Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Century Episode Portable Review

Turns out to be pretty fun game afterall.

Some of the ACE fans may consider ACE Portable to be one of the worse ACE game due to the production quality which i used to have same opinion as well but in conclusion i find this game really fun. I had to admit this game had the worst first hour gameplay out of all ACE series that i played but ACE Portable have some concepts which are interesting and would be more fleshed out if there were more resources given for the game production. Nevertheless ACE Portable had really good challenge compared to other ACE series for now.

Just like other ACE series, Ace Portable is Mecha Action game which feature Real Robots series as playable units with some Super robot series as well. The game offers more customization compared to other series. Main reasons why some of the fans are disappointed with this game is that it lacks of original story and the playable units are not many compared to previous ACE series. Moreover the BGM in the game are really lackluster probably due to Banpresto try to cut budget for the game which is why fans consider this game to be lackluster and just another attempt by Banpresto to get easy cash in.

ACE Portable offers over 50 missions divided into 8 blocks plus 1 block as extra mission which surpass the number of the mission that ACE 3 had. Each mission have several sub-missions which are needed to be cleared in order to unlock some units. Most missions also have secret units which appeared with certain condition and need to be destroyed in order to unlock some units as well. It is quite impossible to clear all of the sub-mission in single run and most of them required your unit to be well equipped.

ACE portable has 66 playable units which are really small compared to ACE 3 which got over 100 units and moreover 15 of them are the variants of 3 units. The new series debut in this installment are Lamune, Gundam 00 and Eureka 7 Movie which only have 7 units in total. Unlike the previous installments, you need to buy all of the units in order to use them though it is not a bad thing and initially you will be given enough budgets to buy 3 units with average performance. It is recommended to get units that possess lots of arsenal as your starter units as you will find issues with ammunition early in the game.

Just like other ACE series, ACE portable have Original units and characters. This game have 3 Gespenst Mk-2 Custom which have different orientation and each of them have 5 different equipment settings. For Gespenst Mark 2 variants N type is all arounder while C type are heavy duty ranged unit with high armor and low mobility and G type are fast and have less defense. Probably you would consider to use these units later since they don't have many arsenals and meant for customization. There are 7 original characters in total which 6 of them are the Gespenst Pilot while the remaining one is the Operator which is kinda cute but Fey from ACE 3 is cuter.

There are several changes in this game in terms of gameplay which include:

  • The Maps are divided into several areas probably due to the memory limit of PSP. While some missions have single map only but most of the mission can have 3 to 9 areas in single mission.
  • The ammos of the units are not automatically regenerated anymore and you need to resupply in supply container in the map though the number of the ammunition is tripled from the ACE 3.
  • The weapon palette is divided into 4 palettes with 2 attacks from each palette unlike in ACE 3 where all weapons are shown in single menu. 
  • There are crossover attack and combination attack which are used by filling up the bar on top right of the screen. Combination attack is where all of your team mates focus on attacking in single target and probably gain some attack bonus. The crossover attack is just like the team attack in ACE 3 except it takes time to charge up and your unit is basically a sitting duck for a while.
One thing that i hate from ACE portable in terms of gameplay are that the Boss units will chase you to the end of the world  in this game. It is rather impossible to resupply without getting attacked whenever there are Ace units around. Another thing that i hate from this game is the lockon system which is really horrible as it is really hard to select your target properly.

The main bosses in this game are AI manned weapon called Unknowns which are quite disappointing as they don't have any personality at all. They are also quite annoying as they keep spamming high damage attack especially Unknown 2 which takes lots of time to attack them. The final boss has 2 different forms and it takes a while to defeat it.

The customization in this game is more deeper compared to ACE 3. While you can't upgrade the power of the weapons, you can upgrade the weapon capacity of unit which are crucial for making it more powerful. You can customize the weapon palette with custom skills which range from offensive ability like powerful attack or debuff to supportive skill like repairing units. The customization skill are really essential as it is highly impossible to clear some sub missions with standard weapons that a unit have. You get the customization skill by creating them from the chips dropped by the enemy and some of the chips requires you to fight some tough opponents.

This is my current playing record and as you can see Gespenst Mk2 Custom type G1 is my most used units as it is really fast and the M13 shotgun kill stuff really fast. Black Sarena followed in 2nd position as i used it for my first playthrough as it was my favorite unit back in ACE 3 and finally the 3rd position is Wing Zero Custom since the rolling buster rifle is the best boss killer weapon that i have encountered so far. This game is really unpolished rather than terrible game since the effort for this game is rather lackluster. Fortunately Custom BGM makes thing even better in this game and i might consider to upload my Custom BGM selection which are way better than the original bgm of the game.

I hope there will be another ACE series next year for PSP or Vita with more units and less annoying AI. This game will be really fun if you have some friends who play this game as well since there are some mission that are hard to finish if you do it alone.

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