Zoids Assault: The politics of strategy RPG war

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Zoids Assault is another addition to the short list of SRPGs on the Xbox 360. It takes place amidst political turmoil between two factions that just don’t know how to get along. I didn’t pay much attention to the political jargon; I just wanted to get to the gameplay part of the game. I suggest players do the same if they don’t want to drown in politics.

 

Zoids takes advantage of the 360 hardware by giving players the ability to rotate the battle map in 3D — this comes in handy when you want to see if you’re getting surrounded. It also has skippable scenes for each battle, which is rendered in full 3D with detailed textures.

 

I was also impressed with the real-time 3D cut-scenes that accompany each battle: if a Zoid was between a patch of trees and another Zoid, that’s what you saw in the cut scene.

 

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Players can choose which weapons, armor, and skills to give each Zoid. Depending on the Zoid type (short-range, long-range, support), there are different combinations of equipment that work better. In addition to that, players can also customize offense, passive, defense, and active skills on the Zoids . The amount of customization is a bit overwhelming for a beginner, but it’s great for someone who loves having complete control of their team.

 

The gameplay may seem like a simple war of attrition at first, but as the AI gets harder, a good amount of strategy is needed to win each mission. Since certain Zoids can only do long-range attacks and others only do short-range ones, careful placement of each squad member is needed to not get trapped. Depending on where friendly Zoids are placed and what the attacking Zoid’s support gauge is at, single attacks can turn into 2 or 3 man combos on a single enemy. Just be careful because enemies can do the same support attacks.

 

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EMP attacks, which can only be used when the EMP gauge is built up, are one way to gain the upper-hand in a mission. They disable the enemy’s scanning ability temporarily (which means they can’t do a counter or support attack on you during that turn), and drops their defense. They also damage any nearby enemies who are also scanning you. EMPs can turn the tide when you’re surrounded and outnumbered.

 

While I would give the gameplay portion in Zoids Assault an A, the rest of the game shows its budget (or lack of). Static anime images during story exposition scenes on the 360 just looks low budget. One good thing about these scenes is that at least the voice acting is bearable. Luckily, these scenes and their convoluted pseudo-political talk can all be skipped. Considering I play SRPGs for their chess-like gameplay, which Zoids delivers, I can certainly excuse the game for its boring plot and cut-scenes.

 

Images courtesy of Atlus.


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Author
Louise Yang
Former Siliconera staff writer who loves JRPGs like Final Fantasy and other Square Enix titles.