Immersive strategy game with great animation

Players feel like they are in an interactive manga in Super Robot Wars X.
Players feel like they are in an interactive manga in Super Robot Wars X.

The Super Robot Wars franchise is one of those long-running game series that have been released on a multitude of platforms over the years.

Initially launched on Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991, it became an exclusive franchise on handheld systems, such as Game Boy and Nintendo DS, before making its way to home consoles.

Recent titles included Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers on PlayStation 4 in 2016, and Super Robot Wars V in 2017.

The franchise is famous for bringing together giant robots from popular anime titles and the recent releases have been developed with newcomers in mind. Super Robot Wars X follows in the same vein and is a title that stands on its own.

The game comes with a brief tutorial stage. After you select one of the three difficulty levels, you kick off the plot by choosing either a male or female character to represent the protagonist.

The story will have you meet other characters, who will join your cause. Dialogues unfold over multiple layers of text, alongside still images of the relevant speakers. Character fight animation is accompanied by a Japanese voice-over and rousing music, which will make you feel like you are in an interactive manga.

The plot is broken into scenarios, starting off with introductory chats between the characters. Once objectives are defined, the player heads off to battle. Here, the camera shifts to a top-down isometric view that gives you control of giant robots, represented in miniature form. As more units join your side, you will assume control of them as well.

  • 7/10 RATING

    PRICE: $79.90 for PS Vita; $89.90 for PS4, version tested

    GENRE: Turn-based simulation role-playing game

Playing in a turn-based sequence, you decide how far the units advance and get spread out across the map. Each unit can move within a restricted grid. It is usually wise to band them close together in order to take advantage of support abilities and spirit commands. Pay attention to Dogma, which are magic powers that are exclusive to the protagonist. Failing the mission will put you back to your last save.

One of the highlights of the game is watching the animation of each character and the surrounding action during an attack phase, while lapping up the music and sound effects.

However, it is not hard to notice that some of the presentation quality appears less defined, presumably because they are recycled from older games or kept at low resolution to maintain some consistency with the PS Vita version.

As before, the PS4 and PS Vita versions are not cross-buy titles and priced slightly differently. Which version you should get depends on whether you are likely to play this game at home or on-the-go.

Those interested in tackling more missions can purchase a la carte scenarios from the PlayStation Store, but the best value is to invest in a pack of 20 scenarios, which comes with a bonus scenario that unlocks a generous serving of upgrades and boost points. In case you're wondering, there are no loot-crate mechanics in this title.

• Verdict: Playing Super Robot Wars X feels like being immersed in an interactive cartoon. Like a good game of chess, the satisfaction comes from devising a strategy that leads to a win.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'Immersive strategy game with great animation'. Print Edition | Subscribe