Game Info:

Super Robot Wars X
Developed By: B.B. Studio
Published By: Bandai Namco
Released: January 10, 2020
Available On: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
Genre: Turn-based strategy
ESRB Rating: CERO C (equivalent to ESRB Teen)
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $66.98
(Play-Asia Affiliate Link)

Sometimes, tried and true series try to mix things up and try different things just to keep it interesting. Bandai Namco's Super Robot Wars X still keeps the turn-based strategy with robots, but has the premise "let's set it all in a fantasy-heavy setting but still add sci-fi robot action to the mix".

Like all the game in the series, SRW X is a turn-based strategy game set on an isometric grid, where you move your mecha like chess pieces against other mecha, seeing scenes of animated robot combat when you engage other units. In between levels, you get an intermission to optimize your machines and pilots and get a visual novel style plot between cutscenes to flesh out the strategy game story that makes up the combat section of the game.

Unlike most other SRW games, this one is largely NOT set on a futuristic Earth made of many other series various other settings put in a blender. Instead, the relevant aspects of the settings and their characters are transported to the fictional world of Al-Warth, where their conflicts from their worlds become intertwined with those specific to Al-Warth. After forming a cross-dimensional team called the "X-Cross" to see to it they all go back to the way they knew normalcy to be, they come to realize all the various forces that brought them to Al-Warth are but pieces in a greater plot against all the worlds involved that will require their combined forces to meet, else Al-Warth will become ground zero for the doom of all.

The series included in this game are:

Daitarn 3
Aura Battler Dunbine
New Story of Aura Battler Dunbine (machines and characters only)
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
Beltorchika's Children (novel version, units only)
Mobile Suit Gundam F91
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: The Steel Seven (units and characters only)
Gundam Reconguista in G
Mashin Hero Wataru
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (debut)
Brave Express Might Gaine
Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann the Movie: The Lights in the Sky are Stars (based primarily on this)
Code Geass R2 (set post-series)
True Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact!
True Mazinger ZERO vs Great General of Darkness
Mazinkaiser (SRW Alpha Original version)
Mazin Emperor G (toy model adapted for a unit upgrade)
Buddy Complex
Buddy Complex Final Act -Into the Skies of Tomorrow-
CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon
Masoukishin The Lord of Elemental
Original Characters

Super Robot Wars X

Strong Points: Interesting twist in terms of setting for this franchise
Weak Points: Has a story heavily focused on a few properties instead of giving all crossover properties equal storytime
Moral Warnings: Frequent PG level profanity with mild occasional PG-13 profanity (like b***ard); some sexual innuendo and flirting; brief one-off scene of some blood; RPG-style violence (generally free of blood and gore); two openly gay characters; one instance of sex before marriage that gets no moral callout; brief scene of barbie doll style nudity; some sexy pilot outfits; frequent references to demons and necromancy as well as supernatural beings in general (though all morally negative instances of this are condemned in-universe); mentions and occasional depictions of racism

SRW X has a lot of returning elements from the previous Super Robot Wars V, even using the same engine with little technical change save to game balance, mostly to make it a bit harder since many aspects of SRW V were unbalanced in favor of the player. As for new entries into the franchise, they include Buddy Complex, Mashin Hero Wataru, and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.

Mashin Hero Wataru is quite notable because its story structure was the foundation of the plot and the other series are modified to accommodate it to a considerable degree. It's a children's series that is rather obscure outside of China and Japan and is also responsible for a lot of the more mature content being greatly toned down compared to its preceding game. Nadia is a rather unusual title that is not in the mecha genre, but its story is modified to make it work with all the other series. Buddy Complex is a new series that is not out of place compared to most other series in the crossover and has a fair amount of influence on the plot as well.

Given the focus on Mashin Hero Wataru, the overall story has a very fantasy world feel compared to the sci-fi heavy setting most other SRW games are set in. Your original protagonist also uses a form of magic (albeit based in part on a form of technology) machine, as do many other characters in the setting, and many of the series listed above have their fantasy elements played up more than the science fiction. While a heavy focus on technology remains, it goes against the usual story setting tropes most of the SRW games tend to favor.

The gameplay features few changes from SRW V in terms of overall engine modifications, so players of that will especially adapt to SRW X with little trouble. The only notable change is an in-game toggle on the game difficulty, including a Super Hard mode for those who want a challenge.

Controls are also nigh identical and are easily adaptable based on an in-game settings menu, and as I played this on a handheld Switch, I found them easy to learn and adapt to aside from a few hand cramps after long play sessions.

Graphics reuse a lot of assets from previous games, which is somewhat noticeable compared to the new material, but not nearly as bad as in SRW V. Otherwise, this is nigh identical to the PS4 version of this game and looks stunning on the Switch at a smooth 60 frames per second. Sound effects remain true to the series they hail from. The musical score remains an excellent tribute to the crossover source material, many of which receive good instrumental versions of the vocal songs they are based on.

Stability is also excellent, with quick game loading and all issues noted with the PS4 version have been fixed. This port also has the possibility of purchasing (from the Southeast Asian Switch store) DLC that essentially offers extra money and other bonuses that can be skipped if the player so chooses without missing anything of story value. The translation for the English version has a few minor errors but otherwise it is understandable and easy to follow as well.

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

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - -8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 49%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 5/10
Sexual Content - 3/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10 (+6 for themes extolling the virtues of hope and prayer and the unequivocal condemnation of defiling the realm of the supernatural)

Morally, this title has some red flags.

Violence is around the same basic standard as most SRW games, where it's RPG-style violence devoid of blood and gore. Your playable characters have a noted aversion to killing in cold blood and will only fight when it's obvious the enemy cannot be made to stand down. While some enemy forces are not above committing war crimes, your forces make a point to avoid them and several missions are even devoted to protecting innocent people from the enemy. Enemies range from human beings in various machines and monsters and aliens of different sorts, some sentient, some who are not, with the human beings noted as having the ability to escape their machines upon defeat unless for plot reasons they are stated to meet their demise. There is a very minor and very brief scene where someone's face appears with some blood to show they are dying, but the game is otherwise free of any blood and gore.

Language is surprisingly tame. Aside from a fair amount of PG level profanity, anything more severe (like b***ard) is very rare to the point it can usually be counted on one hand depending on player route choices. There is some occasional sexual innuendo that is in the realm of suggestive flirting, mostly from one of the villains, though even this is fairly tame compared to source media it was derived from. There are at least two confirmed gay/bisexual characters, though their dialogue is quite tame and sparse in this regard, only enough to confirm what was necessary to their source characterizations and little more.

Sexual content is pretty low generally, with some somewhat sexy looking female pilot suits and one brief scene of barbie doll style nudity (that was greatly abridged and censored from its source, where it was longer and far more explicit). There is also one confirmed case of sex before marriage that is not condemned nor addressed as wrong in the plot backstory, though it is hinted the parties in question do intend to marry to rectify things, though their initial indiscretion (which resulted in a child the mother is carrying by endgame) still does not get commented on as wrong. Otherwise, there is not much else to complain about, with one other case of sex before marriage where the party who admits to it accepts rebuke for it and is ashamed of her immorality, and the story confirms she is more than penitent for this act.

There is a pronounced amount of magic and supernatural influences in the game setting, taking place mostly in a fantasy world where such is common. The overwhelming majority (either original to the game or borrowed from other media) is purely fictional, though there is confirmed use of necromancy by some of the villains. Some of the heroic characters are considered gods or otherwise have control over human souls do revive certain people as well, but their proper authority over such matters is firmly established. The use of such powers for evil is something they abhor and assist the other heroes in preventing the villains from abusing. Further, those who get a second chance at life are immediately provided choices to atone for whatever sins they did in their first life or commit more with their second, with the latter established as especially beyond the pale while the former is lauded as an honorable alternative.

Code Geass' titular power is loosely derived from an actual Irish/Gaelic source, though it is only used once in the plot for a righteous purpose, though it's origin is still worthy of note. Many beings do get referred to as gods, both heroic and villainous. In the case of the former, nigh all are mortal (albeit harder to permanently kill than the average human) and the term is used as an honor to denote their enhanced abilities compared to mortals, and it's by continuing to use their power to uphold peace and justice do they retain the respect accorded such titles.

Some villains deem themselves gods or are considered such by other characters since they have the power to destroy the physical laws that govern reality, though again this is generally a term used to describe their level of power, only other evil people genuinely worship them and their depraved acts are condemned in-universe. While some of these villains are brainwashed or otherwise forcibly conscripted into serving evil (and generally defect ASAP when freed), those who chose to be evil of their own will are especially singled out as worthy of condemnation.

Finally, while no specific religious or occult practices are referenced, at least one of the series included is Mashin Hero Wataru, which takes noted cues from Japanese and Chinese myth in terms of story lore for its fictional beings. Overall, the term "god" is used in-universe for any "higher dimensional being", or someone who can influence the supernatural world entirely on their own to the point they change the inherent physical structure and it's underlying stability. Mortal characters with supernatural powers are either the villains who are shown to be corrupted by such power or heroes who refrain from using such powers for evil means and are rewarded for not allowing such power to corrupt them.

In terms of ethics, this is a high point of the story. Your heroic cast either works to uphold the law themselves when there is no higher authority or resists corrupt authority figures who defile its intentions while working with authority figures who are genuinely law-abiding to sustain the causes of peace and justice. Another especially praiseworthy aspect of the ethical implications of the plot is an emphasis on the themes of hope and prayer, with a strikingly Christian-like theme that only through resisting despair and prayer for salvation are miracles possible, and that despair and falling prey to it is an evil to be avoided and defied at all costs.

As a game, Super Robot Wars X is a bit harder than other entries in the Switch family of SRW games, but it's still a solid title for the turn-based strategy mecha game fan. Morally, it has a strong focus on supernatural influences and some sexual content that can come off offensive, so I would not recommend this title to anyone who isn't at least an older teenager at the very least, preferably older.



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