It is surprising how small the library of video games based around or featuring mechs has turned out to be. Considering how integral the longstanding genre has become to Japanese media, with it even reaching other audiences through movies like Pacific Rim and shows like Voltron: Legendary Defender, the difficulty found in naming at least five great games with the mechanical giants in them is unexpected. With this knowledge, in walks Project Nimbus: Code Mirai; a game that actively compares itself to works like Gundam and Macross online, and on the surface it has a lot of potential. For this reason, it is a shame to report that the game struggles with numerous noticeable problems.
In its most basic form Project Nimbus: Code Mirai’s plot is quite simple: within its world three different factions battle for ownership of a planet lightyears away from our own using, as expected, mechs (referred to in the game as Battle Frames) to wage war. It is a solid premise, but the execution of the story not only lets it down, but it runs the risk of making it completely alien to the audience. Details about the universe, factions and mechs are delivered through dialogue between characters in cutscenes, and these conversations are nigh impossible to follow. Genuine information about the games events are lost in in-world jargon, which is seemingly dropped into every line possible. On top of this, the game acts like the audience is already aware of what these fictional terms mean, when the truth is the opposite, and remembering what is going on in the plot becomes a struggle. This creates an immediate disconnect from the world and characters, and the fact that most of the dialogue in-game is delivered in a monotone, disinterested fashion by its voice actors makes the issue ten times worse.
With regards to Project Nimbus: Code Mirai’s gameplay, it has three levels of difficulty in its campaign and a separate survival mode, in which the player must survive swarms of enemies with increasing difficulty. One of the immediate aspects of the gameplay that appears appealing is the ability to fully manoeuvre the Battle Frames; you can move in all four directions using the joystick and can evade using basic movement and a dash function. On the Playstation 4, however, there is a striking issue with the controls: in order to move up and down, the Triangle and X buttons have to be used respectively, which means the player will be unable to use the right stick for the camera when moving this way.
Most enemies are small, requiring that the player get close and lock onto them, and this is made finicky by the controls. Enemies also tend to fly past the mech and due to the issue with the camera, there is a constant need to readjust the mech and lock on, just to get a chance of attacking. Though the Blade weapon somewhat helps with this, locking on is still required, meaning that everything in the surrounding area will likely be attacked before the enemy. On the topic of weapons, while they are fun to experiment with, cycling through them with the D pad feels odd, and it often requires stopping altogether to do.
Finally are the visuals which, while not terrible, feel unpolished compared to most modern games. The Battle Frames have an appealing sheen, but the backgrounds and textures have an obvious backseat when compared to the mechs. Most of the arenas in which you fight are tiny, comparable to the dull levels that plagued Zone of the Enders, and the game has a huge problem with framerate drops. It is a disappointing conclusion, but ultimately Project Nimbus has far too many flaws for it to reach the same level as its idols.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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