Release Date: March 20, 2018
Developer: Marvelous AQL
Genre: Robot Action, Shooter
Platforms: Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows
Assault Gunners HD Edition is a Japanese Robot Action game that was originally released for PS Vita in Japan in 2012. Now it’s released in HD for PC and PS4, but taking the reviews into account maybe it should have died with Vita. Not that killing the same robot fodder in 70 different ways can’t be fun… but it seems Marvelous AQL could have made a few extra adjustments on their port to PS4 and PC.
It’s the Year 208X, Mars is in the process of terraformation with an expected timeline of 300 years till completion. Back on Earth a great war erupts and millions of migrants look to Mars to flee their home. The Planet Remodelling Project is accelerated with the aid of ANTS, a completely robotic automated system. Migrants build large dome-shaped colonies in regions with now stable climates and rush to construct cities within them to sustain the flow of refugees. Time passes and the World Federation has set up military colonies on Deimos and Phobos, and the dwarf-planet Ceres is being moved to Mars’ orbit to help create an ocean for the planet. One day, communication is suddenly lost with the surface of Mars, a peace keeping force called DAT whom are currently training on Deimos are sent to investigate…
Originally released exclusively for Japan for the PlayStation Vita in 2012, Assault Gunners HD Edition puts you in control of the Peace Keeping Force known as DAT and along with your three allied Battle Mechs, you must attempt to save Earth’s Migrants and the Mars Colonies as a whole from the threat of the ANTS uprising. Who could be behind this threat against Mars, the new planned perfect utopia for humanity?
With 35 full-length battle-heavy missions, a horde gameplay mode known as “Inferno Mode” covering 5 varied maps and over 100 mech-customisation possibilities for yourself and your allies, there’s plenty of replayability and content present in the standalone version of Assault Gunners HD Edition.
Extra Pack DLC
Available on launch day the Assault Gunners HD Edition Extra Pack will allow players to take their experience even further with:
15 campaign missions set after the initial campaign
3 additional Inferno Mode maps bringing the total to 8
15 extra weapons allowing for more diverse offensive options
Over 30 additional mech-parts for even more customisation
4 fully voice acted Navigators by renowned Japanese VA”
— Gematsu: Sal Romano — Marvelous
Metacritic – Rating: 45 / 100
Pushsquare – By: Jacob Hall – Rating: 3 / 10
“Assault Gunners HD Edition feels completely out of place on PlayStation 4. Originally released on Vita in Japan, it never made its way over to the West until this HD remaster, and we can see why. The only real selling point is that you control mechs, and while this point alone might do enough to justify a few purchases in the East, it’s unlikely to make an impact here.
In its very makeup, it’s clear that Assault Gunners HD Edition was made with the commuter in mind. You don’t need to put any thought into the game whatsoever, it just plonks you into a series of missions, briefly prefaced by a generic text scroll of tedious narrative, and assembles desolate levels in which you shoot away at carbon copies of the same enemy over and over again.”
Video Chums – By: A.J. Maciejewski – Rating: 5.8 / 10
“As you work through the 35 campaign missions, you’ll regularly need to head down to the hangar where you can customize your fleet of four mechs. There’s an impressive amount of options with a variety of body and leg types such as bipods, tetrapods, tanks, and hover. On top of these basic parts, you can also swap your four weapons between an array of close-range weapons, assault rifles, shotguns, laser rifles, plasma guns, plasma rifles, submachine guns, pulse rifles, pulse vulcans, cannons, missile launchers, vertical launching systems, standard vulcans, and grenade launchers. Phew, that’s a lot of weapon types! There are also loads of expansion modules that provide boosts. Finally, you’ll increase your pilot level as you play as well as gather development points that you can use to enhance and purchase parts. Needless to say, the vast assortment of customization options makes optimizing your team a very rewarding endeavor.”
Playstation Lifestyle – By: Dylan Bishop – Rating: 4 / 10
“I even played missions on the hardest difficulty, searching for some sort of hook or enjoyment to Assault Gunners aside from rote combat repetition. “Maybe the game’s charm lies in its customization? It’s bullet-sponge difficulty? The wonky controls? The short, incoherent Japanese cutscenes without subtitles?!” Sadly, no charm or hook exists.
I say “sadly” because it’s clear where Assault Gunners could shine, if given more polish. If extra mechanics and gameplay deviations were introduced, the combat would be enjoyable. If the story had an extra layer or two, it would be the perfect backdrop to its gameplay. If the progression system mattered aside from inflating arbitrary numbers, it would give incentive to push through more missions. Yet all areas falter, so the entire experience falters.
If you check the PlayStation Store listing for the original Vita version of Assault Gunners: HD Edition, it promises “real robot battles realized by simple controls.” I’d argue that the developers went overboard in this concept of simplicity. Not only are the controls simple, but the adventure itself lacks depth. Perhaps the title was more impressive in its Vita heyday. In 2018, though, it feels absolutely barren next to the PlayStation 4’s strong first-party, third-party, and indie lineups. I don’t want to slam Assault Gunners too much, as I’m sure a lot of time and love went into its creation, and the game may certainly be someone’s jam. Yet this is just one mecha-anime dream I want no part in.”