Flashbacks and Grinding: Mech Games I’ve Been Playing Lately

This month, I’ve been playing some Baldr Sky 1, which is an untranslated eroge with mecha action. Normally I would stay clear of eroge despite the mecha pitch, but Baldr Sky’s girls are pretty hot, and the story is actually interesting (amnesia + ghostdiving + parallel worlds).

This is Rain. She is your partner, and her mech is cooler than yours.

For an eroge, the mecha action is surprisingly good, and offers tons of replay value. I’m playing on Normal mode and it’s fairly challenging, without being frustrating (I’ve lost just one battle so far, but all my wins were hard-earned). I can’t comment on the story in-depth, because you know, it’s not in English. I hope it gets translated, though.

Dive 1 is made of three routes: Rain, Nanoha, and Chinatsu. Rain is the action girl (think Saber), Nanoha is the childhood friend, and Chinatsu is like Kallen from Code Geass, but better. Rain route sets up the world, which makes it rather pedestrian compared to the other routes. Nanoha route has some terrifying twists and turns, but I wasn’t able to get maximum satisfaction in it because Nanoha is so annoying. She cries and cries and has to be saved everytime. I’m towards the end of Chinatsu’s route right now, and it is extreme–crazy things happen all the time since most of the setup has been covered by the other routes, and Chinatsu herself holds a shocking secret. It’s also the hardest in terms of mecha fights.

I found the girls very attractive (except Nanoha and Makoto the loli). Rain might have some abnormally thick thighs, but her costume looks fantastic. Chinatsu’s non-school outfit looks awesome, but I like Aki and Noi the most. Aki is the perennially sleepy elder cousin who is a bit of a geek, and speaks in a sexy drawl. Noi is a gothloli doctor (may not be an actual loli) who might be the most eroge-savvy girl in the game. In one scene, she is gangraped by some thugs, and right afterward she holds a normal conversation with the main character, shrugging off his worries. IT’S AS IF NOTHING HAPPENED. She has some kinky extra scenes too.

I don’t care about Sora or Makoto. I found Sora to be irritating, and have nothing for Makoto. I’m told that Makoto’s route is very good in Dive 2, however.

One complaint I have about this game, however, is the tons of flashbacks. Ever since I’ve seen Rurouni Kenshin the Movie, multiple flashbacks became the stuff of violent nightmares. Baldr Sky takes place in a setting where a large disaster happened, and the main character is undergoing treatment to recover his memories. He gets strapped into a bed, and experiences flashbacks on his school/dorm life. Later on, it gets crazy–flashbacks just randomly pop everywhere, whenever you hear a key phrase or something. It gets really jarring, the way you’re in a tense scene, and then you get flashbacks. Within flashbacks. Zounds!

I’ll try finishing the last route in the wee hours of the morning, because.

* * *

The other game I’m playing is Gundam Assault Survive. If you’re following me on Twitter (I-I’m not telling you to follow me on Twitter or anything, stupid!), I’ve been talking about it half of the time since the latter half of March. It’s the fifth game in the esteemed Gundam Battle Series (Tactics, Royale, Chronicle, Universe are the other ones), which is one of the main reasons why I got a PSP in the first place.

It’s also in Japanese, and ironically has less chances of getting translated into English than Baldr Sky. However, I can use my Gundam-fu to navigate around, and I have very little trouble playing the game as is. ❤

The game introduces major changes into the series:

  • Tuning points are now universal, meaning you can earn points in one mech and spend it on another
  • Equippable custom parts that boost your mech’s stats
  • A game shop where you can buy mechs, parts, pilots, pilot skills, pilot titles, development plans, and secrets
  • You can have up to a maximum of two wingmen (instead of just one)
  • Missions are now composed of multiple maps that give you numerous objectives (protect the White Base in Map A, destroy the enemy fleet in Map B)
  • More Gundam shows included: F91, Victory (mecha and extra missions only) SEED and the first season of 00

There is also the MS development feature, which needs a bit of explaining. Suppose you want Char’s Zaku II-S. You’ll need to tune the normal Zaku II-S up to a certain extent, and equip it with a custom part (Booster, in this case). That’ll unlock Char’s Zaku II-S in the shop–you’ll have to buy it separately. It’s a little cool, but it could get downright ridiculous: to get the GN Flag, you’ll have to acquire the GN[T] Drive, which costs around 6 million points.

Which brings me to my next point. GAS is full of grinding. You cannot acquire the Hi-Nu Gundam by playing normally. You would have to check out a Japanese wiki, decipher its hallowed moonrunes, and work slowly towards your goal. The grinding method I’m using churns out around 800 thousand points in 3 minutes, but there are three custom parts that are worth worth 57 million, and you need to buy them if you ever want to stage armed interventions in the UC era. Of course I’ll grind for them!

At any rate, the gameplay has been upped another notch. The earlier campaigns (0079, 0083) have a more authentic feel, since all mechs have been rebalanced to be more faithful to their in-series tech level. That just means your Dom will only be able to cover a little ground in one jump. It’s even more extreme than Lost War Chronicles!

The later campaigns (SEED, 00) get really crazy, since the enemy mecha have very good specs and you are swarmed by many of them, especially in 00, where you fight an army of GN-Xs towards the end.

You also can’t OHKO most bosses anymore with specials. Back then I’d murder both Scirocco and Haman with my Zeta’s special attack. Now, fighting the Quin Mantha with a beam-weapon-using mech is a big challenge. As things are, the hernia-inducing mission is the one where you control Mwu in the Aile Strike Gundam against Rau in the Providence.

A word of warning: Gundam Assault Survive is often compared to Gundam vs Gundam NEXT PLUS, which is entirely a different beast. The former is an action game with story missions, while the latter is an arcade fighting game similar to Virtual On (without the fancy control sticks however). GvG is balanced for competitive play, but GAS won’t reward you at all if you choose to fight the Zeong with a measly Ball. Get GvG if you have friends to play with, but GAS is the supreme Gundam single-player experience.


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15 Responses to Flashbacks and Grinding: Mech Games I’ve Been Playing Lately

  1. Gunstray says:

    Baldr sky anime is a disapointment.

    GAS is starting sound that it borrows some game mechanics from Macross Acefrontier

  2. IKnight says:

    You can use your Gundam-fu to navigate around, eh? I guess Gundam’s a universal language . . .

  3. Zeroblade says:

    “In one scene, she is gangraped by some thugs, and right afterward she holds a normal conversation with the main character, shrugging off his worries.”

    So you got the lolicon plugin? このロリぺドフィン。

  4. ToastCrust says:

    Ooo, I should totally play the Baldr series once I stop having roommates that understand Japanese.

  5. Shiro, Long Tail's says:

    I remember playing either Chronicle or Royale for a bit but quickly became disillusioned when every mission was essentially me just spamming special death ray attack. That is until you had to fight the Neue Ziel and he repeatedly thrashed me.

    Since then I’ve stuck with the VS series and Encounter in Space whenever I want some engrossing single player.

  6. crazydave says:

    Have never play myself any Baldr sky or gundam games since I am guess they are PS2 games, but I have long been a fan of the Mech Warrior Franchise since Mech Warrior 2 on Windows 95. Perhaps I should do extended recon on baldr series?

  7. Zhead says:

    Yo. I dont mind having this spoiled but what is Chinatsu’s secret? I’ve seen screenshots of what looks like a younger her with Kou, so could u explain wth thts about?

    • schneider says:

      While I’ve stalled this game indefinitely, what I learned from snooping around is:

      Chinatsu’s body was destroyed from the cataclysm years before the main plot took place, and the Chinatsu you see now is but a cyborg. That ending is where she gets a new, organic body to live with Kou. Or something.

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