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MARVELOUS's ASSAULT GUNNERS on the PS4 begins rather innocuously and unceremoniously. It has you in charge of three Mechs plus the one in which you ride, clearing out areas in what looks a bit like a futuristic underground car park. 

To complete each of the starter missions you have to reach what looks like a beacon and stand next to it and three or four others for a few seconds. While you are doing this some pathetic tanks and mini-mechs will annoy you but they are easily demolished especially if you have set your three underlings to Attack/Kill - they will also, wait, guard, follow you, all by using the Cross Buttons on your controller. Other actions are as you would expect, move by left stick, view by right stick etc etc nothing out of the ordinary.

You have to push your concentration to get past the opening missions because they are quite boring whether you have played this type of game before or not. It is only once you move out of the "car park" that the game takes on a different tone and splendour. The scenery changes are amazing, the colours bright, the terrain awesome and the enemy have learned from their forays in the underground to become formidable, in fact it is as if you are playing an entirely different game.

One thing that stands out spectacularly for me is the voice acting. Every time I play, without changing a single thing, the language alters. I have heard English, Japanese, and Spanish and it just suits the game perfectly, making it more fun than a regular third-person shooter would normally be.

  

I believe that you are supposed to create your team of four Mechs so it is possible I am still playing an early version as I have not had to create a Mech at all, I just began with one and met the other three ready and waiting to join in. This hasn't seemed to matter to the gameplay - the other three seem to do alright doing their own thing and they never seem to be destroyed, only my Mech takes damage or so it appears. There are times when I could do with a bit more support from my team but the AI appears to be that of three different people intent on having fun firing at anything that moves, or doesn't - though they never seem to blow up the stacks of barrels. Blowing the enemy apart often leaves bonuses and buffs, generally in geometric shapes in line-art format. Run through these and you will regain ammunition, armour etc just like pick-ups in other action combat games, only more unusual in design.

Is this a good game ? Well it isn't bad that's for sure. Is it different from other third-person shooters ? Not really. Is it fun ? Yes, after you have got past the beginning as already noted. Is it good value for money ? That is a personal preference question, you may as well ask something like is a PS4 VR system (at £399.00) good value for money ? It is if you play a lot of PS4 VR games but not if you don't. So the answer is personal preference. If you like Third-Person Shooters that are pretty pointless beyond you continually firing at wave after wave of upgrading enemy units then yes this is most definitely worth having and it's under £10.00 for the HD bundle. It should be noted that there are two editions available, one you will need to buy the DLC for and the other comes with the DLC

The ASSAULT GUNNERS HD EDITION EXTRA PACK, which is bundled with the ASSAULT GUNNERS HD EDITION COMPLETE SET, contains an additional 15 campaign missions that further expand the main campaign, three maps for the games inferno mode, a wide array of new parts to customise your mech and additional voice actors for the in-game navigator. 

Pricing:

*Prices may vary depending on region

  

Graphically it is good, the sounds are okay, actually they are also quite good but I am a bit au fait​ with game sounds so I often play with the sound down now as if it is turned up it goes in one ear and .. well it doesn't even go in one ear, it just bounces off into the ether to bother others that are in my vicinity. I should play with headphones on, but then that would mean hearing all the sounds constantly. 

There are times in the game when there is a lot of text onscreen. Sometimes this is in English and other times in Japanese. The game is a re-release of the Japanese 2012 PlayStation Vita game (digital only) which wasn't around on the Western market, not legally anyway. So this is the first time it has been released to the masses. Normally when something has been held back it is released with a huge fanfare and attention grabbing advertisements, but Marvelous have let this creep out almost unnoticed, relying on the internet press to boost it towards the aimed market. One may wonder why this was held back from the West as it isn't particularly (or at all) political and it certainly isn't something we haven't seen here before.

In its broadest sense you could argue that it's Manga meets Mech but it is no more violent than other games in this genre and it isn't full of big round eyed girls in skimpy sailor suits, mores the pity as Sailor Moon and her friends would soon make mincemeat of these mechanical walking junk piles. Seriously though this is a no-brainer game that you should always have 2 or 3 of  ready to play at a moments notice when you need to let off steam and you cannot punch walls or swear aloud because a) punching walls, especially in your own house is stupid, and b) because grandma is in the house.

So I suppose I should say what the game is about, although I think I did when I mentioned it was mindless violence by mechs against enemy mechs and enemy Boss mechs - I'm sure I said something similar above. Anyway, the planet you are on is Mars. Earth is having a major conflict, even more major than Brexit, and people are looking to flee to Mars from their war ravished homes on Earth. I am assuming (that's always dangerous to do) that space travel has advanced a long way from what it is today with journeys to Mars being a lot quicker than the roughly 6-12 months it takes now (2018).

Anyway my view on ASSAULT GUNNERS is that I like it as a time-killer when I need to let off steam (no I haven't got it on Steam, I have it on the PS4, but to be clear it is also available on Steam). For the price it is good value in comparison with other similar games, especially if you buy the Bonus Pack with the DLC included (and why wouldn't you?) and as it is from MARVELOUS you know it is going to be of good quality as they have a fast building reputation for publishing good, fun, quality, games.

  

On the internet from Marvelous:

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.

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.

DLC Pack

Available on launch day the Assault Gunners HD Edition Extra Pack will allow players to take their experience even further with:

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…

Read more here

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015