I want to preface this review by saying that I love fighting games and side-scrolling shooters, now with that out of the way I want to iterate that while this game tries to mesh both genres into one package it doesn’t recreate either one very well. WarTech: Senko no Ronde is the latest Japanese title to be brought over courtesy of Ubi-Soft and developer G-Rev and it will probably only sell as many copies as it did in Japan, which truly isn’t saying much.
At its core, WarTech is a 2D shooter with a one-on-one fighting game mentality. Each stage is just a fight against another character until you reach the climactic (and I use that term loosely) final boss, which is the only time the game even resembles a shoot-em-up. What this all boils down to is a simple game that becomes monotonous long before you have time get into it.
The roster of characters, while impressive, is still chock full of just about every anime cliché you can imagine. From the serious hero who wants to prove he is worthy to the bubbly girl who seems more interested in showing you her mammaries than actually fighting, I mean do we seriously need a mech with bunny ears and a purse, I think not. Outside of their award-winning personalities each character does have a different set of moves they can perform which does add some spice to the mix, however once you realize how the mechanics work the game becomes more a test of luck rather than skill.
During each battle you have different attacks at your disposal such as a standard gun, a special firearm such as homing rockets, and of course your special move that requires a full bar to perform. You can also dash and block attacks plus if you get close enough to your opponent you can engage in an archaic form of melee combat that feels more like a scripted event than actual combat. The last piece of the puzzle is your super-special move (like how I made that sound much more dramatic than it actually is?) where you can jump into a large ship and spray bullet fire that fills the screen for your opponent.
The problem lies in the fact that there is little to no strategy involved with any of this. In fact for the most part you are simply flying up and down, back and forth simply tapping the fire buttons hoping your bullets connect. There is no precision shooting here and dodging bullets seems almost irrelevant as it is much easier to simply block them. This leads to the game becoming tedious much too quickly and leaving the player searching for depth that just isn’t there. This game feels like it would have been more comfortable arriving via Xbox Live Arcade as opposed to being a full-fledged (and priced) next-gen title.
In addition to the stale single-player and time attack modes there is a multi-player component that can be enjoyed either locally or via Xbox Live. The hard part though will be finding an opponent as the servers are all but dead minus a few highly-skilled Japanese players who really make you feel stupid as they wipe the floor with your carcass. Granted the game doesn’t offer much in the replay category even with online multi-player.
Visually the game can be a treat if you appreciate the art style. The characters are very lively and full of color, and the amount of things onscreen during special attacks is certainly pleasing to the eyes. This doesn’t come without a price though as the game can slow to a snail’s pace when too much is happening at once. The rest of the presentation is passable at best and even the Achievements scream mediocrity with one for beating the game with each character and the final bulk of points coming from online ranked matches which just seems ridiculous to me.
WarTech’s biggest crime is obviously its price tag. If the game had shipped through Microsoft’s Arcade service for perhaps 800 pts (ten bucks) then I could easily recommend a purchase. As it stands selling this game at the full price tag of $60 and not even offering it as a budget title for $40 or better yet $20 this game simply isn’t worth your time or your money. Fans of Japanese shooters won’t even find much to love here as you can still download the extremely excellent Aegis Wing from Arcade for $60 less than what this game will cost you.