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SRW Gaiden: The Lord of Elemental Commentary
Honestly, they stretched Z way too damn long. I would have been perfectly fine with Z1 - Z2 - Z3 as polished, compact sequential entries. I can't blame fans for getting jaded with Z after Z 2.1.

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Scenario 53: The Nature of Darkness (Accept Destiny Route)

This is a Tetsujin-28 stage where our crew will be fighting nearby a quasi black hole. Fortunately. I usually skip the first turn to force the enemy to come towards me. It's such a waste of time going towards them on the first turn. It's the second "challenging" stage of Z3.1 so far. After slaughtering Guura and his cronies, the Space Devil shows up. We have to simultaneously get rid of his 3 avatars to finish the stage. His status-effect attacks can be annoying but it's nothing game breaking. The guy reminds me of Zhuul from Godmars. I'm sad God Sigma and Baldios were cut out from Z3.

It's actually kind of strange how much they've diluted the presence of Banpresto originals in Z3.1.. or post Z-1 for that matter.

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Scenario 54: The Show Must Go On (Accept Destiny Route)

The spotlight is on Big O this time. Reminds me of the Adult Swim days long time ago. This stage was a breeze. We're literally almost at the end now. Big O's final attack animation seems underwhelming. Banpresto really got lazy for some reason with Z3. If Heero lacked Soul, I wouldn't even use him. Lacking an ALL attack hurts his presence on my playthrough. He got overshadowed hard. Now that I think about it, almost all the main characters except him have ALL attacks. Wtf?

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(09-03-2018, 07:11 AM)Constraint Wrote: Banpresto really got lazy for some reason with Z3. 

Lacking an ALL attack hurts his presence on my playthrough. He got overshadowed hard. Now that I think about it, almost all the main characters except him have ALL attacks. Wtf?

It's the problem with transitioning from SD to HD; everything requires more work and time, so there are the dual pitfalls of an ever expanding, fragmented workforce with wildly varied levels of competence and experience (so in the same game there are animations as bad as the FMP ones and as good as the Z Gundam/Nu Gundam/Tengen Toppa ones) and of even more serious time constraints than back then.

Heero's is kind of another waverider situation.
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Yeah, these games aren't getting any cheaper to make either. Despite them reusing assets (always a thing in SRW), transitioning to higher graphics is pretty expensive, especially factoring the licensing factor for these shows in SRW. Music too. It was also the 1st license SRW game on PS3 so it was harder to transition too. OG games have a different development team along with bigger budget because of no licensing costs.

You have good animators with certain units, and bad ones too.

Its the 1st part in a 2 part game. Z2 part 1 had a number of units missing their final attack which returned in part 2. Same thing applies here for Z3 part 1.
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It's all good. Setsuko will more than make up for it in Z3.2 (I didn't even know Apollo joins you in Tengoku-hen.)

Scenario 55: Fly, Towards Space

Tessa finally joins us with her OP submarine. It's some sort of warm up stage as we go up against Kan Yu, Gauron, Gates and Beck - secondary villains. There we go. The TdD now has flight capability. Let the massacre begin. (I thought we had already killed Gauron and Gates?)

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Well... there is a side story game called Z3 Rengoku-hen. It sets up for Z3 part 2 as well as tell you what happened to the Z1 and Z2 original protagonists.

Its about a dozen stages IIRC. And completing it gives you some bonuses that carry over to Z3 part 2.
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I'm probably not going to play Rengoku-hen. 
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Scenario 56: The Truth About Char Aznable

Showdown with the Neo Zeon baddies. Yeah.. I'm tempted to fully upgrade the TdD. It has insane range. The only challenge is Char himself. Motherfucker hits hard but not as hard as Gunbuster! I haven't been inside the D-Trader shop in like the past 20 stages so I'm scared to go in it due to the stacked AG ace conversations awaiting my entrance. Almost.. at the end. I'm so glad the dimensional beasts lack an appearance in Z3.(?) I'm honestly confused as to why the Genion GAI doesn't have at least one epic attack to use. I know it's going to get one but it's so fucking late.

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Rengoku-Hen is quite short, probably take about 2 hours to beat. But its your choice, it helps explain some of the original plot a little better.

In Z3 part 2, regular Genion gets 1 more attack too.
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Glad to hear he gets another attack. 

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Scenario 57: Beyond the Time

It's Full Frontal's turn to get his ass kicked - which he himself expedites by coming towards us full force. Nevermind. Some of the antispirals show up which prompts FF to take a step back. Only Chirico has the balls to get out of his cockpit and shoot the Sinanju point-blank. Three more stages remaining..

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Scenario 58: Quarrelling Twins

Fuck.. that's a lot of grunts. We're facing Gadlight this time. We finally get to see Gadlight without his characteristic blush. We see Genion GAI's final attack. I mean.. it's not lame but it's certainly not overwhelming. Besides his ridiculous MAP attack, Gadlight isn't that hard. I didn't bother with the space invaders. If you think about it.. Gadlight is sort of a whiny little bitch.

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Scenario 59: Galactic Showdown

Damn, there are a whole lot of grunts. Damn. It's kind of annoying at first because you have to wait for them to move all at once. Seriously though.. the TdD. Thank goodness the Antispiral units move on the second turn. It would have been annoying had they stationed themselves permanently. Noriko mentions that the amount of enemies we're facing is more than what she went through in her final battle. Pfft. Okay. So modest. If anything, my favorite part about SRW are the pre-battle dialogue between the main characters/villains interacting with each other - which we don't get in the penultimate stage lol.

Fuck.. there are so many of them. I would say this is the only map where MAP attacks are more than welcome and where Heero can shine but for a brief moment. The AS has something against Shin Getter. Fuck that was unnecessarily long and boring.

Scenario 60: All the Lights in the Heavens are Stars

This is it. The final round. After 50 hours of gameplay, I'm almost there. Fuuuuuuuuck, a lot of grunts again. What is it with these Anti Spiral grunts targeting Shin Getter and Trider?
Lots of dialogue between our heroes and Anti-Spiral. Nevermind.. there's an epilogue stage.

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Hibiki obviously has the most kills due to his mobility and ALL attack spams.
Alto is up there because of his luck seishin and ALL spams.
Noriko despite joining late would obviously have toppled both Hibiki and Alto otherwise. Ridiculous range and crazy strong. She can solo entire maps with en regen.

Epilogue

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Vomiting demon crab weirdo sphere holder. 

The end. Would have been funny if it was the Neo Granzon instead of the green planet during the end. I actually expected an enemy and not a planet. Honestly.. Jigoku-hen was probably the worst out of the Z series so far. It had its moments but I wouldn't say it's worth playing fifty hours for. But that's on me. I'm still looking forward to Tengoku-hen. I will take a break before tackling 3.2.
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I found the last stretch of the game better than Z2-1's or Z2-2's; the mixed climaxes of the Defy Destiny route weren't bad, the subverted Char's Counterattack was pretty good and rich with interesting pre-battle conversations and battle quotes and the Dimensional Labyrinth scene quite memorable.

The whole Gadlight-Antispiral-Shiku final boss situation is quite bizzarre, though; Gadlight has the most final boss worthy skills, like Triple Movement, is sort of challenging on hard and his battle is the climax of the game plot and Hibiki's one, Antispiral is the last boss that must be beaten to complete the game and is the greatest threat plotwise and Shiku, while being the last boss you meet, is an appetizer that retreats after some turns.

Gadlight gets some extended backstory in one of the DLC stages, with his defence of Gemini, but ultimately he is sort of pathetic; he starts as a fallen hero that wasn't able to protect his planet and was enslaved by his enemies, but then ends up as one of the pettiest antagonists of the series; The Edel was a monster but a visionary one, Asakim a misterious backstabber with nebulous goals, Gaioh and Uther are the umpteenths enablers of the patented Bian Zoldark plan and even Aim Liard had the reasonable goal of getting more power, while Gadlight ends up deciding to inflict the same atrocity inflicted on his race to another victim of his own enemies because he is too impotent to rebel against them and envious of what he think is a preferential treatement to the new victims (even though the Eternity Flat is arguably worse). In a way, he is more repugnant that both The Edel and Aim Liard.

I see you did ace Noriko... that Ace Bonus is quite hilarious, isn' it? Something that would be extremely good no matter the mech given to one that is already overwhelming.

Want a short exposition of Rengoku-hen?

Spoiler Show
Setsuko, Crow and Land are on the green planet, and have been since the start of Z3. Their memories have not been tampered with, and they are fighting with various resistance groups against the enemies behind Gadlight, Sidereal, who have conquered that Earth already.

They all start in a mook machine, Setsuko and Crowe in an Axion produced one and Land in a pseudo Walker Machine produced on earth and coopted by Sidereal, and they get back their true machine during Rengoku, with Setsuko doing it in a serious way, Land stumbling upon rumors of a priestess of a leon idol (whose prayer is Gan!Gan!Ganleon!; guess who) and Crowe getting it sent from the blue earth by Traia (which was protected by the memory blocks thanks to her studies on dimensional power and one other thing), getting burdened with debt again.

They meet and are aided by Advent and his mooks, Code Blue/Red/White/Black, using Asclepius and Mass Produced Asclepius; they start dubious of him but soon start to trust him. There are various bits of foreshadowing; Advent being reticent about his power and his link with the Spheres, Asclepius transforming and using a rather strong looking, sun based attack during a moment of desperation (and there was already the subtle foreshadowing given by his naming: Asclepius was Apollo's son and his symbol is a cane with a serpent entwined).

They met with various members of Sidereal:
ALLIES
-Sardias Ax, a disertor
-Orion, an amnesiac, silent soldier attracted to Setsuko
-Gravia Argo, a researcher and yet another unwanted suitor to Crowe
ENEMIES
-Giltar Verone, a bumbling commanding officer, fought repeatedly
-Shiku, the Sphere Holder of the Silent Crab and post-game boss in Z1, who you have to beat
-Gadlight, chronologically just before his last battle in Z1;there you have to survive

Gravia gets revealed as the Sphere Holder of the Rancorous Scorpion, with Sardias as her commanding officer, and is the last boss; except, upon beating her, Orion reveals he was the true Sphere Holder, Barbiel the Needle, and Gravia was his puppet through the brainwashing, hatred-enhancing venom that is his power. She survives but loses her memories, and Land, Setsuko and Crowe retreat, the former two joining soon with the others in Z3-2, while the latter a bit later.


It has its moments but it is not that interesting or fun to play, and it does barely have exclusive content (animation wise, for example, it has only 3 attack you can't see elsewhere; the most powerful attacks of the three mook mech the protagonists use at the start).
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