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  1. #1

    [PC, PS4] Hardcore Mecha

    I've been waiting for this for quite some time...I've backed this Kickstarter the moment I saw it, and after some delays it's finally here. Previously the developer, Rocket Punch, delivered two multiplayer-only alpha builds to backers, but asked not to divulge anything about it.
    Right now Hardcore Mecha is available worldwide on Steam and Japanese/Asian PSN; other PSN regions will be available later.

    Hardcore Mecha is a sidescrolling run'n'gun game with giant robots. Thread done, go buy it, GOTY.
    OK, stupid jokes aside, Hardcore Mecha plays as a mix between Contra and the Assault Suit series. You aim the gun by simply pointing the left stick where you want (rather than rotating it as in Assault Suit), but your robot has a limited jump which can be augmented by holdign the button down and consuming the boost gauge; you have multiple weapons, a close-range attack, and a shield. The starting mecha, the Thunderbolt, isn't as heavy as in Assault Suit but you can totally feel it's not as agile as a human being. Controls feel good, and after some adjustment (including having to remember that face buttons on the X Box controller are inverted), everything flows smoothly. The only thing is that my thumb automatically goes to the d-pad for movement, were that is used for secondary actions (browse through weapons, items, and use them) here. You can choose between two controller layouts, but can't create your own...I would totally swap around what some dorsal buttons do, but that's a personal preference.

    The game is divided into missions, each with its own set of primary and secondary objectives. Stages are linear, although there are a few hidden places here and there. Enemies range from puny infantry soldiers, to vehicles, aircrafts, other mechas, and mechas bigger than your mecha. Those usually serve as bosses, like in the second chapter. The game is at its best during stages and when facing named characters in mechas of the same size, the aforementioned second chapter boss takes up half of the screen but the fight itself is rather boring; funny thing, because the mid-boss was far more engaging and difficult, and that was the size of your own robot.
    You can also dismout from your robot, useful if you need to interact with human-sized terminals, and...oh, the third mission. You're on foot and it's a stealth mission.
    Dear Rocket Punch, I don't want human stealth sections in a game called "Hardcore Mecha". But at least it's not obnoxious, guards are pretty dumb and only react if you end in their cone of vision.

    In between missions you can spend hard-earned credits to upgrade your mecha, and if you have blueprints, develop new weapons. Missions are graded, and finally, a game that doesn't shy away of giving you a "C" for clearing the mission after a few deaths, rather than using "C" when you fail and instead go double or triple S. I'm not joking, I actually like this. Grading is also rather strict, even simply taking damage, not severe enough to warrant using a repair item, will result in your rating falling down rather quickly.

    The story is brought forward by the usual portraits talking to each other and some nicely drawn cutscenes. I'm playing at 1920x1080, and nothing shows the typical artifacts of images being scaled up or down, so I guess the art was drawn at that resolution. To be honest I haven't tried other resolutions, nor I know if the game even runs at different settings other than full HD.
    Anyway, the game looks lovely, sound effects have a good feel to them, and music...uhm, I can't really remember any of the BGMs. But there's a theme song on the title screen and if you like giant robots you should totally listen to it. Maybe a more "Gundamy" theme would have been more appropriate for Hardcore Mecha, but...just listen to it.

    From what little I've played Hardcore Mecha looks like a quality title.
    And before you ask, no, I don't have videos. I tried to record yesterday but my PC decided to give up after half and hour and threw away everything recorded up to that point.

  2. #2
    'Hardcore Mecha' Is Finally Released Today And It Is Entirely Amazing

    "I have also been playing the PlayStation 4 version of the game for a few days now and it is genuinely amazing. The team behind this clearly has a deep love and understanding for mecha anime and games, and it really shows.

    In terms of accessibility, the game is available on Steam and PlayStation 4 has an English text localization. However, the PlayStation 4 version is currently a Japan-only release but the English text localization options are in the settings menu.


    So until Hardcore Mecha comes Westward on the PlayStation 4, I will hold off on my review. In the meantime though, I can happily recommend this game to anyone that likes a proper mecha shoot-em-up with gorgeous 2D artwork."


  3. #3
    I’ve been quite looking forward to this. It’ll probably end up with a physical release at some point, but hopefully it at least comes to the UK PSN.

  4. #4
    So, I've spent a few more hours with the game and I'm very, very, very happy to say it rocks.
    For a moment I thought controls could have been better, but turns out it was due to me using a X360 controller. I have nothing against the controller, but I noticed the d-pad wasn't particularly good for precise, 4-way inputs, and the left stick was a bit too loose for my tastes. I changed to a DS4 and my control woes went away. Sometimes I still want to use the d-pad to move and aim, but as you can aim all around your mecha, the analog stick is a good fit.

    The single player campaign is proving to be well designed, with varied levels and a lot of inventive bosses. I don't particularly care about the story, but it feels it's more of a choice than an oversight: what happens in the stages is what matters, the beginning and ending cutscenes are mere filler for what you play. The campaign is also proving to be more challenging than the opening missions suggested it would be, which is a very pleasant surprise. The biggest surprise are the ranks, I keep getting Ds, mostly because I die against bosses a lot trying to learn their patterns. Bosses aren't particularly punishing or unfair, but against every single one of them, your mecha feels underpowered, and bosses only have two-three stages as you go through their lifebar. Some of them have an almost Metal Slug quality to them, at least in design: over the top military vehicles that look cool, work well in a videogame, but wouldn't be that useful in real world situations. Which is strange, considering Hardcore Mecha aims for a realistic setting. But then again, they serve their purpose as bosses very well.

    Levels may be visually varied, but their structure is somewhat basic. Rewards from exploring are there in form of blueprints for new weapons, but there aren't many secondary paths to take and most secondary objectives are laid right before your eyes. Some levels may be nderwater, which changes the way you move and fight, and several levels have miscellaneous objects you can "interact" with, like tree blocking small-caliber weapons or cars to slow down your movement. These are nice touchs, but some, like cars, are usually small and at times you wonder what is stopping you from reaching your target with a close-range attack.

  5. #5
    I did play a early version a while back and i was a bit worried, but i am glad they came through and that opening bit was awesome

  6. #6
    A mission just propelled this game straight into GOTY territory. Longer post coming later.

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