By Spencer . June 16, 2008 . 10:24pm
KOS-MOS’ top drop is just the tip of cleavage in Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga (Endless Frontier Super Robot Wars OG Saga). At the very beginning of the game you only have two characters in your party Haken, a lecherous space cowboy with a sword-rifle, and Aschen, an android with multiple personality disorder. When Aschen is fully covered she speaks with a cold voice. When the green portion of her swimsuit-like armor drops, Aschen is suddenly friendly and can do a damaging combo called the Phantasm Phoenix in combat. An even more ridiculous scenario is presented in the first dungeon where Aschen does her half top drop to open doors. Haken doesn’t seem to mind. He makes jokes about this sort of thing every chance he gets like calling Kaguya a milk cow princess. If Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga gets localized some of the text is likely to get revised.
Outside of the story sequences, long story sequences where static character portraits “speak”, you spend most of the time exploring dungeons. Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga’s dungeons are pretty basic. You don’t have difficult puzzles to solve, but you can scavenge for treasure. Haken can use his Nightfoul weapon like a lance to prod rocks. When you shatter them you can open new paths and occasionally get healing items. The second dungeon has a gimmick where Haken has to climb walls. However, you can’t climb your way to the end of the stage by holding the “A” button. You have to fall and quickly grab the wall or risk starting over again. Most dungeons are straightforward, but the path to beating the game isn’t. You have to revisit dungeons and you only know where to go if you can read Japanese.
The game may be language intensive, but combat sure isn’t. In this battle against the Gnosis you’re going to use the same strategy against any ordinary ninja, walking shark or giant robot. All attacks are done with the A button. Pressing it starts the attack phase. Pressing it again does the next move on your combo list. You can keep extending the combo until you’re out of COM or choose to stop. If you mash the A button you will cancel through your moves and waste your multi-combo attacks. However, cancelling is good, if timed correctly. A timed break boosts the frontier gauge, which lets you do a powerful attack like Aschen’s Phantasm Phoenix when it reaches 100%. Each move has a different point where you need to press the A button to get a timed attack cancelling boost. However, Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga never explains when this is. You have to discover it by trial and error. Once you figure it out for each move you can evaluate the risk versus reward relationship of stopping your attack early. If the beastly tiger wearing ripped jeans is almost dead you want to extend the combo as long as possible. If you’re facing a robot that blocks regular attacks you want to fill up the frontier meter to unleash Haken’s Last Showdown as soon as the barrier falls apart.
Before you unleash a combo ending frontier attack or run out of COM you can tag the next character in the turn order to attack by pressing the d-pad. This keeps the hit counter rolling and more importantly instantly boosts the frontier meter by 10%. The key to getting wild juggling combos is timing partner tags and later support characters to jump in at the right time. However, if you skip to the next character’s turn you will not be able to use their pre-attack phase move to heal. By using assigned techniques or items you can restore HP, void status effects (note: English text explains the effect, but the remedy is written in kanji), and utilize COM restoring items. While you start with 100% COM in the beginning of a fight you only recover around half each turn. More COM means a longer combo.
Unlike Namco X Capcom you can customize individual six combo chains by swapping techniques in the menu. New attacks are automatically learned by gaining levels. The end result is each character can have a custom combo with a mixture of low COM/low power attacks and hard hitting high power/high COM moves. While you’re adjusting your endless combo you can enter simulation battles to practice the cancel timing or you can stick to a single move and skip the entire custom combo system all together. Another option is to grind for hours, over level your party, and forget the entire combat core.
Beside the combat system Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga received coverage because it packs in multiple cameo characters. Xenosaga mascot KOS-MOS is in the game along with her adversary T-elos. Monolith Soft also threw in Reiji, Xiaomu, and Saya, the original characters from Namco X Capcom. The latter characters are a fitting crossover choice since they Reiji and Xiaomu are based on characters from Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation.
Excellen Browning is with you in spirit.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai.