(Yay first blog post ever? Yay first blog post ever!)
Okay, let's get one thing straight. Capcom of America's marketing is sketchy at best and Christian Svensson's been known to throw the wrong reasons as to why a game isn't brought over or why it has delays. One of those things is that Lost Planet spinoff E.X. Troopers was "too Japanese" in that the sound effect text was hardcoded into textures and the overall style and flair would actually turn people away. Another claim for the same game was that it wasn't an "official Lost Planet title" despite it being an incredibly obvious spinoff with Akrids all over the place.
Though I have to sympathize with him; it's not like he could easily tell people that the game didn't do well in Japan. It was a massive disappointment.
So I imported it anyways.
Now, It's not exactly that the game sucks, it's that it's been... under a lot of things.
For one, it was aimed towards a more casual market and was thus built to be a party shooter.
That said, it's not a bad game. However, it will only appeal to a rather minuscule niche crowd. Luckily for me, I enjoyed it!
E.X. Troopers follows the exploits of Bren Turner, possibly the most unnecessarily hypest teenager to ever exist. He and his mentor/future teacher Walter Stingray are-
Yes.You did read that correctly.
Walter motherfucking Stingray.
Is that not the most badass name you have ever heard or what? No? Well okay then.
Anyway, they initially take a shuttle flight from God knows where to EDN-3rd, where Bren will go to a prestigious NEVEC academy to learn how to be a great soldier, until their shuttle gets attacked by space pirates piloting VS's. (Vital Suits for those unfamiliar with the Lost Planet series)
Upon seeing other academy shuttles being attacked, Walter brings Bren to the docking bay where he gets to see an advanced, automated VS model. Walter decides Bren should get to ride it as a first lesson in VS piloting, and tells him to give the machine a name.
"...oh! I got it! Gingira!"
And here we get to put a concrete character trait for our main hero: Bren Turner likes shiny things.
See, he likes to say "giragira" (sparkling) and "kirakira" (glistening) a lot.
When he meets Tiki - an essential character who happens to be an EDN-3rd native and spiritual channeller - for the first time, he calls her "glistening girl." For the rest of the game until near the end. As in, he doesn't even bother to ask for her name.
BREN TURNER, MASTER OF ROMANCE.
The characters are your average stereotypical anime tropes and it shouldn't be a surprise here, though it's still kinda' fun to see how each of them acts.
Anyway, after getting inside Gingira, you get to finally play the game in what happens to be an incredibly short Panzer Dragoon-ish segment to realize that Gingira is incredibly overpowered. Considering you are taking down lower tech VS's, this actually makes sense. After destroying them all, however, Gingira is forced into EDN-3rd's atmosphere, and Bren and Walter escape crashing via an escape pod. Upon landing, they immediately face hostile Akrids (the "aliens" of the series, so to speak) and manage to escape death.
Reaching the academy, Bren makes a complete moron out of himself and a boy named Luan "Senpai-kun" Forest - his only friend and perhaps the only normal person in the game - guides him through the facilities and teaches him the ropes on how to be less of an idiot. It doesn't work too well, to say the least.
With the prologue, you get to understand the game's features.
You find out you cannot manually aim unless you're willing to have the camera reset every time you move, and the main means of chasing an enemy is by locking on. You cannot jump, similar to Monster Hunter, and you have jetpack mobility options like dashing and dodging. Your two main attacks are your main weapon and your sub weapon. Main weapons focus on hitting your target, while sub weapons have special effects for the most part, such as causing heavier elemental damage, AoE explosions and status effects. Yes, the game features elemental damage: Fire, Ice and Electric damage are given highs and lows à-la-Rock Paper Scissors in terms of damage (dis)advantages. You also have a melee attack which, in combination with your jetpack moves, has different effects and can make you land effectively stylish attack combinations along with your weapons. Both weapon types also have unlimited ammo so you only need to worry about reload times.
You can also stock T-ENG (Thermal Energy) to perform a super attack that has various effects depending on what you choose (when the remaining two are unlocked), as opposed to harmonizing - passive healing - like in other entries of the Lost Planet series.
You can also do a critical shot, which is done by firing your main weapon after a well-timed dodge. It does a hefty amount of damage for a single shot and it keeps you safe.
Once the prologue is over, you can access WIZ, a base-specific computerized robot maid who will allow you to listen to the game's music, watch its cutscenes, enter passwords, replay story missions and go inside the VR space.
The VR space is where the game is meant to shine: it is where you can do solo challenges, online co-op gameplay and versus matches using avatars (additional characters) that you unlock throughout the game. The only problem is that the online play is only crowded on the 3DS version.
The PS3's netplay is incredibly dead outside of the very few foreigner meetups.
Capcom's selection in consoles is honestly quite questionable and they have never commented as to why those two specific consoles were chosen. Oh well.
At least the online play is fun when it actually happens.
During the single-player campaign and VR missions, you can find materials used to upgrade your weapons. These upgrades are crucial for not sucking, for lack of a better term, as later on you will be facing off against waves of enemies that will just straight up give you an incredibly hard time even when using their weakness. Sometimes you will have to square off against buffed snow pirates who will absolutely destroy you unless you're using upgraded gear. You can also upgrade your damage resistance which greatly helps during EX missions, which are essentially crazy gauntlets that should be attempted with actual people and not the AI.
Clearing missions will give you Points, which are your currency for purchasing upgrades which can all be found in either the VR space, or every base's mech room where often times Gingira is held for maintenance. Considering the amount of missions you'll be doing in a short time, the grind only comes from materials and not from Points. However, clearing missions with certain conditions will unlock medals which are the currency for unlockable music and costumes. You will often find yourself repeating certain missions in order to get the most medals out of it and get that one bikini outfit for your favourite female characters, or just getting all the songs for completion's sake and the fact that the game actually features the entire soundtrack for you to listen and relax to. That's a good thing, since that OST is bangin'.
Eventually, you will reach more stages where you get to pilot Gingira. There are very few and the ground-based gameplay is so lame there that you wish it was expanded upon. Hell, you may even wish to use the underpowered VS's you fight since they seem to have an even bigger moveset than Gingira does. I was really disappointed, though I guess it's always fun to rapidly punch robots and aliens in their robot/alien faces.
With all that said and done, the game is so underwhelmingly short even with all the VR missions. It's a shame because it's meant to be funner with people, but the PS3 scene is dead. If you're lucky enough to own a Japanese 3DS, however, give this game a try and take the online play for a spin.
Though honestly, I truly believe that this game had so much wasted potential. As a PSN digital title that would cost maybe $20-30, I would say "Go ahead and get this game!" but even the lowest price of $50 for the Asian version on eBay is too much for me to fully recommend the game to anyone.
Still, when my Japanese friends do get on and when some folks from Siliconera decide to have a get-together, the game is a blast to play in both co-op and versus play.
Also you get a trophy for visiting the girls' bathroom five times.