Game Info:

Super Robot Wars V
Developed By: B.B. Studio
Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Released: February 4, 2017 (PS4, Vita), October 3, 2019 (Switch, PC)
Available On: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
Genre: Turn-based strategy
ESRB Rating: CERO C (equivalent to ERSB Teen rating for Western territories)
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $59.99 (Play-Asia Affiliate Link)

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a title one will have to import from Play-Asia or purchase via Amazon, as it is only available in Asian territories, though it has a full English translation and defaults to the system language of the Nintendo Switch for English players. Some downloadable content requires making an account on the Asian territory store for purchase; this can be done legally even by Western players. There is a Steam version of this game based on the Switch version, but it is not legally available in Western territories and CCG does NOT recommend trying to circumvent region-locking of Steam via VPN usage nor condones piracy in any way; we instead recommend the Switch version as outlined above.

In 1991, an idea was conceived that goes like this:

"Mecha shows are cool, what would happen if we rolled all their plots into a giant crossover so you could play with them all?"

And from this, Super Robot Wars was born.

Generally confined to Japan and Asian territories only due to licensing issues making it a nightmare to allow non-Asian areas to enjoy it, the creators noticed how English speakers in Asian territories, as well as a sizable Western fanbase of importers, were fueling their market. In response, they created "Super Robot Wars V" (the "V" stands for Voyage), which has a full English translation of all text so it can be easily imported to non-Asian territories and understood without learning Japanese.

The games all have a theme of taking any anime, manga, light novel, or property created by the owners of the franchise with pilotable robots (and they've bent those rules quite a bit over time), weaving their plots together in a mix and match fashion with some original story to weld it into a coherent tale, then presents it as a visual novel/turn-based strategy game hybrid. In the process you can avert certain canon character deaths, unlock units that were never used or were design sketches that never saw the light of day in the actual shows, and these games tend to streamline and fix many storytelling issues with adapted properties that had problems in their original telling that are fixed in the SRW retelling of their events.

Super Robot Wars V

Strong Points: Excellent port; generally excellent English translation; well-done crossover plot
Weak Points: Some English translation goofs; very easy in terms of difficulty
Moral Warnings: Some minor daytime PG-13 movie language used throughout the game (b*s***d, d**m, h**l, etc.) and a fair degree of sexual innuendo; references to rape and some partial nudity; positive reference to at least one gay/bisexual relationship; some villains are shown capable of supernatural powers and a few make various claims at being gods; definite references to systematic bigotry and racism; RPG-style violence that is mostly non-lethal on hero and villain sides except when there is no alternative otherwise

The following anime, manga, and light novel series (along with some original story to fill in any blanks in the crossover) will be represented in whole or in part:

Zambot 3
Daitarn 3
Universal Century Gundam:
* Zeta Gundam
* Gundam ZZ
* Char's Counterattack
* Gundam Unicorn
* Hathaway's Flash
* Crossbone Gundam
* Crossbone Gundam: Skull Heart
* Crossbone Gundam: The Steel 7 (Units only)
Gundam SEED:
* SEED Destiny
Gundam 00
* 00 Movie: Awakening of the Trailblazer
Brave Express Might Gaine
Martian Successor Nadesico
* Prince of Darkness (movie)
Getter Robo Armageddon
Shin Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact!
* Mazin Emperor G (toy model, adapted as an upgrade to Great Mazinger)
Mazinger ZERO
* ZERO vs. Great General of Darkness
Full Metal Panic
* Full Metal Panic!
* Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu
* Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid
* Full Metal Panic! (Post Second Raid Light Novels)
Evangelion Rebuild:
* 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone
* 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance
* 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
Star Blazers 2199 (AKA Space Battleship Yamato 2199)
Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragons
Original Generation (Huckebein and Grungust Units based on appearance from Super Robot Wars 4, available as DLC)

The plot of Super Robot Wars V is that three different dimensions exist: The New Correct Century, Universal Century, and Anno Domini Century. All three have an Earth that is besieged by various threats, and unbeknownst to all three universes, their fates are all tied together. However, they quickly realize this, and thus the warriors of three different Earths join as one cross-dimensional army to save their worlds from destruction not only from the threats besieging their worlds, they also must stop a force seeking to destroy them all.

SRW V is an isometric grid-based game with a turn-based strategy formula. You and the enemy move units across the board like chess pieces, which results in battle scenes often depicting a frame-by-frame version of the attacks as seen in the source material. Each level is interspersed with a visual novel style storytelling medium that sets the world and circumstances leading to the next stage up, and before each new stage is an intermission where you can upgrade units and pilots.

The formula described above is standard for all of the games since the basic engine concept was finalized in Super Robot Wars 4. SRW V adds in some new features, like purchasable upgrades for pilots and units obtainable with TAC Points earned by defeating enemies. There is also a mechanic called "sub-orders," where you can prevent anyone from just sitting on the bench doing nothing between stages by putting them to work in training sims. This results in bonus level gains, TAC Points, money, and other nice bonuses.

Super Robot Wars V is notable in the writing department for debuting Space Battleship Yamato 2199, a rather odd entry since it's a space opera anime, not a mecha anime, but they manage to make sense of its inclusion. They also notably adapt the series Cross Ange, which they managed to port over with all key plot points intact, albeit to keep a Teen rating a lot of adult-level content had to be trimmed out. This is not the first time an oddball series has been added or they watered down adult content to keep the rating from becoming adult, but it's worth noting they managed to do both rather well. Although, as someone who watched all of Cross Ange, they made at least one plot mistake that will probably only annoy the nitpicky, those who get introduced to the show via this game probably will never pick up on it. That aside, they also had to make some pragmatic changes to avoid canon clashes, had to change up some events to make the crossover proceed, and had to cut and paste some canon elements from the included shows to make for a playable game, but this is part and parcel of how SRW makes a crossover plot work.

Super Robot Wars V
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 92%
Gameplay - 20/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 49%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 4/10
Sexual Content - 2/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10
(+6 for promoting loyalty to friends and allies and displaying why such evils such as war crimes should never be repeated)

Graphically, the game was ported from the Playstation 4 version to Nintendo Switch and looks the same. There is some noticeable recycling of animations and animation assets used from SRW Z3 for some of the series that were also in that like Gundam 00, though Cross Ange and especially Space Battleship Yamato have some new and impressive animation ripped frame by frame from their sources. This does tend to make the latter feel out of place to some extent given their animation quality is much higher, but even the reused stuff from older games still tends to look good, though Gundam 00 fans who played SRWZ3 will likely be bothered that most animations are barely changed at all from then.

Sound is excellent and crisp, and the music is excellent, though the Switch lacks the custom BGM switching feature from the PS4 version. This means that, barring some risky hacking of the files on a user made dump of the game data (and provided you can make this work as an actual game again when you are done), there is no way to upload your custom music if the music provided in-game does not satisfy you. Controls are easily accomplished with any standard setup of your choice, and the game settings provide even more options for fine-tuning the controls.

Online features are generally limited to the downloadable content, and while most that were in previous versions of the game is included by default and integrated into the game, there are some special DLC that must be obtained as pre-order bonuses and/or purchased online via the Asian store for the Switch version of SRW V. English players can easily do so, but they may be a bit leery of paying online to the Asian servers with their Western credit information. There may also be some connection issues and problems with your credit card being accepted; reports tend to vary. The DLC you can purchase is mostly just some bonus things that make the game easier, and since SRW V is a very easy game anyway without it, anyone willing to pass on the online aspect will not be missing too much. Besides, the game has a New Game Plus feature that makes this DLC less and less useful on subsequent replays.

General stability is not too shabby. Frames are smooth, the animation is mostly okay save for some of the lazier recycling from older games, and the English translation has some odd typos and mangles a few minor plot points (though most of this will not trouble anyone save diehard fans of the shows included). Regardless, it's still more than playable despite the goofs.

Morally, Super Robot Wars V is not too bad in many areas, being Teen rated and watering down a lot of things from the more mature series adapted into the crossover plot but still has some concerning issues.

Violence is restricted to turn-based strategy combat against machines, with or without human or alien beings piloting them, and there is no blood or gore shown. While the villains have no restrictions against killing in cold blood, your protagonists try to refrain, often trying to disable enemy machines without killing pilots and only using lethal force when nothing less will work and when requests for surrender go unheeded. There are some monsters and non-humanoid and non-mechanical beings fought (some sentient, some not), but again, the violence is no worse than with the robots.

Language is no worse than a daytime PG-13 movie, though there is a fair amount of sexual innuendo. The latter is a watered-down compromise due to the game being Teen rated and due to adapting several series rated borderline adult; the innuendo takes the place of even more graphic content from the source canon of shows like Cross Ange especially. Thankfully, this is kept to as minimum as possible.

In regards to the sexual content we do see, there are some references to rape and some scenes of partial nudity (censored to this in cases where there was full nudity from the scenes of the borrowed source canons). There are also some references to lesbianism from Cross Ange, which was relevant to the plot of that show. This is, thankfully, pared down to the absolute minimum required for the plot to be adapted. Some female pilot suits are a bit on the risque side, but generally, nothing worse than a fair amount of cleavage and some midriffs are shown.

The occult and supernatural are not too severe for a Super Robot Wars title, this being one of the more science and technology versus fantasy-oriented titles in the franchise, but there are still some red flags. Mazinger features a backstory with an admittedly sci-fi take on Greek mythology that still has some references to magic and a Devil-like figure who claims to be a god along with his equally evil buddies. Brave Express Might Gaine has a similar villain with a god complex, though it is revealed to be anything but except in their mind. Cross Ange has another villain like this, and while they make a point of NOT claiming godhood, they still revel in the benefits of being perceived as such; and while the show makes many references to a form of magic called "Mana," story events reveal it has a far more rational origin that is fantastical yet given a grounding in technology.

The first three Evangelion Rebuild movies are generally adapted, though most to all of their supernatural elements are heavily downplayed and not given any serious focus (the freaky biomechanical and pseudo-sentient nature of the titular machines is still shown but watered down to comply with Teen standards). Finally, the adaptation of Mazinger ZERO waters down some of the more Lovecraftian horror aspects of the source, though the titular being is still depicted as something with a mind of its own and still capable of some nightmarish, disturbing abilities, including a horrifying scene where it tries to absorb its pilot into its own body.

Morally and ethically, this game depicts why abandoning principles, ethics, and basic decency are wrong. The story focuses heavily on how the exercise of hate and bigotry just continues a sad cycle of violence and destruction, and the cornerstone of the moral is showing not only why such things are madness, but why such evils should be abandoned. If anything, the game has a subtle as a sledgehammer level theme against such horrors and why they should never be repeated.

This moral message is so pronounced the Wave Motion Gun from Space Battleship Yamato is locked out from use for the player except in a few stages and then only on non-humanoid beings who have no respect for the lives and free will of others, just to put an exclamation on a theme borrowed from its original source that weapons of mass destruction should never be used in anger or for intentional destruction.

Super Robot Wars V is, some goofs with the English translation aside, an excellent turn-based strategy game and an easy and import-friendly introduction to the SRW franchise for international audiences. Morally, it's got some concerning issues mostly in the sexual content department (though having seen the original shows this content is based on, this game has a very tame and watered down depiction of said content by comparison).

This game is one of the first (officially) competently English translated full Super Robot Wars games released in recent years, and as a fan of the series in general, I highly recommend paying for this and all future titles that are just as importer friendly to encourage more with English translations to be produced.



Please consider supporting our efforts.  Since we're a 501 C3 Non-Profit organization, your donations are tax deductible.