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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Noise (Marigul)
Genre: Action RPG
Players: 1-2 (offline and online)
Release Date: March 19, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written by: Noel Del Pilar

Nintendo has created dozens of franchises within the videogame industry. Most would think of Mario, Zelda, Metriod, or even Pokemon when asked a questions about Nintendo. But then there are a few franchises that go overlooked, namely Star Fox, Eathbound, and even Custom Robo. Custom Robo got its start over in Japan, where Nintendo released two titles for the Nintendo 64. It wasn't until the release of the Gamecube and Custom Robo, that American gamers got a taste of this intense robot-on-robot action. The game blended a in-depth storyline with vivid battle sequences and excellent multiplayer capabilities. Though this title is no Mario, it sold several hundred thousands, which resulted and a looming sequel. With the dawn of a new generation, American gamers are getting their sequel, but this time on the Nintendo DS, offering up online play. Does this title relives the great action of the previous title? Read on and find out.

The storyline within Custom Robo Arena take splaces several years after the original title on the Nintendo Gamecube. As time passed, custom robos became the norm within civilizations around the world, to the point that students would hold tournaments at school. The main object of this title is to become champion through winning various tournaments at different locations. You are a member of Team Numero Uno, which includes members Liv and Dennis. As you progress through the game, winning tournament after tournament, new plots and mysteries will unveil themselves, increasing the action and the intensity of the battles.

The gameplay mechanics of the original Custom Robo titles are present within this DS adventure. Not as a shock to me, Arena shares a lot of similarities to Pokemon series, especially Pokemon Diamond. The difference between the two franchises is that you are basically exploring the lands looking for your next battles and/or people to talk to. Another feature to the gameplay is a monitor system that will force you to either return home, go to dinner, go to sleep, etc. after a couple of battles. A downside to the gameplay is that once you complete a partiular area, you don't get proper instructions on how to get to the enxt location, thus requiring you to figure it out on your own.

The main idea behind Custom Robo Arena, the same as the previous installments, is robot customization. You can virtually customized every part of your robot from the legs, the body, weaponry, etc. A new feature to the mix is the ability to clean-up your robot after it becomes dirty due to various battles. For those who want to bypass the story mode, they can head over to the online mode. But if you are looking to acquire new parts and weapons, the story mde is a must.

The controls within Arena are simple and allow for special techniques to be pulled of with the greatest of ease. Before you enter battle, your opponent is shown in front of a backdrop, wich you can purchase in the store. The backdrops range from being on the beach with a bikini girl (I swear, I am not kidding), with a dinosaur, in the city, etc. Upon fighting your opponent, you character is shot out of a tube and depending on how you cube lands, determines whether you can intantly attack or have to wait a few seconds. Once the battles begin, it's all about wipping out your opponents hp, which starts at 1,000hp. The various robots can also use a new feature, known as "soulboost". When using this ability, your robot turns to a gold-looking color and get a boost of power for a short time. Like aother abilities, you will acquire this one within story mode.

The graphics during exploration is primarily 2D, similar to the various Pokemon rpg's on the GBA and DS. Just like in Yu-Gi-Oh GX: Spirit Caller, the maps are just plain looking, not offering up much detail or action. The same is the case when you enter houses and various buildings, which is more of a hender than a help. When it comes to the battles though, its all 3D and highly intense. The characters controlling the robots are in classic anime-style, but the landscapes and robots themselves are inriched with detail. There are a few spots and angels that give off a blurry affect, but overall, its a great visual experience.

The audio within Arena would be considered so-so. The music isn't that impressive, let alone memorable, but on the good side, it never really gets annoying at all. Plain and simple, the music fits the action and that's it. There's no voiceover work at all, as information is delivered via texxt promps. The sound effects are nicely done and sound very realistic, especially coming out of the Nintendo Ds speakers. Nothing to really complain about, but there's nothing really to gloat about.

Custom Robo Arena does not last really long has the previous Gamecube installments but offers enough play time and a story that gets more and more interesting has you progress throughout the game. While the story mode is good, itís not nearly good enough to go and replay it too much. Once you finish it, you may not want to go back and do it all over again. Specially, doing the repetitive shore of waking up, saying hi to your parents then go back for dinner and have a family reunion and talk about stuff and then see again the repetitive dialogue over and over again. Of course, that doesnít mean once you finish it you must sell it. Because Custom Robo Arena offers for the first time in the franchise online play with friend codes or random people online! You will be able to challenge people all over the world with your specially customized robot and see if youíre robot is truly the best out there. What disappoints is that you only 2 players can play online. Itís still great to see what strategies other people do, how they customize their robot and even see their background because maybe itís new for you. There is not much problems with lag during online play either, which is good because it always annoys in online games.

Overall, Custom Robo Arena is another great addition to the Custom Robo franchise, keeping the same style of gameplay but adding a few things here and there. The series has still not reached a game thatís completely amazing but there is definitely potential in it. If you like robots and would like to customize robots and battle opponents online, this is definitely the game you must pick up. If you are afraid of the story mode, then try at least renting it and you will see if you can like it, strong enough to play through it or simply hate it. But is a game that itís still worth at least trying it out.


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