Super Robot Taisen Original Generations Saga: Endless Frontier
Nintendo DS
Reviewed: 06/09/2009

Super Robot Taisen Original Generation Saga: Endless Frontier (hereafter known as the nice, “short” acronym, SRTOGS:EF) is the latest iteration from the Super Robot Taisen series to make it stateside via Atlus. It’s also in the running for one of the longest video game titles out there. Series fans may be shocked if they buy the game expecting another strategy RPG, however, as the game plays more like a fighting game than anything else.

The best way to describe SRTOGS:EF (I love typing that) is “random.” The story is full of disconnected elements that seem thrown together just for the heck of it. The gameplay is a smörgåsbord of elements that don’t really relate to each other. Almost everything about the game is just all over the board in terms of quality.

Screen Shot
The battle system
is frantic, but boring. Go

The game plays like the most old-school RPGs at first. Players move around a tiny icon of the main character, Haken Browning, as they fight random battles, delve into some rather large dungeons, and interact with a world map. Story scenes show the character’s portraits and text. However, the battle system is where things start to get interesting. The battles play out basically like a turn-based fighting game. Players set up chains and unleash them on enemies, “juggling” them in the air to keep the chain going. Enemies will do the same, landing brutal combos on player characters. Damage is dealt out in massive proportions, both to and from the characters. While at first this may seem like a pretty cool system, at its core it is pretty shallow. All it really involves is picking the best combination of skills that use all the character’s energy, linking them together, and pressing the “A” button repeatedly. There is potential in the battle system, but it’s completely untapped.

The story doesn’t fair much better. It’s full of stereotyped RPG conventions such as: multiple dimensions, evil threat, looming war, ancient evils, etc. Granted, these stereotypes have been used together to make some fantastic stories, but SRTOGS:EF is not one of the games that manages to use these cliches effectively. The story is just an excuse to get back into the battle system. Which, as I discussed above, isn’t even that great. The one saving grace of the story is the superb writing. Once again, publisher Atlus managed to really hit the nail on the head. Genuinely funny moments are present in abundance. The one downside is that “boob jokes” are in over abundance, every conversation seems to have one, and it quickly becomes tedious and loses its humor. Overall, the story is pretty lame, but the writing makes up for it in a small way.

As a side note, where the hell are all the robots? Sure there are a few, but for a game named Super ROBOT Taisen there aren’t very many robots.

Screen Shot
More effort could have made this look good.

Graphically this game, while shining in some places, mostly falls flat. Outside of combat, the game looks like it could have been a very bland NES game. When evaluating a game’s graphics that try to convey an old school look and feel, one of the most important things in this reviewer’s opinion, is the level of detail. Is there an obvious effort to use the graphics to convey a sense of nostalgia, or are the developers just being lazy by using them? In the case of SRTOGS:EF, it seems the latter is true. In battle, however, the graphics are more than adequate. Characters deliver flurries of blows, fly across the screen, bring in the occasional ‘bot to deal some damage, and generally deliver some nice eye candy. Unfortunately, because a large part of the game is spent walking around in bland environments and watching still portraits “interact” the battle graphics don’t make up for the general blandness of the game.

The music is the one constant in this game. As in other Super Robot Taisen games, the soundtrack of SRTOGS:EF is superb. The game comes with a copy, and it is one of the few soundtracks that is actually worth listening to.

SRTOGS:EF is a game of “if only’s” and “could have beens”. If only they had made a story that made sense, if only the battle system showed greater depth, if only they’d attempted to do anything interesting with the graphics, the game could have at least been average. As is, however, it hovers at below average. It’s a game that, to RPG fans, will feel very “ho-hum.” It’s not bad enough to hate, not good enough to like.

-Joseph Wartick

Score Breakdown
Below Average
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Below Average
Story Below Average
Graphics Below Average
Sound/Music Great
Replay Value Below Average
The Verdict: Four