|A little bit Final Fantasy
Tactics, and a little bit Macross, Vanguard Bandits looks to inject a little
change into the
strategy/RPG, anime style.
While Square's Front Mission series has been working the ""mecha strategy""
five games now, they haven't
really gone for a distinctive anime look.
Vanguard Bandits, on the
other hand, is all about the anime look. As the young hero Bastion, you
and your friends
will guide your mechs (called
ATAC here), throughout the continent of Cretia. A huge cival war among
kingdoms on Cretia broke
out years ago, and the ATAC finally brought the wars to close. Unfortunately,
repeats itself and Bastion
finds himself in the middle of the second continent-wide wars, but what
his role in it actually
is remains to be seen.
While Vanguard Bandits looks
and feels a little like Final Fantasy Tactics (which is a good thing),
the camera switches
to a closer, 3D perspective,
which gives you a sense of intensity and ""being there"" action. The battle
be familiar if you have
played Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts, using a turn-based, top-down
enabling you to move your
characters strategize, and attack. Each battle is made up of quick battles,
and the menus
aren't terribly complex,
which is quite nice for casual gamers and newbies.
Vanguard Bandits sports a
relatively simple color scheme, but the mechas are phenomenally ornate
and detailed, in
traditional Japanese style.
The game's environments offer varying levels of terrain, enabling 3D movement
in just about
any area you want. The areas
are a mix of countrysides and towns.
Otherwise, the preview build
that Working Designs handed to us was solid, but still sported a slightly
during the intro to battle
sequences, and was a bit sparse in the way of details when the mechs fought.
There's no doubt
that games like Final Fantasy
Tactics and Vandal Hearts were strong influences, as their interface and
battle styles are
duplicated here in pretty
much the same way (albeit completely in 3D).
If Working Designs can add
a little more detail into the graphics and hammer out a consistent frame
rate, Vanguard Bandits
could be interesting. Here
we are constantly bombarded with questions as to when the next Final Fantasy
coming, and since Sony and
Square have essentially said there won't be another one, perhaps Vanguard
Bandits can fill
that much-needed void.