Ryu’s Musings – Assault Gunners HD (PS4)

box artLanguage: Audio: Japanese / Subs: English
Developer: SHADE Inc.
Publisher: Marvelous
Format: Steam/PS4
Type: Mecha, Action
Demo Box: PS4
Synopsis: You are in control of DAT, a Battle Mech Peace Keeping Force. You must save Earth’s Migrants and the Mars Colonies from the threat of the ANTS uprising. Who or what could be leading this threat against Mars, and the new planned perfect utopia for humanity?

Assault Gunners HD is a port/remaster of Assault Gunners, which was originally released on the Vita back in 2012, so almost 6 years ago. Given this was originally a japan only release i was actually looking forward to this coming out. And while i have to admit, i’ve had fun with the game, it’s not a great game. It’s low price being a huge saving grace.

Now, lets not kid ourselves here, a game over 5 years old on the vita, was never going to be a superb game. It was never going to blow the socks off it’s players, nor was it ever going to be a long staying game. If i’m honest, i never expected anything much from the game, so what i got was for the most part a pleasant suprise.

That is something i think we all need to keep in mind with games like this, keep our expectation in check. Unless it’s a big company or publisher, the chances of getting a huge AAA styled remaster just isn’t going to happen. Temper your expectations for games coming from these B rated publishers and developers. Also factor in the cost of the game, for AG:HD it’s only £7.99, which is barely the cost of a McDonalds meal. So the profit from this is going to be negligible, as a result you can’t expect the publisher or developer to spend 100’s or 1000’s of hours on it.

So lets talk about the game, for me it was very much a EDF vibe coming from the game. Though without any of the charm and zany songs of EDF (and for that matter not the high price of EDF!)

Essentially you go to an area and kill wave after wave of robots, fight a boss or two and thats it, runs and repeats. So yeah, essentially EDF, your even doing the same sort of pick ups through out the game.

Graphically, don’t get your hopes to high. Even though this claims to be a HD version of the game i personally dont see it. It’s certainly not an ugly game, and graphics are just a part of the overall package, but it certainly helps if the graphics look nice! At times i felt like i was looking at PS2 era of details!

Also worth noting is that they didn’t really change the spawning of mobs, so you have a huge empty map, and things don’t really spawn until your in shooting range. It’s essentially a ‘if you can see it, you can shoot it’ scenario. Which isn’t a bad thing per se, in fact on the original vita it’s a god send. But on the the more powerful PS4 you’d think they’d have tweaked it a bit.

The mechs themselves, while in the hanger, do look pretty damn awesome. However as soon as you leave and enter a scenario they, and everything else, look, well, meh. The AI bots all look alike and generic, nothing special about them at all. There’s very little in the way of variance, and even, not a lot of ‘threat’ flowing. Even the bosses just didn’t give me a feeling of danger. I looked at them, and sometimes felt it was a nice design, but i never felt like ‘OMG this is gonna kick my ass!’, which is a shame, since most bosses should give you that vibe.

The UI is another area i felt was a bit lacking. It felt like a direct port of the Vita UI with no scaleing done to it. I’m assuming the large UI on the Vita was so it could be touch controlled? But of course you don’t have that on the PS4, so you would think they’d have scaled the UI a bit, sadly not!

Sound wise, it’s mildly better. When walking the mech you do get the sound of metal walking, which admittedly would be annoying for some people. And if you’re playing a long session i can see it getting annoying as well. However in the short bursts i was playing (an hour or so at a time) it wasn’t to bad.
Unfortunately, with only one exception, the weapons are anaemic as hell. Gus sound like they’re the old cap-guns i used to play with as a kid. No matter how much i upgraded them they sounded kinda weak. Beam guns were just as weak sauce, and even visually failed to to impress.

In truth, only missiles were good, and i did like them. To the point overloaded myself with missiles. You got both good visual and audible feedback with them. To the point they were the most satisfying weapons in the game.

Where this does excel is in the navigators, who you salty wont get unless you buy the complete edition or the upgrade. (Honestly get the complete edition straight off it’s like an extra 70p!) These navigators are voiced by the likes of Jôji Nakata (Alucard from Hellsing), Atsuko Tanaka (Major from GitS) and Kana Hanazawa. All of these and more did a lot of voice work for the game, but no where near enough!! They should have done more because it’s always good hearing their voices!!

On a more serious note, they really didn’t do all that amount of dialogue, which is a shame. I’d have liked to have seen more done by them as i think that would have increased my playtime a lot more.

As with a lot of Vita titles this one suffers on the music front. While the music isn’t bad, it’s the usual short and constantly repeating type, as a result it gets stale rather fast. Which is a shame as the music is actually pretty good. I would have liked to see them do what some other games have done (Atelier) and release music packs to expand the game repertoire.

So would i recommend it…Thats a hard call. Personally given it’s price, i feel it’s worth a gamble. If you like EDF and want a game to play as a time filler, then i’d say go for it. If you’re looking for the next EDF to fill up hours at a time, sadly this isn’t it.

I cant stress this enough, for what you pay for it, it’s not a bad game. It is (IMO) worth it as a game i’ll play in 20-30 minute sessions when i want to kill some time.

Author: Ryu Sheng