Assault Gunners HD Edition (PC) Review

By Kevin Tsai 22.12.2018

Review for Assault Gunners HD Edition on PC

Giant mechs and video games are a match made in heaven. Inspired by Japanese manga and anime, many attempts have been made to bring the fantasy of driving a giant robot into battle to life, or, more accurately, in videogame form. In some ways, however, Assault Gunners HD (previously reviewed on PS4 and Switch) is somewhat of an odd release in 2018, being a PC port of a Japanese-only, and very simple, PS Vita title, initially released in 2012. Cubed3 takes one more look at it...

Assault Gunners HD's story line is as simple as it gets. As part of a peacekeeping military force known as DAT, you are tasked with fighting a newly arisen hostile group of AI terraforming bots known as ANTs. This information is mostly told to the player through a lazily scrolling text that crawls against an animated backdrop prior to each level. There aren't many surprises in the plot, and it ultimately doesn't matter much as soon as the explosions begin and the bullets start flying. The story line in Assault Gunners HD is as bare bones as it can get, and the excuse of using text crawls to move the levels along feel almost like an afterthought; an obligation more than anything else.

Piloting a mech in here is simple enough, albeit a bit clunky and slow. The very act of turning to face an enemy feels like a slow, herculean effort, and this is likely intentional to give a sense of weight to the mech itself. Despite this being a PC release, it's almost unplayable with a keyboard and mouse, due a lack of options and unmatched UI elements. An Xbox controller fared much better, but the UI's strange shapes and position are likely a left over artefact from the game's handheld days.

Screenshot for Assault Gunners HD Edition on PC

Each mech can use a primary as well as a shoulder mounted weapon, and a hilariously ineffective melee attack. An interesting mechanic is the dash ability, which also confers a short hover by using the mech's rocket propulsion. However, utilising this ability consumes the mech's shield, forcing the player to choose between faster speed versus tougher armour. This also has light squad command elements, with three other pilots joining you in their own mechs; a basic system that allows the player to dictate whether or not the group should attack, hold position, or defend an area... but the friendly AI isn't perfect.

It's not uncommon to see them become stuck on an environmental feature, but for the most part they do as they are told. As to be expected, a vast array of customisations is available for your mechs, such as new weapons, armour, and colour schemes. Acquiring these can be somewhat of a pain, as their upgrade components must be found within the levels, and precious development points must be spent to research them, leaving the mechs to feel boring and weak in the first few levels before upgrades are applied.

Screenshot for Assault Gunners HD Edition on PC

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with Assault Gunners HD is that the moment to moment combat is mind numbingly dull, mostly due to the brain dead enemies that swarm the screen in huge
numbers. Canonically speaking, these are terraforming robots, so it's not surprising that they so simplistic in nature, but this does not translate to enjoyable or satisfying gameplay. Enemies swarm the player in vast numbers, and their danger is due to the sheer size of their population versus any sort of clever or tactical manoeuvring.

Fighting the enemy boils down to awkwardly circle-strafing around to avoid ranged weapons and holding down the trigger until the threat is eliminated. Objectives aren't very surprising either, as you are either expected to clear an area of enemies, hold a position for a few seconds, or walk from point A to point B. In addition to the short story campaign, there is also an endless horde mode, which ramps up the difficulty slowly until one succumbs to literally hundreds of mindless robot attacks.

Screenshot for Assault Gunners HD Edition on PC

Graphically speaking, the mechs are designed with a pleasing, retro and boxy appearance, but this is hard to notice as they plod around uninspired, flat environments. There were many instances in which a straggler enemy needed to be hunted down to complete an objective, which led to retracing over the entire level in a slow, clunky robot across desolate and plain landscapes. Since the robot can't boost for more than a couple seconds, these sections are an absolute painful chore to complete.

Sound effects get the job done, although seem muted at times, and the friendly AI mechs often let out short Japanese quips over comms (with no subtitle option), but the music is painfully repetitive. Thankfully, the dozen levels or so are easily completed within just a few hours, just when the repetition becomes unbearable. Assault Gunners HD feels like a port of a simple mobile game, and in many ways, it is. A lack of polish in porting this game to the PC, and it's short length and dull combat makes it barely average, especially when compared to other mech games on the market.

Screenshot for Assault Gunners HD Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Assault Gunners HD is a port of an, almost decade-old, forgettable mobile game which started its life on the PS Vita... and it shows. There's literally no reason to try it out, unless really, really, really into mechs.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

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   


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