|Blood and Violence
| The Good
Unique controller scheme
Plenty of upgrades for your mech
Pretty long game
Very original, and well executed ideas
| The Bad
Plot seems shamelessly tacked on
The whole mech game genre has been hampered by many cash
cows and boring games trying to cash in on their respective
T.V. shows (Gundam: Journey to Jaburo is a prime example).
While some are pretty decent, there just hasn't been an American
released mech game that can be called "Excellent". Yet Enix
brings us a totally original mech game that is actually fun
At the beginning of the Story mode, you choose one of 3 characters
to play as. You are the heir to the Tsukioka family, a notorious
weapons manufacturer which is facing some financial troubles.
You also choose a "Meganite", which are large robots used
to fight a new evil threat called the Volgara. The Volgara
is a large race of robotic aliens that will stop at nothing
to destroy the world. Their are 3 different meganites to choose
from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Don't
worry though, throughout the hefty story mode you can unlock
other Meganites to use on the battle field. This helps break
up the monotony considerably.
The story is told through in-game cutscenes, which are dubbed
by some of the worst voice acting I've heard. If you enjoy
the humor found in old Martial Arts movies, then you'll eat
this stuff up. Fortunately, you can skip the voice acting
all together with a simple push of the X button. The simplistic
and derivative plot also leaves much to be desired. As you
get further in the game, you find many more unnecessary characters
and even more ridiculous scenarios. Still, the best bits of
the game come when you're actually playing the game.
The controls are the most eccentric and satisfying part of
the Robot Alchemic Drive experience. Departing from
the traditional set up in mech show and games, your pilot
isn't inside the robot they're piloting. Instead, you are
on the ground using a handheld device to pilot your Meganite.
The game supplies a nice tutorial to explain the complex control
setup. You use the top shoulder button to have your robot
move forward of backwards. The analog sticks control your
Meganite's torso and arms, and the face buttons are used to
control their respective weapons, including rockets and lasers.
So while your battling it out with your Meganite, where is
your main character as this carnage is going on? Well, that
for you to decide. Maintaining a safe position for your character
is as big of a deal as keeping your mech in good shape. By
pressing the Select button, you can take control of your ground
character, and since you can only view what you're ground
character can view, it's a good idea to find a safe location
with a nice view of the action. Some may find this to be a
tedious chore, but I thought it was an original game element
that was well executed.
In addition to the ready-to-use attacks - you can also collect
money to buy new weapons, moves, upgrades, and shields to
beef up your mech. This is not only fun to do, but it's also
essential for surviving the later missions. You can also upgrade
your human character and adjust their running speed and health.
The graphics have some strong points. The sharp looking robots
and the particle effects are great, but the blocky character
models and boring textures make it look like a first-generation
Playstation 2 game. Not to mention the strange glitches -
like people running through solid surfaces, and the annoying
pop-up. The slowdown can also get pretty bad when you're controlling
your ground character around a mass of panicking pedestrians.
Still, the graphics are decent and they get the job done.
The game very long, and it's multiple Meganite robots help
break up the game's repetitive nature. RAD is broken
up into episodes - each episode usually has a major battle
and a bunch of in game cutscenes. There are more than 50 episodes
to play through - some of the episodes make take you a whole
half hour to play, and some may last only 10 minutes. Still,
it should take the average gamer about 25 hours to complete.
I must say that the replayability factor is lacking. While
you do get 3 different characters, they all have the same
missions and only some rather insignificant parts of the story
are changed (like the lead character's love interest).
In spite of the simple story line, the awful voice-acting,
and the unpolished graphic engine, I still urge Anime fans
to check this game out. Everybody else should rent before