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Jan 08 2013

Iron-Clad Mayhem: The Most Hot-Blooded Games About Giant Robots

Yeah, this actually exists in Japan. Yeah, pretty much a nation of incredible nerds.

Yeah, this actually exists in Japan. Yeah, pretty much a nation of incredible nerds.

Okay, is there anything more awesome than a Giant Robot? I believe most of those with their hands down are ignorant or simply too busy whining on Tumblr about their feels. Robots have always been cool because they are mechanical and can do things we can’t…but when we control them and kick all kinds of other robot butt, we’ve entered a form of heaven on earth. Just imagine the vision of two robots, one punching the other in a fit of rage, pilots sweating their brows over skill and grandeur. That is the essence of hardcore badassery.

Today, we recognize those games which make piloting something that could crush the human spirit as well as their spinal cord a reality. For those with a penchant for laser beams the size of a mack truck melting corporate buildings to slag to destroy the alien menace. This is one of the big reasons why we bought Metal Gear Solid 4 besides watching the game go by. Let us appreciate the power of unreasonable military hardware.

Super Robot Wars

super_robot_wars_kNothing could be said about gaming and robots without referring to this largely Japanese icon of hot-blooded, insanely popular series. Made by Banpresto, the series takes up nearly every well-known mecha animation from its start to the future and plugs them all together to deal with some sort of original threat. Their stories bleed together, and are not always consistent when they combine their ideas with other mecha series but the series shines in visuals of epic proportions. Take a look upon Youtube even for five minutes, and you will find people putting up the attacks of every robot and pilot just to show how cool it is. The only game we ever got of this series was the one involving the Original Generation characters, where the company decided to write its own story for once.

Everything about this series tries to push the envelope in the amount of exploding shrapnel they can fit into one situation. The actual tactical challenge is secondary save for the more difficult bonus challenges; it comes down to watching mecha destroy one another for the cause of humanity or protecting the universe from evil. It’s really all that simple and fun, just what you’d expect from something as awesome as cleaving a battleship in half with a giant katana. Not even kidding.

White Knight Chronicles

So standard RPG fare with  giant armor? Check. Unwitting, unintelligent protagonist? Check.

So standard RPG fare with giant armor? Check. Unwitting, unintelligent protagonist? Check.

And when Japan decides to really give us more mecha, they decide to do it against setting; White Knight was made by Level-5, who were responsible for the remade and recent Dragon Quest games and the Layton series. You play as the little runt of the group; while everyone else is riding large suits of knight armor as their special kill-em-all attack to protect princesses and save the world. Probably not the coolest way to present your overall design options, and the game didn’t sell too well in the states, but the premise is somewhat unique since only one anime has ever done it. [Ed's note: we actually have a review of this game right here.]

When you combine fantasy and mecha ideas together, you tend to get this oddly satisfying trend of political concerns and the nature of humanity-riddled in mecha series the world over-and this scope of adventure which can either be light-hearted or intensely cynical. White Knight decides to take the middle road, which places your created character and his greenhorn rider of platemail the size of a house into a world of intrigue and sadness, but ultimately hope.

Mechwarrior/Commander Series

So much grit. And so much hard metal. For their many differences, East and West Robot love is very similar.

So much grit. And so much hard metal. For their many differences, East and West Robot love is very similar.

And the American equivalent to giant robots owned by individuals and the military are science-fiction military and very-powerful families and clans doing mercenary jobs. The Battletech universe, known for an incredibly-diverse and intricate rules system and history, involves bringing all the firepower you can bear upon buildings and targets indiscriminately. The Mech series takes the future and puts more explosives in it with ideas of honor and military might as paramount to everything else. More missions require a greater cost to commit and succeed; the more you risk, the more you stand to lose if you fail…but the risks also allow you a better chance of winning. And you had better pay good attention to your tonnage; a slow Mechwarrior is a dead Mechwarrior. Let it be said though; the more guns you have, the less you have to dodge. Thing is, outside yet another lackluster MMO, we haven’t heard from the series in a while. Personally, I’d be interested in fighting for glory, loot and honor once again as a merc in a chicken-walker with no arms.

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