Assault Suit Leynos (PlayStation 4) Second Opinion Review

By Gareth F 21.11.2017 2

Review for Assault Suit Leynos on PlayStation 4

In an industry seemingly obsessed with giving popular last generation titles a quick spit polish and a boot out of the door for another slice of that lucrative consumer dollar, Assault Suit Leynos (also fleetingly known as 'Target Earth') is a bit of an anomaly. First emerging over 27 years ago as a cartridge release for SEGA's Genesis/Mega Drive home console, it immediately stood out from its contemporaries of the time, courtesy of its well-developed story, a particularly unusual trait for a 2D side-scrolling shooter. Despite enjoying enough initial success on the Japanese market to spawn a string of follow ups, it was a franchise that never really fulfilled its mainstream potential due to a dwindling interest in the genre, thus the series concluded in 1999 with the original PlayStation title Assault Suits Valken II. With that said, the Assault Suit series has still managed to maintain a fairly low-key presence over the years, with a cult status that has ensured regular appearances on a wide variety of platforms. Rising Star Games has brought the title that started it all to the PS4 and PC, and has given it a fresh lick of laser proof paint.

The year is 2201 and humanity's colonisation of the universe has been an ongoing concern ever since technological advances had allowed for it, with the scrabble for dwindling resources combined with the devastating aftermath of a fourth world war acting as the catalyst to move onward. As the reach across the galaxy extends the sudden appearance of a hostile Cybernetic race known as the Chron, it disrupts this transitional stage as they quickly signal their intent on halting mankind's ambitious galactic sprawl dead in its tracks with an all-out attack.

It soon becomes apparent that the Chron are actually the survivors of an exploratory space expedition sent from Earth a hundred years prior that have slowly become embittered by a combination of cold isolation and feelings of abandonment. This re-ignited conflict of course provides the perfect excuse to deploy the Assault Suit defence systems, with the player taking control of Leynos, a huge twelve foot tall combat-ready mech capable of great damage in the hands of a skilled operator.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PlayStation 4

Assault Suit Leynos operates on a horizontally scrolling axis in a similar vein to aging coin-op classic Defender, and while it does regularly flit between both outer space and ground-based scenarios, it manages to provide a good variety of missions in the eight levels included. These range from playing the role of a protective escort to ground based allies, destroying a large attack fleet before they reach the base, and taking the fight into the heart of the enemy territory in a fruitless bid to put an end to the conflict (given that there are a number of follow up titles this 'fruitless' assumption isn't without merit).

Performance is graded at the end of each level and (alongside a levelling up system) allows access to a variety of shields or weaponry that can be assigned to one of six slots to give a very minor level of customisation. The weapons don't really have much of a wow factor, and feel fairly standard for a game of its age, with maybe just one or two guns that aren't entirely useless given the overall difficulty. Yes, it's fair to say that this can be quite punishing at times, and it does so for the most part without having to resort to the standard Bullet-Hell template, though, admittedly, it does stray into this territory during the last stages of the final boss battle, leaving only the barest minimum of wriggle room to conclude the mission.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PlayStation 4

Given that Assault Suit Leynos originally released in an era that pre-dates the now standard twin-stick controller setup, it employs a system that ties the 360-degree directional aim of the weaponry to the same controls that are used to move the protagonist about. There is an option to lock fire in the direction of current movement by holding down the left shoulder button for the required duration, which will continue until it's eventually released, but ultimately it's this control scheme that makes this such a tough challenge, as it proves to be particularly unwieldy when getting attacked from multiple angles at once.

This was an understandably necessary configuration back in the day, so Rising Star can't be judged too harshly for sticking to the original blueprint perhaps a bit too rigidly, but if you're going to go to the trouble of updating the visual and audio aspects of a game for a modern audience it seems a bit odd not to not do the same with the control scheme even if it's just an alternate option hidden away in the menu. Resogun is a prime example of a modern horizontal scroller shooter that gets the control setup right.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PlayStation 4

While the original Leynos had scripted text to convey the (relatively cheesy) dialog and drive the narrative forward, this remake has actually gone one step further and drafted in Japanese voice actors to make it feel a bit more contemporary (don't worry, there are English subtitles), and the developer has actually done a great job of re-recording the OST too. Graphically, this doesn't stray too far from its roots, and rather than opt for flashy visual flair, Rising Star has concentrated on delivering a title that sports an authentic vintage arcade aesthetic, with the modern trappings kept to the barest minimum.

In fact in some ways it feels a lot like the kind of obscure discovery a lengthy trawl through the M.A.M.E archives might turn up on a good day… which is definitely a good thing. The original SEGA version of the game is also included in the package, which is a nice touch for those hardcore enthusiasts hankering for the purest Leynos experience, but ultimately it's still a very niche title with its longevity largely dependent on an individual pilot's love of score-chasing.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Assault Suit Leynos is a solid, if somewhat unspectacular remix of an aging classic, which serves its target demographic with a faithful upgrade that pays respectful homage to the source material. Despite the slightly disappointing absence of an option implementing an updated twin-stick control scheme, it still remains a great piece of fan service for those old enough to have enjoyed it the first time around, while also providing a handy reference point for any curious shmup fans eager to trace back the lineage of the genre to one of its more obscure ascendants.

Developer

Dracue

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

something about the visuals that leaves me feeling cold.

the older SNES game had such amazing pixel art and animation that really felt right. this new one just looks so sterile

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Our member of the week

Insanoflex said:
the older SNES game had such amazing pixel art and animation that really felt right. this new one just looks so sterile
 

Assault Suits Valken ^^.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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