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Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Monolift Soft, Banpresto
Genre: Traditional RPG
Format: Cartridge
Released: US 05/01/09
Japan 05/29/08
Official Site: Japanese Site



Scorecard
Graphics: 88%
Sound: 92%
Gameplay: 86%
Control: 95%
Story: 84%
Overall: 87%
Reviews Grading Scale
 
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"Mutant Eye" does not seem like an accurate name.
 
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Outside of battle, the graphics are ugly, but serviceable.
 
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Here's a boss. That means you'll fight her at least three more times.
 
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This is why the game is good.
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Kyle Miller
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier
06/03/09
Kyle Miller

When I watched the trailer for Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier, the combination of over the top attacks, undulating breasts, and the inexplicable appearance of KOS-MOS completely beguiled me. That combination of bizarre and seemingly random elements, however, prompted me to play this chapter in the SRT series to discern just what this was all about. After discovering who the developing and publishing companies were, I could answer some of the questions brought to mind by the trailer: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier combines the SRT series' universe with a tweaked version of Namco X Capcom's battle system. With Monolift Soft also involved, the game includes a few characters from the Xenosaga series, namely KOS-MOS and her rival T-elos. That explained some of the madness, but not until I spent thirty hours with the game itself did I understand all of it.

Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier combines a hectic battle system with an obscene sense of humor and the adventures of a sexually tense bounty hunter, his voluptuous android, a cow-boobed princess, a demon-girl, a fox-girl, a skunk-haired visitor from another land, and KOS-MOS in a slightly flawed, but entertaining romp across multiple worlds as ridiculous and outrageous as the name of the game.

Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier tells the story of bounty hunter Haken Browning, a young and oversexed man with a knack for witty nicknames. Along with his lifetime android friend, Haken explores the ruins of a massive battleship in one of the many connected worlds in the Endless Frontier. After finding a busty princess with a bounty as big as her boobs, Haken sets off to collect. Before long, however, Haken and friends are wrapped up in a mystery that breaches the boundaries of the Endless Frontier surrounding the appearance of powerful crystals. Dozens of individuals from several different organizations and worlds as well as demons of the past seek these crystals, and it's up to Haken and his eclectic team to find out how everything is connected.

One of the redeeming aspects of Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier is its agenda to poke fun at typical JRPGs. Thus, its plot is a convoluted mess of a mystery surrounding irrelevant crystals from an unknown land. For three quarters of the game, the player rushes from town to dungeon in search of answers, only to discover more questions brought about by new NPCs and their complex alliances. The plot doesn't spiral out of control like many, but does offer a rather typical excuse for all the chaos occurring across the Endless Frontier. Despite the anti-climactic appearance of a true villain, the plot maintains a sense of mystery until the end and resolves in an interesting way. Perhaps the cleverest moment involves the game's major reveal, to which the affected character barely reacts rather than breaking down into prolonged introspection or questioning the meaning of existence. This slight against JRPG melodrama everywhere is much appreciated. Still, some depth to the plot and characters would have been welcome, considering how diverse and likeable a cast is present. Even Haken is two-dimensional and barely changes throughout the adventure.

Fortunately, Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier's dialogue keeps players entertained for its duration with an almost constant barrage of comical jibes exchanged between and within factions. The localization team paid the right amount of attention to the dialogue and players will likely be thankful, even if every possible pun is made by the end of the game. Considering the verbosity of the tale and the stagnant anime character portraits shown during cutscenes, the quality of dialogue is only logical; reading text is one of the player's two main tasks. The other is combat.

Thankfully, the battle system provides players with a chaotically fun whirlwind of weapons and elaborate attacks almost as great as an old Tales title. Once a random battle begins, the player will recognize common RPG actions. On any of the four front row characters' turns, the player unleashes a series of customizable attacks using only non-stylus controls with the goal to keep juggling the foe in the air to sustain a combo that can transcend turns from one character down the to last. This provides for the basis of the turn-based combat, but additional mechanisms also come into play: special attacks, back row support attacks, magic-like spirits, passive abilities, and a chargeable gauge that causes a powerful blast of magic ferocity accompanied by the requisite superfluous showmanship.

Even though SRT OG Saga uses a turn-based battle system, its combat feels more action oriented with timed button presses and a well developed urgency to keep the enemy in the air. Those that mindlessly mash the A-button to attack lose out on the subtle touches of filling the aforementioned gauge and racking up massive, boss-rending, game-changing combos. The battle system's nuances involve strategy and allow for different experiences in each battle. Unfortunately, one of these nuances works against the flow of the game. Called a "Forced Evasion," this aspect of combat suddenly ceases a combo and a character's turn as well as provoking a possible counter attack. This is both common and unavoidable. Despite this one hiccup, combat stays fresh for most of the game. Most of it...

Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier involves hours of combat. Normal battles can take up to five minutes to conquer, while some bosses take up to thirty minutes. Everything about the game is excessive and while this works at times, it becomes weary at others. After the twentieth enormous boss battle, players might start to tire of SRT OG Saga's antics, especially considering that any given boss is likely to reappear. About four times each. If Haken runs into an NPC, he'll have to fight him multiple times, each battle more contrived than the last. Perhaps this is the game's way of making fun of other JRPGs, but repetitive, numerous, and lengthy bosses are undoubtedly tedious and frustrating.

Considering how much time players spend in battle, it's only logical that the developers took the most care with in-combat graphics. Characters look great, and enemies are interestingly designed (even if there are countless palette swaps). The most titillating of all, however, are the special attacks, which even show animated portraits of the character using the attack. To preserve the freshness of battle even further, the developers included multiple combat music tracks, all of which perfectly fit the synthetic and schizophrenic nature of the game. Additionally, characters constantly shout out battle cries in Japanese, enhancing the chaotic nature of combat. Outside of combat, the music is somewhat repetitive, though always fun for a listen. Graphically, environments are clean and colorful, but entirely vintage.

The few minutes of gameplay outside of battle mostly involve dungeon exploration. Haken runs around in various dungeons, all of which are decently designed with valuable treasures, multiple paths, easy access to exits, and even a few puzzles. A world map provides a link between these dungeons and the menu-based towns. SRT OG Saga's pacing would have improved had the towns been fully laid out, although they may have been labyrinthine disasters considering the game's theme of excess. Still, the Endless Frontier is an enjoyable place to explore, although it hardly lives up to its name; there are only three main worlds to visit, with a few on the side.

Despite the strange premise, the odd combination of franchises, and the gameplay departure from the main Super Robot series, Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier manages to thoroughly strike a blow at the JRPG mold while maintaining a level of fun uncommon in RPGs. If the game had gone on longer with its inanely repetitive bosses, it might have suffered a significantly lower score, but for once, the developers knew when to quit. A fun, light-hearted, perverse, and satirical RPG, Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier possesses enough charm, wit, and heart to warrant a sequel.



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© 2009 Bandai Namco, Monolift Soft, Banpresto. All rights reserved.


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