Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Macross Ultimate Frontier Review

Some of you are probably wondering what I've been up to. After all, it's been nearly a month since I reviewed Arkham Asylum, and all I've mentioned since then was a F.E.A.R. 2 micro campaign that took me something like two hours to finish. The short answer is work, with some Fallout 3 on the side.

The long answer, which will give us our review, is Macross Ultimate Frontier.

Macross Ultimate Frontier is the sequel to last year's Macross Ace Frontier, which I reviewed just over a year ago. A lot of what I wrote about the gameplay still applies here. You still take your pilot, grab one of the games mecha, then run or fly around shooting other enemy mecha. The graphics and gameplay have been a little more finely tuned, though, so this feels less like Macross tacked onto a Gundam game and more like a genuine Macross game.

But those aren't the only improvements. In fact, most of the complaints about MAF have been addressed. The Macross Frontier campaign extends the whole way to the end of the series. In fact, the original Macross show does too, ending with Kamjin's assault on on the SDF-1 rather than the final battle of Space War One. Macross Zero is given a campaign, as well as Macross Dynamite 7 and the Macross Movie "Do You Remember Love". The Extra campaign still has the over-the-top waves of enemies missions, but it also includes missions and units from non-canon Macross II show and the canon Macross VF-X2 PlayStation game.

The number of playable units has also greatly increased, from 57 to 102. All of the units from the the canon Macross animes are present now, including the odd exclusions from Macross 7. That's more of an increase than it seems, since units with FAST, Armored or Super packs are no longer separate units. On the Player or Partner tab at the hanger, you can choose what optional equipment to install, if any. With the default selection of "Type B" for any equipment, your weapons and special attack will change, and you'll get a second health bar. When that bar is depleted, you'll lose your optional parts. You may also chose to dump them manually.

The tweaks and additions sever to make Macross Ultimate Frontier the best Macross game in the franchise's 27 year history. I can see some room for improvement, though at this point I might just be being nitpicky. Basically, despite the additions, we're still missing a few canon and plenty of non-canon Macross units, like the VF-3000 Crusader and the VF-14 Vampire and pretty much every unit from Macross II that isn't a Gilgamesh or the VF-2SS. And the handful of Extra missions from Macross II and Macross VF-X2 feel like a tease. What I'd really like to see in the next one are actual campaigns for Macross II, Macross M3, and Macross VF-X2 that would include all the missing mecha from those games and series. In the Extra campaign, throw in some missions for the Stealth Wing Experiment, and toss in the SW-XA1 and SW-XAII. And with new movies coming out for Macross Frontier, either addition Frontier missions or a new campaign with new missions, mecha, and optional parts like the Tornado Pack from the movies.

In the meantime, every Macross fan needs to get a PSP, and get Macross Ultimate Frontier.

Final Score: A


Anonymous said...

I have macross ace frontier and thought it was pretty good it was fun while it lasted, is it worth it to buy macross ultimate frontier or should i go with say gundam battle universe witch i have none of the series but i do have gundam vs gundam. Just wanted your opinion

Mike said...

Macross Ultimate Frontier has a ton of the stuff MAF was missing, but in a lot of ways it's a lot of the same. Gundam Battle Universe is the best Gundam game ever. It's a little slower than Gundam Vs. Gundam, but also a little less arcadey, and with WAY more Mobile Suits.