Wartech: Senko No Ronde (developed by G.Rev, localized by Ubisoft) holds a dear place in my stash. It's a game I've bought and rebought about four times, only finally to admit my undying love for it's unique blend of shmup and fighting game. If you like quirky, and you like cheap (I'm talking Used for under ten bucks at GameStop), then read on, programs.
It'll be a good time.
Wartech was an impulse buy from the moment I saw it. Sitting sadly at the bottom of the shelf next to most of the wrestling titles and Wolfenstien, Wartech caught my eye with it's extremely Japanese sounding name. Being a complete sucker for most things Japanese I picked it up and checked the back for the features. What I saw looked like a pretty cheap attempt at a funky fighting game. I'd been down this road before, I'd seen where it leads but I gave the price tag a gander and at seven dollars I was ready to give the strange little game a shot.
When I got home it struck me that I'd struck gold. The game was immediately reminiscent of one of my favorite Dreamcast titles Psychic Force 2012, a bad ass quirky fighting game. It was familiar ground, zipping around my enemy as a souped up something or other, laying down huge fields of fire or devastating melee attacks. Awesome. Wartech's got a selection of characters with abilities that feel vastly unique among them. There's very little repetition of ideas among the movesets and for a fighting game that's making par and then some. The controls are responsive, the game play is exciting and frantic thanks to the dash-heavy strategies and critical BOSS mode activations. It's really worth holding onto for the game play alone.
Wartech has a crappy story. I couldn't tell you what it was if you had a gun to my Xbox. The campaign is, thankfully, unique for each character...but it resembles the also worth playing Castle Shikigami series in it's hard-to-follow-ness. Most of the meat of discussion takes place during battle while you're trying to kick ass. Hard to read subtitles while you're fighting, so that doesn't help the case. Ultimately the content boils down to short campaigns that end with a boss stage and a short visual novel segment. For the price of admission when it came out that was a no-go for a lot of gamers but now...no reason not to try it. Costs less than a movie ticket.
The art of Wartech is clean, very "anime sterile" with thin lines and broad colors but very fitting and cohesive, and I believe it meets the designers goal for the game. It doesn't look like most games and that's a plus for Wartech: it stands out. Maybe not as a groundbreaking example of AAA graphics but it keeps true to itself, and establishes an easy on the eyes world where beautiful, androgynous teenagers can whoop on each other in flying mechs. Each mech and pilot have a choice of color (which affects your stats as well!), further adding to the fashionable decisions that can be made. The music is likewise easy on the ears, soothing ambient and peaceful trance serenade you during the game. It's not hyper real next gen...but it's not bad either.
Wartech: Senko No Ronde is a budget buy, imported by Ubisoft and sitting at your local game store on the bottom shelf, waiting to be picked up. If you like fighting games, and you're looking for something a little fresh, try Wartech on for size. I for one, will ALWAYS be down to play.