I properly should have started this when I actually began the game, so for vets of OG Gaiden, I just beat up the Jetzt and am about to infiltrate the Swordian. To anybody with no knowledge of Super Robot Taisen, that doubtless is meaningless. This blog will not help, and I'd simply tell anyone with endless questions to go check out Original Generation 1 and 2 on the GBA. Knowing the Jetzt is a foolish attempt to co-opt the Einst will help vets of OG 2, but since the Carnage faction didn't appear in OG 1 or 2, all I can say is that they're another alien group trying to conquer Earth. Carnage grunts have an interesting zoological theme, however, with bull robots, chameleon robots, weird armadillo/boar robots, and bat robots that have lousy accuracy but tend to need several hits before going down. Not threatening grunts, but time-consuming.
For those who played the GBA games, a few things are different. The Twin system that puts two units together and has them act as one can be really useful in select situations, but its greatest utility is in how many enemy Twin units start to appear. The enemy gets a slight boost to evasion, but you're still getting many more enemies to beat up, and that's a damn handy thing. Another big change from the GBA (this stuff applied to Original Generations too, so reading my review of that may make this unnecessary) is that getting Battle Mastery grants every character on the field an extra 5 PP. This makes a lot of skills much easier to acquire, and in the case of things like SP Regenerate and Attacker, that's a very very good thing.
What else changed? Leona's Guarlion is a Suiguarlion now, and it's a pretty nifty unit, although in that Jetzt fight she didn't dodge when I expected her to, and it can't take a hit, so the result wasn't pretty. Gilliam has an awesome special Gespenst unit of his own, with plenty of unique weapons, including one that actually drains the energy of the enemy (though bosses usually have blocks to prevent that). New to Gaiden in particular is the Dygenguard (or Daizengar if you prefer) having a sword-less frame. It's got an actual ranged attack in that frame, and is pretty powerful, but can't do the Tornado Blade with the Aussenseiter. Raul and Fiona (yeah, she comes back after vanishing in OGs) have three Excellence frames they can shift between, good on different terrain types, plus each has a unique frame that is pretty good too. I didn't use Raul much in OGs, partly because he joins fairly late in the proceedings, but I find him pretty darn good in Gaiden, and Fiona is too. So is Kouta (aka Fighter Roar), and I'm kinda sad the Cry Wolves seem to never join, since Albero and Hugo were pretty good (Folia, well, he seems slightly dead, but that's never stopped a little bit of retconning). Folka I've been forced to use so much that I'm deliberately not letting him kill things, not because he sucks, but because he's already and Ace and other people need those kills more than he does. It's telling when I have trouble letting someone almost kill things, he keeps getting critical attacks that take the enemy out anyway. Oh poor me, forced to power him up further. Axel Almer and Alfimi have proven to be quite useful, as anybody who remembers those two would know. They haven't permanently joined, but I suspect it'll happen eventually. Alfimi has an amazing Guard with a cost of 5 SP, which means she's damn hard to ever bring down, plus Lichkeit still has that HP regen ability.
Another slight change is that Tsugumi (who everybody refers to as Karakura Chief now) is a sub pilot with Ibis. That helps, since she has some healing abilities. Otherwise she doesn't make a big difference, but two pilots getting the same experience is always nice.
I need to stop automatically combining Ryusei, Rai, and Aya, because Ryusei and Mai have a nice combo attack that requires Ryusei not be in the SRX. This attack, which I can't remember the name of right now, uses the ART-1 that Mai gets to pilot and the R-1. I tried sticking Mai back in the R-Powered early on, until I noticed that the telekinesis requirement for using the Hyper Twin Launcher has been undone, which means Viletta can pilot it without being handicapped.
Oh poor me, what a horrible problem it is to have so many good units and pilots that I can't use everybody. I haven't found a good way to use all the Grungusts I've gotten, nor the Wildwurger-L, and the Angelg/Vysaga still has the problem that only Lamia can use either. For whatever it's worth, Lune/Ryune is currently my top-ranked Ace, with 66 kills. I know where most of those came from, too. The mission outside the asteroid Juergen is lurking within, with its endlessly spawning Mirongas. Lune and whoever was twinned with her (don't remember right now since Lune got most of the kills) just managed to have an awesome killing spree before she finally started running low on energy, and I needed to keep her ready to use a map weapon in order to nab Kusuha, Arado, Seolla, and Latooni since that was the most effective means I had of getting them without killing them.
What else to say... particularly for anybody coming straight off the GBA, the sheer number of the character music themes is awesome, particularly when they're all good. For Gaiden, Tasuku and Carla and Rio get new themes of their own, good ones. Aside from the Carnage faction, you'll be seeing a lot of Duminas' Homunculus constructions, three little kid lookalikes piloting robots that look like they came from an Aztec settlement. Duminas isn't here right now though, and Fernando is back, along with Magnus. Do I finally get to pound this idiot's face into the ground after he's been annoying me for quite awhile? I shall find out!
That was an excellent fight for killing grunts. Gilliam, Leona, Tasuku, Excellen, Mai, and Sanger all achieved Ace status. Fiona will be an Ace soon, she just joined a few battles ago, then she can stand next to Raul as a powerful sibling duo in those shiny Excellence frames. Kouta's already an Ace but I better get him a couple of kills so Shouko can get SP Regenerate, since that's the best thing to start a sub pilot doing. These stupid Carnage grunts don't leave as much money as I'd like, but they do go down without much trouble. Fernando naturally had to try taking Folka down, and failed once more. I have to quibble with the animation for Folka's best attack now that Yeldabout is Apotheosized or whatever it was just happened to him - the original version did the Dragon Ball reference by powering up and blowing the landscape apart before even hitting the enemy, now it's in purple shadow half the time and I can't see what's going on. Then Magnus did indeed get his comeuppance, the caveman-ish blockhead. Took awhile to bring him down (that's what happens when a boss has level 9 Prevail, Guard, and a good defense stat to begin with) but his attacks were inaccurate and no risk even as Prevail enhanced him.
Next battle got lucky: I didn't have Strike on Viletta and only had 65% hit accuracy, which I needed in order to get the Battle Mastery. She hit that grunt when it counted though, and I took down a dozen grunts before the second turn ended. Now Altis has arrived, a rousing anthem is playing (is there any other kind of music in Super Robot Taisen?) that also accompanied the fight with Juergen in his custom Valsione with stupidly high defense, and it's time to get into boss-smackdown mode once these last grunts are out of the way. Lamia became an Ace in this fight too, which is nice.
Altis had the potential to be a real pain in the butt. Double Image is always annoying on bosses because it means I have to cast Strike on everyone, his attacks were powerful and had enormous range, and none of them used any energy so he would never run out of munitions. His robot was a weird one, some sort of winged centaur. His defense wasn't good though, especially after I beat up Magnus. 240,000 HP ran out rather quickly, and another one bites the dust.
Now for Meisis. She's not taking the death of her boyfriend very well, even though I didn't deal the final blow. So I get to play with her for the first time, and with her odd cat mechs too. These things shoot what look like gigantic pinballs at me, and they're a pain to actually hit, but their defense isn't as high as most other Carnage grunts, so I'll wipe the floor with them. They've been foolishly attacking Kyosuke, who has a nice load of Claymore ready for their trouble.
I realize this isn't a very inclusive blog so far, and I'll happily answer any questions the uninitiated might have.
Dang, having the energy requirement for the HTB Cannon reduced helps out a lot. Viletta doesn't have Zeal like Mai, but if necessary somebody with Enable can remedy that. Having the range for Cybuster's weapons increased by 1 across the board is helpful too, though reducing the range on Alteisen's supreme Claymore to 1 isn't very nice. Ah well, guess I can't get everything.
Meisis went down with ease. After Altis and Magnus she was nothing special. Then Alkeid had to come along spoiling for a fight, since that fight was obviously too easy with just one boss. Nice of Fernando and Alion to show up on my side, at least - they're pretty helpful in a pinch. Alkeid's Extim robot looked like a guy riding a six-legged dragon, and 350,000 HP took awhile to drain, especially since his HP Regen was more than 10%. Then what happens? He busts out with the Ruha Extim, which kinda looks like a yeti crossbred with an oni and has wings plus a big ornament on the back, and it has one awesome boss theme as accompaniment. Nice of the game to regenerate all my SP though.
Well Alkeid, you had a ton of HP - I think as much as Stern Einst Regisseur. Not as much defense, though, and I successfully took your sorry butt down in one turn. I love doing that.
Alko? ALKO as the Battle Mastery? Sure he had Double Image, but it took maybe five attacks with supports to do the idiot in. Mizal was annoying but no real threat - no Double Image, lower HP than any of the other Shura, only 10% HP Regen, and no Prevail at all. Poor guy. Now, to the tune of some creepy music that sounds like it came from a horror movie and has a very heartbeat-esque rhythm (that it highlights by dropping all the other instruments from time to time), Tiss and Laria have popped up to make my life more interesting. I shot both of these punks down a long time ago though, and I'll clear them out again. Shu, Alfimi, and Axel have all popped up to assist with that task - very nice.
Anybody who played the GBA games knows what support attacks are, but for the uninitiated, it's a skill characters either come with or can be assigned. Up to 4 support attacks can be used, the only condition being that the currently attacking character needs to be next to someone with a support attack (occasionally it also means that both people need to be at the same altitude, so elevating or grounding people briefly can be done at any time without ending the turn). Proper use of support attacks is vital to take down the enemy, particularly bosses, since using a support depletes the ammunition or energy of that weapon but doesn't use up an action.
Oh. So this is why Dark Brain makes people unhappy.
I dunno if anyone unfamiliar with the series is still reading, but the concept of Will/Morale is a big one that separates Super Robot Taisen from other tactical games. Everyone starts at 100 Will (or 105 if that character is an Ace), and a whole lot of attacks and abilities don't do anything at 100. Attacker, one of the most useful abilities in the game because it increases attack power by 20% (which makes a big difference) doesn't kick in until 130 Will. How do you get more Will? It varies from character to character; some get a little by dodging attacks, some by hitting the enemy, some masochists gain Will by being hit, there are some other variants. Everyone on the map gains 1 Will when an enemy is killed, however, and the one who actually did the killing gains 4 or 5 Will. Thus grunts serve a vital purpose by allowing everyone to gain lots of Will and be able to unleash their best attacks.
Dark Brain appears with exactly six 'grunts.' This is nearly comparable to the situation when facing Einst Regisseur at the end of OG 2, except the Swordian's Guards have 220,000 HP apiece. They're not very hard to dodge, but they also have Guard, so chipping them all down takes a very long time unless I want to be drained before facing the actual boss. Plus, I have heard from an unnamed source that Dark Brain will react to my beating him by turning into a second form. Big big big fight folks, Dark Brain will not be easy. Theoretically I could just try to blitz him at the start, but those Swordian's Guards must be beaten to elevate my Will levels, plus they'd be attacking me concurrently. Nope, they have to go down.
Duminas sure was, though. Aside from the creepiness of fighting a gigantic eyeball with four arms surrounding it, she was a cinch. Oh no, not an E-field! She didn't even have HP Regen so I just whacked away at her until the pink eyesore went down.
Couple other changes from the GBA: a spell that makes any attack do 10 damage, and some new Skills, mostly related to the Twin system. The spell is pretty darn useful, since it doesn't disappear after one enemy attacks like Alert does, but sticks around until a character is actually hit. The new Skills are variably useful depending on how much the Twin system gets incorporated. One Skill that isn't related to the Twin system, but royally sucks, raises the Will limit from 150 to 170. Axel and Alfimi came with it, but the thing is a waste of space, and I wrote over it once I was able. Sure it looks neat having the Will rating that high, but there are no abilities or attacks that open up at that point, so it has no point.
Oh yeah, the Will rating of every character is automatically displayed onscreen unless turned off with the click of a button. Handy ability.
The Swordian's Guards took awhile, but I eventually brought them down. Dark Brain's first form had nasty defense, 380,000 HP and (of course) 30% HP Regen, but I got it. Now - now I get to take on his real form. I can see the 'brain' part of his name now, but he still has level 9 Prevail so this is gonna be one epic fight, on top of what it already was.
This is it. Shu Shirakawa (Quin's avatar) has decided the time is now to throw down. He summoned seven Valsiones to make my life miserable, but compared to the Swordian's Guards these guys aren't much, plus everyone started with 10 more Will than normal anyway. Neo Granzon must fall!
It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.