When I started playing Super Robot Taisen OG Saga -- Endless Frontier, it was in the expectation that I'd be writing the review for a year-old game which had few prospects of coming to America. Well, surprise, surprise -- it was announced for overseas release, and that changes everything. So, it's time to discuss just what we have to look forward to in this title. I hope you all enjoy the ride.
" This is more than made up for by this game's other major attraction -- cleavage."
Welcome to the Endless Frontier, a group of incredibly diverse worldlets connected here and there by the Crossgates. Each realm has its own distinct races, idioms, monsters, and even special consumable items that match the area's theme. As the grand tour commences, the player is introduced to the post-apocalyptic world of Lost Elencia, where the names are German and the speech patterns Cowboy. The scenery shifts relentlessly to an idealized oriental kingdom, to a fairytale world slowly succumbing to desert, to a massive world-forest, to an endless ocean, and to a realm of dark magics. If there's one thing that's not lacking, it's background color.
What is lacking, at least towards the beginning, is the number of giant robots. Considering this is technically a Super Robot Wars title, that's probably the last thing one would have expected, but the eponymous war machines take their own sweet time appearing on the scene. This is more than made up for by this game's other major attraction -- cleavage.
Okay, let me get this out of my system now: BOOBS. BOOBS, BOOBS, BOOBS, BOOBS, BOOBS. With a game as openly fanservice-y as this, and a majority female cast, there's a whole lot to see. And if the translators manage only half of the bad boob jokes contained in the Japanese version, there shall still be much groaning and shaking of heads to be had.
Graphically, the game comes in two distinct sections: battles and everything else. Outside of battle, Endless Frontier is not the most graphically inspiring of games. In fact, I may have seen better on the SNES. The towns, while huge on the worldmap, are just points to visit -- there's no exploration to be had therein. Dungeons are fairly straightforward as well, though many are obviously set up to be revisited later in the game. It's not a secret that most of the development team's time and manpower was spent on the battle system.
But what battles to be had! Beginning as simple random encounters, the battles in Endless Frontier sound simple enough. When a character's turn comes up, they can do a few different things:
1) They can use a healing/support skill (as much as they want, within the limits of their SP or the effects of the skill), after which they can attack.
2) They can use an item, which depending on the power of the item, can reduce their COM% for that turn -- i.e. they get fewer attacks when they choose to do so.
3) They can choose to use a hit-all technique, which ends their turn.
4) They can attack (even after using support skills or items) as long as they have enough COM% to do so. The max % is 100, while the minimum necessary for an attack is 10%. A character can have five attacks set, and the player can set the order they activate in advance.
The ability to heal or cure ailments pretty much every turn, and still attack at almost full power, would break most games. When even normal enemies can survive five digits' worth of damage, the way they can in this game, quick and easy healing becomes necessary for survival. All in all, while I wouldn't call this game difficult, neither is it a walk in the park.
The high point of battles is seeing how long you can juggle enemies in the air. My current record with Suzuka, including two support attacks from back-row party members and a finishing move, is 179 consecutive hits without the enemy touching the ground. I'm pretty sure I can do better than that, if I can get my timing just right. As for total damage, my record is 47,754 damage in one attack sequence. This did not kill the boss in question, but it did put a noticeable dent in her HP bar.
Endless Frontier has so far been much more interesting than I'd originally expected. The battle system, while very simplistic, takes practice and attention to master properly. The members of the cast aren't the most well-rounded characters I've ever seen (at least in terms of personality), but they work well together. The story itself gets more and more convoluted as it progresses, with at least six factions that need to be dealt with one way or the other, but after 20 hours, I'm still not sure where it's all going. I'm eager to find out, though.
Finally, special mention should be made of the extra attention the programmers put into making sure each female character jiggles appropriately during her special attack animations. It is, after all, the little things that can add the most to the gaming experience... or in this case, the big things.