Friday, May 4, 2012

Super Robot Wars Masoukishin: Lord of Elemental Review

Another Great Chapter of OG Saga!

Supposedly i should have written this article about a month ago, but due to unexpected accident where my PSP got broken and my savedata for Masoukishin got corrupted along the way which caused me lost my willpower. Though i managed to finish 2 playthrough and captured some screenshots before the accident happen thus not everything is lost. Masoukishin series is probably the first SRW title that use entirely original units which make it literally the first OG saga created which is collaboration between Banpresto and Winky Soft. I think the PSP port had the gameplay mechanics intact from the original Super Nintendo version of the game with graphic and some makeover. Overall i find my playthrough in Masoukishin is really fun and this series is easily one of my favorite as it seems really solid in terms of story department but surprisingly i don't see many people discuss about this series.

Masoukishin series takes place in a magical world called La Gias which starring Masaki Andou as the protagonist. The first Masoukishin title which is Lord of Elemental(LOE) has the story divided into 2 parts. The first half of LOE begins with Masaki find himself in La Gias on the kingdom of Langran and shortly he got sortied in Masouki, elemental powered mecha to fend of terrorist attack. Soon after he is introduced to Royal families of Langran and Sword Saint Zeoroot which became a father figure for Masaki. In the first half of LOE, Masaki spends significant time training himself and doing errand from the Prince of Langran. Throughout his adventure, Masaki gets acquainted with people who he will fight along in the future(also a love interest) and eventually chosen by Cybuster, Masoukishin of the Wind which is the iconic mecha that Masaki piloted . Masaki also met Shuu Shirakawa for first time in the first half of LOE where he got involved deeper with Shuu due to Cult of Volkruss, the god of destruction that attempts to revive theire god which will become the central plot of Masoukishin series. Near the end of the first half of LOE, Shuu will kill Masaki's mentor and seems to be the one who cause destruction of Langran's Capital which is why Masaki hell bent chasing after Shuu to Earth which continues to the event in SRW OG1.

The 2nd half part of LOE got some timeskip from the first half of the series which Masaki's returns to La Gias after his adventure on earth until OGG at least. There are couple of events haven't taken place in OG Saga during the timeskip as SRW EX has not been covered yet. This time, Masaki finds himself fighting in Neighbouring countries of Langran which are Shutedonia and Bagonia as Langran is under invasion by both countries. Ryune/Lune from SRW OG joins Masaki in Valsione R and an intense Love Triangle inevitably happened (Ryune is damn cute in LOE!). Depending on your decisions in the first half of the game, you will be lead to different routes which sums up to 3 routes with 4 endings.

As the gameplay mechanics of the PSP version of LOE is the same with the original Super Nintendo version, compared to the recent SRW title you could say LOE's gameplay looks outdated but not bad at least. Some of the major differences are:
  • You can't upgrade the mobility of the unit, so you must rely on the armor rating of your unit.
  • No Pilot customization but they learned some skills as they levelled up
  • Seishin numbers are quite small and some have different used compared to the ones in other SRW.
  • Height and attacking direction affects the effectiveness of the attack for instance attacking enemy from the back grants better accuracy and power. Think of FF tactics
  • The sprites for the attack animations are in full size unlike most SRW which are usually deformed, so you might find some animations are less fluid but still acceptable.
  • Several weapon upgrades might change the attack animations once it is upgraded for a whole level and they are marked with stars. Even some of them gets additional attack range or less Energy to be consumed.
  • As Masoukis possess an element, it is naturally strong against particular type while weak against another element though Void is not particularly strong nor weak against elements. The strength of the elemental goes in this direction: Fire>Wind>Earth>Water
Compared to the DS version, the PSP LOE has significantly improvement in Sound and Graphic moreover it also get voiceovers. Though i don't think there are any changes in scenario.

While there are not much units in this game, you can never go wrong upgrading the 4 Masoukishins and Valsione which are really solid unit. The decision factor to use other Masoukis is whether you get their Finisher attack which are sometimes only available on certain paths like Diablo or Jaohm in particular. If you get to Shuu's route, you will be able to use Neo Granzon for few stages but that guy is really a beast.

 Out of my 2 playthroughs, i managed to get Wendy's good ending and Shuu's ending and i was about 70% of my 3rd playthrough which i aimed for Lasett/Rasetsu's route. Nevertheless i still enjoyed Lord of Elemental which got some high value in terms of storyline, settings and music(some of the theme arrangements are even better than OGs version). Too bad i don't see many recent discussion of the series which is probably due to the hype for Z2 Saisei-Hen and most people overlook this title. I would really recommend playing LOE if you like OG Saga and wants to see more story though language seems to be posing a significant barrier which is why some people doesn't like the game as they have some difficulties in understanding the story while gameplay is slightly weak. Probably you can pick up this title once you are confident with your Japanese skill though i can only read like 50% of the story and still doing fine. Recently i finished my first playthrough of Masoukishin 2 and probably i can post up the review after i completed all 3 routes. I am looking forward for the 4 Masoukishins to appear in OG Saga someday!

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