Breaking away from the other Super Robo Taisen games was definitely an odd choice, considering that with Super Robo Taisen: OG Saga Endless Frontier the series goes from a tactical RPG with a dog pile of various over-sized androids piloted by a very animated cast of characters, to a turn based RPG with a highly over-sexed cast of boobs that manage to stay charming in the face of blatant sexism. The decision to go to a turn based RPG means there is a new battle system as well, and it really is the star of the show, alongside a few guest characters from a few Namco-Bandai titles. Super Robo Taisen: OG Saga Endless Frontier definitely has the makings of a good RPG series, which is becoming more and more difficult these days with the ever growing DS library.
Endless Frontier tells the tale of one Haken Browning, a bounty hunter who roams the Frontier, a cluster of worlds connected via Cross Gates, portals that are used to keep the other worlds safe from outside intruders. Haken, along with his cyborg companion, Aschen, are off on a journey of discovery after finding a visitor from one of the other worlds in the ship they crash landed on twenty years ago. From there it's a whirlwind adventure through the Cross Gates to other worlds, accompanied by a few other companions. Those familiar with the Xenosaga series will recognize Kos-Mos, and for those in the import scene, will be familiar with Xaiomu and Reiji from Namco x Capcom, a PS2 strategy RPG not released in America. The story is a little bit slow going, considering that a majority of the dialog is spent discussing the size of the various female cast's breasts, but once it gets rolling you'll want to see it through to the end.
The big thing with Endless Frontier is the battle system. It is focused heavily on combination attacks and juggling your opponents. Each round your character is granted action points to use freely. Attacks, skills, and item uses will use the action points, and when it's spent, the round ends for that character. You'll spend most of those points with attacks, which have the ability to launch your enemies in to the air, and while they are airborne you can continue to hit them with new attacks, or with a tag-in styled attack from a party member not actively in the battle. It is actually quite possible to use your entire team on an enemy, and finish a round with a combo hit count being in the hundreds, while the damage counter soars even higher, though it does lead to a lot of clutter on the screen at any given time.
The combat isn't without its own flaws though. As you progress through the game it is expected that you would pick up on some nuances of combat, like timing and such. If you are not that type of gamer then expect to hit a wall, as some enemies will be able to form impenetrable defenses after being launched in the air and hitting the ground. Couple this with the fact that a number of enemies and bosses will regain health every turn, and you've got a difficulty level that does not want to play with someone who is new to RPGs. And considering the number of successive boss fights that happen in the game, expect to encounter a level of frustration rather early on. The game also has a nasty habit of forcing you to rely on items, and they don't come cheap, and they don't come often. And with a limit of only fifteen of one item at a time, it really adds to the level of difficulty.
Visually this game is a bit of a mixed bag. Outside of the battle this game could probably pass for a title from the SNES era. The over world map and dungeons are kind of drab, low quality, with tiny sprites that are hardly inspiring in the face of something like Chrono Trigger, where the world actually feels alive. In Endless Frontier it feels lifeless, and empty. But then the battles come up and it's a completely different game. The character sprites are huge, and are animated incredibly well. Considering how much effort of this game is around the sex appeal it's not surprising that these characters are animated, everywhere. Music is a decent affair, but overall nothing really stands out. And something that really came off as odd, the game is not localized for the voice acting, this game is Japanese, through and through, which is a confusing situation, considering that most titles from Atlus either contain just an English voice track, or a dual language option.
For all the fun this title promotes with its characters and story, I didn't always feel like I was the one having it. The adventure follows a very typical formula of story exposition, explore a dungeon, fight a boss or three, and then get another story exposition. The game continues this way throughout and causes the game to sort of drag around the middle. If it weren't for the fun of combat this game wouldn't quite have the score it is receiving, because really it is the saving grace for this game. Though again, the game's ability to cheat death by granting enemies a free ride against attacks for unsuccessful juggling also at times makes this game a lot less enjoyable than it could be.
Atlus and Namco-Bandai should be commended for trying something new with the tired turn based RPG combat system. It's a shame the rest of the game didn't receive such attention because it would have helped if the story were a little more refined instead of a boob-filled romp where characters spend more time talking about bust sizes than the issue at hand. The graphics look great when in battle, but otherwise seem uninspired. For such a polarizing experience it's hard to think that Super Robo Taisen: OG Saga Endless Frontier could be a good title. But when the combat is this fun in a game, it's hard to find flaws in the rest of the game, especially when you consider that combat is one area where the genre is seriously lacking some innovation. Endless Frontier is all about the fan-service, and if you're the type of person who needs a little T&A in their RPG, then you've come to the right place I suppose... if drawn girls are your sort of thing. For everyone else out there, this is an RPG that definitely deserves a shot, provided you've got the free time with all the titles out there on the DS.