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Assault Gunners HD Edition Review


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On 07/17/2018 at 05:00 PM by Nick DiMola

Maybe just wait for Daemon X Machina.
RECOMMENDATION:

Only the most die hard of mech game fans will likely find enough to enjoy here.

I wouldn’t classify myself as any sort of mech game aficionado, I’ve only played a handful of them over the years, but it’s a weird subgenre that I find myself drawn to. That odd pull, coupled with my infatuation with the Switch, made Assault Gunners HD Edition a prime candidate for play. The budget mech experience isn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it does have a surprisingly deep customization system that significantly outclasses the rudimentary gameplay. Though fun at times, Assault Gunners HD Edition is more often a frustrating slog, that doesn’t really scratch the mech game itch in a satisfying way.

If there’s one chief complaint I have with Assault Gunners, it’s that the difficulty of the game’s main quest is all over the board. I had some missions I’d complete in less than a minute on my first try and others where I’d die dozens of times before finally getting lucky and successfully making it through. In most cases, skill didn’t feel like a factor in actually winning, but rather luck. The longer missions were especially guilty of this (not that they’re all that long to begin with). After a protracted set of simple encounters, towards the end you’d encounter the game’s main antagonist, Ghost, who could easily kill you in a single hit if it decided to rush in and perform a melee attack. Others would end with a huge rush of enemies to much the same outcome.

Though the game features a team of three friendly AI companions, they prove to be near useless after the first few missions in the game. On the tougher missions with their default settings, they’d often die within moments of the mission beginning. During the mission you can modify the friendly AI and give them different tactics. I found that turning them from their offensive default to defensive helped preserve them for a bit longer, but really they didn’t act as much more than a distraction to take some of the enemy fire away from my mech. If Ghost showed up, she’d kill each of them systematically with her powerful melee attack and I'd be stranded solo regardless.

Luck aside, part of the strategy you must enact to get any mileage out of your squad, as well as improve your own odds of survival comes down to mech customization. As you play missions, you find new mech parts and amass development points, which can be used to develop new tech as well as enhance specific existing mech parts. Though the UI for all of this customization is a bit clunky, you’re able to swap out each and every part of your mech as well as those of your teammates’ mechs. This allows you to build a squad that’s got a range of capability, from the glass cannon to the HP-heavy tank. It can be fun to see your team perform better in a mission thanks to the changes you’ve made to their load out, though they’ll never be a significant asset in your mission to completion. Your build out is definitely the most important and if there's one mech to continuously update, it's your own.

When you’re in a mission, exterminating all of the enemies can be fun, though the controls are a bit awkward. For whatever reason, you need to select a weapon with the face button and fire with the shoulder button. It makes it awkward to quickly switch between weapons, especially if you’re trying to use a melee attack at close range. There is a specific augmentation you can add that will force a melee attack on close range enemies, but this also creates an unfortunate side effect where you’ll perform the action even when you don’t want, which can be especially problematic in keeping enough distance between yourself and Ghost.

Otherwise, when up against standard enemies (of which there are only a few varieties), it’s generally enjoyable to mow down legions of them as you progress through the mission. Issuing a flurry of missiles and blasting your assault rifle are both satisfying in a way that will keep you playing through the game. Most of the game’s strategy involves learning and manipulating the enemy AI so that you’re not caught in a hellfire of enemy bullets or attacked at close range by a powerful foe. It's generally a mindless experience in much the same way the Koei-Tecmo Warriors series is.

The graphics are especially low budget and it shows that this is a port of an aged Vita game. Given the price, this isn’t a major issue, but the game in and of itself just feels low budget and underwhelming. The fleeting moments of fun that you get out of the gameplay and customization may be enough for true mech game enthusiasts, but most others need not both. I hoped Assault Gunners HD Edition would be a nice interim mech game on Switch before the release of Daemon X Machina, but it just doesn’t satisfy in any meaningful way.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/19/2018 at 11:07 AM

I will definitely skip this!

Blake Turner Staff Writer

07/20/2018 at 03:30 AM

Unfortunate. This looked alright.

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