Review by thumpin_termis

Reviewed: 06/14/07

A GREAT Mech Action-RPG!

*** Introduction
A mech-themed, side-scrolling action RPG for the PC Engine. I haven’t heard much of this game before, and only tried it on a whim, and boy, am I glad I did so.

*** Story [10/10]
Since this is an import game, you’re not going to get the full storyline unless you can read Japanese. Essentially, you are a young mech pilot that is fighting against the evil Empire forces, and along the way, you fight and interact with various cast of characters. Yes, it seems very Star Wars influenced, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

If you DO understand Japanese, I won’t spoil anything for you, but there are a few interesting plot twists, and shocking revelations that come through towards the end of the game. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, it’s not too difficult to tell that there’s a lot happening. You’ll probably be able to tell the gist of what’s going on, as there are really great looking cut-scenes that advance the story.

*** Gameplay [9/10]
The game layout is similar to that of Exile. You have a typical overhead RPG scene where you advance the story, find things, buy upgrades and so forth. And when you’re ready to move on, you move on to side-scrolling action scenes. You can get an idea of how Blood Gear controls during the action sequences if you can imagine games like Cybernator (Assault Suit Valken) or Target Earth (Assault Suit Leynos).

You can customize your mech by upgrading various parts, and you’ll also be allowed to control all-new mechs as you go through the game. The upgrading part of the game is actually quite fun, and along with a great storyline, this is where Blood Gear holds an advantage against many of other mech games.

Various weapons/shields are also available throughout the game. The only downfall is that your ammo runs out rather quickly, and there is no real way to reload your guns. Adding the option to carry ammunition clips would’ve been really cool.

*** Graphics [7/10]
Better than average for the PC-Engine. Though most of the scenes don’t look much better than your average platform games of this era, a few scenes and bosses, especially towards the latter part of the game, look really well done.

I also really like the art style of the mechs and characters. It’s still definitely anime-style, but it’s a bit removed from your stereotypical bug-eyed anime characters. It seems to have just a tad bit of western animation art-style blended in, and it works really well.

*** Sound [6/10]
Great sound effects (explosions, gunshots, buzzing of the laser sabers), but the music doesn’t hold up to rest of this game. All the BGM is done in PSG music. I really would’ve liked to hear some good CD audio, but this only happens during the cut scenes. The music that comes out from the chip isn’t too bad, but there’s definitely a lot more that the developers could’ve done in this department.

*** Play Time/Replayability [9/10]
This game is just about the right length for an action RPG. It won’t take you too long to complete the game, but it won’t be something that you’ll finish in one evening. It doesn’t keep track of your playing time, but I’d guess it took me somewhere around the 15-hour mark to complete the game.

The challenge level of the game is also just about right. There are a few scenes that will take you more than a couple tries, but nothing so frustrating that you’ll just give up (well, the last boss is really tough).

The game is also completely playable for those who don’t read Japanese. Of course, it’ll make it easier if you can read what kind of weapon you’re equipping and so forth, but for the most part, your average Joe shouldn’t have too many problems. There are a couple parts where you might get stuck, but by talking to everyone, and trying out different things, there really isn’t a part in the game that should hold you back for too long.

It will take you a quite a bit more time to compete if you want max out your mech to full status. (By the time you get to the last scene, you WON’T earn enough money to upgrade your mech on a regular basis, unless you want to spend a looooong time doing so. You HAVE to do it before you get to the last scenario, unless you want to take forever!) This may be something that keeps perfectionists coming back for another go at the game.

*** Final Recommendation [8/10]
A fantastic action RPG. A better soundtrack and consistent “WOW” graphics would’ve brought this up to at least a 9, but there really isn’t much else I can fault on this game.

Definitely recommended.

Rating: 8

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