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By OSkG_Pinto On 15 Jul, 2013 At 02:44 AM | Categorized As Reviews, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments

No GravatarTitans

Is the prototype RX-178 Mk-II worth your money?

Witness this shiney blue Gundam.

As a huge Gundam fan I’ve been building Gundam model kits for ages, it’s actually my favorite hobby. I discovered Bandai’s Real Grade line of modelkits during my stay in Tokyo, but didn’t really bother to pick one of the kits up. My mission was obtaining Master Grade and Perfect Grade modelkits that were absent in my collection. After two years I’ve decided to pick up a couple of RG’s and put them to the test. This is part 2 of my RG  line reviews and It’s focused on the RX-178 Mk-II Titans.

The RX-178 Gundam Mk-II is an upgrade of the famous RX-78-2 Gundam that served in the One Year War.

Building a Titan

As with the Zaku II, I had a great time building this model. The advanced ms frame looks even better and I really didn’t even want to add any external armor. The frame features all sorts of sliding and bending mechanisms that we all love so much and make the RG line a perfect choice for beginning modelers that need an affordable alternative to a Master Grade or Perfect Grade kit.

The next step is snapping on all the different armor parts that come with the RX-178. I chose to build my blue Titan as  Unit 3. What I really dislike about the RX-178’s armor  is the fact that it isn’t colored in so much different colors as the Zaku II is. Adding the markings and some black and/or gray panel lining while really bring out the details on this kit. Without the extra two steps  it looks a bit bland if you ask me.

The RX-178 Mk-II Titans version is armed with a Bazooka, Machine Gun retractable shield and two Beam Sabers. The shield is the most impressive. It just looks great in different poses and the gold foil stickers really bring out the details of the shield.

Titan

RG Gimmicks

I was really skeptic about this new grade of Bandai modelkits before building the RG Zaku II,

The RX-178 comes with a set of tubing to give your modelkit an authentic mechanized look. The RX-178 also has a cockpit hatch that can be openend and feautures a little pilot seat, a gimmick that is usually reserved for MG and PG kits. Unfortunately Real Grade kits do not include a seated pilot figere, even though it would be really easy to customize the standing pilot figure that comes with all RG kits. As with the Zaku II and RG kits in general, get ready for lots of decals. The RX-178 Gundam Mk-II Titans version comes with a whopping 148 decals to add loads of detail to your already wonderful modelkit.

Thanks to the advanced ms frame, articulation is magnificent on the Real Grade models. Want your RX-178 to hold his bazooka over his shoulder? No problem!  The RX-178’s shield is articulated and can slide in and out to give it much more motion and pose ability. The shield can be pegged into either arm so that really increases the playability.

The one thing I don’t like about this kit are his vernier thrusters. They feel loose and at least one always falls of after the lightest touch. For some reason every RG model has a problem with a specific part that doesn’t always want to stay on. For the rest this kit is actually really sturdy and well designed.

 

Conclusion

I am slowly but surely falling in love with this line. The details, decals and colors are amazing on the Real Grade kits and I can’t wait to build more. If you like Zaku II’s you could also try out Char’s red version of the Zaku II. It has a couple of subtle differences and costs the same. Even though the RG models are a bit small compared to MG’s, they look great when you display them on a nice looking action base. What are you waiting for!? Go order one now and see for yourself.

Part 2 of my RG Excitement Embodied line reviews will focus on the Federation’s RX-178-2 Titans version, stay tuned!

By Charles On 14 Jul, 2011 At 03:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThere are MECHA games and then there are mecha GAMES. While the genre of giant robots is one that has been expanded upon and “reinvented” a hundred times over, every now and then one comes along that is less a variant on “blow stuff up as fast as you can” and more a “let’s look at WHY the giant robots are blowing stuff up.” Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars is one such game, that came and went almost a decade ago with few taking note. But for those who did, it was a gem of an experience worth repeating, and repeating often.

Zone of the Enders started on the PS2 with a game that looked and felt like something out of the “Gundam” franchise. A boy living in a space colony suddenly finds his way of life under attack from terrorists or the military or whatever. His only hope of survival is to jump inside a giant mecha and fly off to protect his friends and fight the invaders, which he does with panache and flair. The Playstation game and its sequel were formulaic, and at times predictable, single player action games with a few RPG elements and a lot of open-ended exploring that served as wonderful eye candy, and not much else. But around the same time, Nintendo put out a version of the game, a prequel or sequel, not sure which, that gave a lot more thought to story and characters, mostly owing to the limitations of the Gameboy Advance and managed to mix in a good system of gameplay to boot.

Fist of Mars starts out with a boy, Cage Midwell, a worker on a cargo ship, discovering a  girl sneaking into the hold of his shuttle. Soon after, a mysterious “Orbital Black Frame” attacks his ship, and he is forced to pilot a strange suit he finds within the hold. Jumping on board the “frame,” as they are called, he is quickly thrown into a battle for his life, needing to protect both himself and the strange, amnesiac girl. Captured and accused of sabotage, he is rescued by, and falls in league with, a group of activists known as “Born in Space,” seeking to liberate the colonies on Mars from Earthbound military oppression, and the boy fights alongside for the sake of his fellows, and a blue-haired girl named Myona who is being used by the regime. The story plays itself out over 26 stages, with new characters bringing new information, and the boy slowly becoming a man in the process.

The game is equal parts play novel and tactical RPG. Stages open with often long scenes of dialogue between Cage and those around him, where they discuss politics, economics, morality, revolution and human nature. While this might seem to drag the game down, the end result is anything but, as the characters all gain solid development and insight, rather than just being “random pilot 1, 2 and 3.” Play then proceeds to the mission phase, where the frames taking part are dropped onto a squared field, and must maneuver and do battle with opposing forces. Like a tactical RPG, the field is wide open, and frames can move a preset allotment of spaces until they are adjacent to, or in range of, an enemy frame. Then combat begins, and this is where the gameplay shines.

Active Time Targeting System

While there is an option for a more “traditional” attack that is based entirely on numbers and coding, the player is also given the chance to take part in a more “active time” system where the enemy suit is depicted in a “readout display” and the player either tries to hit it with a targeting crosshair (bonus damage for critical areas) or tries to avoid being hit. For players with good reflexes and patience, this allows for entire combats to end quickly from critical hits, with minimal damage taken due to expert dodging. In fact, it is entirely possible to complete the game without EVER BEING HIT, thereby allowing for more interesting customization. The game’s designers seemed to put so much effort into this unique style of gameplay that it’s actually more advantageous to use it pretty much throughout the game, and its so simple that even the most lacking of players can eventually get the hang of it, so there really is no reason to use the “traditional” system, which itself puts the player at a disadvantage.

Battlefield: Mars

Suits gain levels as they defeat other frames, and with each level they gain bonus points that can be spent on weapons, armor and “hull points” for future battles. Particular attention needs to be payed to distribution of said points, because grinding is almost non-existent during the mission-based stories, and a bad point setup could make the game very difficult to complete. And as previously mentioned, a good pilot might not need as much spent in armor as another, thereby varying the game even more. Indeed, Fist of Mars is one of the most customizable games I’ve ever played, allowing a degree of freedom in suit development rarely, if ever, encountered in other mecha-based games.

Zone of the Enders came and went, as I previously stated, with little fanfare in this country. And most people who did play it, remember the action-oriented Playstation incarnation. But for those looking for a solid mecha story with even more RPG elements, Fist of Mars is an excellent choice. It might be a bit harder to find now that the GBA has ridden off into the sunset, but it is well worth the effort to track down and experience.

 

By otakuman5000 On 20 Mar, 2011 At 03:08 PM | Categorized As Animation, Reviews | With 1 Comment

No GravatarThere are tons of robot/mecha anime shows out in publication. Many of which try to emulate and borrow ideas from such anime like Mobile Suit Gundam. However, every once in a while, we get an anime that decides to add a new kind of flare to the mix. Whether it be a new kind of robot, different variations of combat, or an entirely new setting never seen before, the over-all consensus is how awesome the anime actually is. This is how I felt when watching the series Eureka Seven, a sci-fi anime from the awesome minds over at BANDAI.

Eureka and Renton in front of the Nirvash

The over-all story of Eureka Seven circles around the character of Renton Thurston, the son of a fallen hero who is believed to have saved the world from destruction. One day, while arguing with his Grandfather, a giant mech crashes into his home, holding a mysterious young girl named Eureka. She is searching for small Compact Drive to bring back to her squad The Gekko State. Renton falls in love with Eureka and after some big and hilarious situations, Renton goes with Eureka and becomes a member of the Gekko State. There is a big over-arching story about alien invasions, political dilemmas, and the growing pains of young love.

 

The Gekko State Crew

The entire series of Eureka Seven consist of twelve volumes, a total of 50 episodes and 1 theatrical movie. The pacing of the story is good, with new characters and plot points showing up every couple of episodes. The animation and choreography of battle scenes is amazing, with some awesome special effects that are seen when some of the mechs power-up to max. There is a lot of laser beams and explosions that occur over the course of the whole show. The characters themselves interact well and have believable relationships with one-another. Some of the best scenes are the awkward moments that Renton and Eureka have when things start to heat up between the two lovers.

 

Holland in Battle

There are a few major problems with the series as a whole that should have been addressed. First off, the ending of the series feels a bit rushed and last minute. Most of the characters we come into contact with during the entire run of the show do not get a proper resolution after the main problem is resolved. Characters such as Holland and Talho are expecting a child by the end of the series, and yet we never get to see them after the fighting is over and how their family grows. We do see Renton and Eureka for most of the final episode, however the epilogue for them does not seem like a good enough finish to the series. More needed to be seen and explained as to how the two lovers advance their relationship after the battles between them and their enemies is finished. It would have been great to see a money shot of the entire cast living out their lives as peace is restored on their planet.

 

Renton and Eureka Boarding Together

The second major problem relies within the theatrical movie, titled Good Night Sleep Tight, Young Lovers. According to some sources, the story presented here is suppose to take place 1000 years before the main story line established in the series, however it uses the exact same characters. What is most troublesome is how all the continuity and relationships established in the series is thrown out and rebuild anew. Characters that were once feuding and/or involved with the main story in one way or another, now no longer exist within the main conflict or have taken a back seat for other characters to shine. Starting fresh off like this feels like a complete lie to fans of the series, since they are essentially the same characters everyone knows and loves. What is even more troubling is how most of the fight scenes in the movie is actually recycled animation straight from the series, with very little scenes being given minor tweaks to suit the continuity of the movie. Most of the names of organizations and groups are changed, except for the Gekko State, and some of the series’ major villains are almost non-existent in the theatrical movie. It would have been a much better idea to have the movie take place sometime after the series ends, it would have been a smarter move and more convenient decision for the movie to continue the continuity of the original series. It feels as if the movie was a wasted opportunity to give Eureka Seven a well deserved send off.

 

Nirvash and The End in Battle

Despite its shortcomings, Eureka Seven is a great series for fans of sci-fi anime. The action is awesome, the storytelling is great, and the characters are memorable enough to warrant tons of anime fans cosplaying as some of their favorites. There have been a few video games released that are based off the series, proof of just how good this series actually is. Anyone who wants a good ride into the sci-fi genre of anime should definitely watch the series Eureka Seven. However, be mindful of the theatrical movie, as that the story is not the same as established in the anime series. Everyone would be better off skipping the movie entirely and sticking with just the anime series.

 

Fated Lovers

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J52FXOYlg2I]/tube]