleavage. It's obvious that the game doesn't take itself too seriously, which can oftentimes be a killer in the genre. There's nothing worse than a shallow RPG trying to shove "honor" and "remembrance" symbolism down gamers' throats while the protagonist's love interest is swinging around daddy's little girls like there's no tomorrow.

Endless Frontier doesn't bother with that. The cast of characters are generally fairly funny, and actually bare some resemblance to the crew in Firefly. The main character, Haken Browning, draws inspiration from both Mal and X-Men's Gambit as a card throwing, ship-captaining cowboy. His sidekick is an android named Aschen who has an overdrive mode that turns her stoic, serious attitude silly and sexual, while stripping away the green clothing that covers her curvaceous body (this mode is referred to by Haken as "fun mode" and "party mode" on several occasions). Along the way, they pick up a few princesses, some friends from another dimension, and the occasional Japanese girl with cat or fox ears. It's consistently asinine and ridiculous that the characters never seem to worry too much about anything, and their journey, while not too interesting in and of itself, is entertaining throughout the game.

                      

Another big point in the game's favor is the battle system, which is a breath of fresh air in the RPG scene. It maintains a turn-based scheme, which is a dying breed in the genre, but has several additions that keep it from growing stale. It's a bit complicated at first, but plays out well. Each character's COM (Combo Energy) gauge has a certain percentage, which goes down with every attack, meaning they can usually attack a few times each turn. Nearly every attack knocks enemies into the air, and the following movement can be done before they hit the ground, keeping them airborne and lowering their defenses, while raising the Frontier Gauge, which can be unleashed when full to execute an extremely powerful attack (which is accompanied with a jumbly-flapping cut-scene). 

With me so far? All right, here's where it gets complicated. Any time that an ally would normally be going after the current character's attack, they can be called into battle early by hitting right on the D-Pad, which not only continues the juggling, but also raises the Frontier Gauge and lowers the chance of the opponent blocking. Hitting left brings out characters that are placed in the "back row," who come out and do damage while also adding the the meter and keeping enemies afloat. There are also typical magic abilities and items, but only the "front row" character can use these tools. This equates to extremely complicated, but amazingly in-depth battle strategies. If that all made sense to you, than you likely understand why it's such an interesting mechanic. If it didn't, then you should still "get" why it's different. Either way, just know that the combat is fun, and that's all that matters.

                      

But while it comes packing with an interesting combat system and a hilarious non-plot, not all Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier is biddies and sweater-kittens. If, for one moment, you forget where you are going, it can mean an hour or two of backtracking, running around, and desperately looking for a doorway that would easily have been found if there was better guidance. The graphics are also a bit uninspiring, and there's little in the game that couldn't have been handled on the Gameboy Advance. With such a focus on chest pillows you would think the developers would make the graphics of a high enough fidelity to make sure every animation is accompanied with some jiggle, but it's retrained mostly to Frontier Gauge animations (though I'm 100% sure the animators tried hard to make the low-res sprites have a bit of bounce).

But those are faults are easily overlooked, and don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. In the end, the game's biggest issue is its name, since it feels a lot like the game could have blown up with a different audience in mind. The Grand Theft Auto crowd, who might find the story chuckle-worthy and the combat unique, isn't going to pick up a JRPG, especially one that has "crappy Gundam clone" written all over the cover. Ignore that, forget the name - it's almost a non sequitur. If you're in the market for an RPG and don't feel like playing another cliché, traditional JRPG, there should definitely be room in your library for Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier.

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Comments
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  • QMarc80
    QMarc80

    Awesome review!

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