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Matters of Import: E.X. Troopers Brings The Heat To 3DS

Posted by Kerry Brunskill

Capcom however, remains frosty

Capcom’s E.X. Troopers may not be the latest or biggest Japanese 3DS game around, but it’s certainly no less worthy of inclusion here than any other game we’ve previously covered on Matters of Import and — as this and its high-resolution PS3 port are the only E.X. Troopers games so far — it is sadly still the latest, greatest, and indeed only entry in the series.

“Only? Isn’t E.X. Troopers just a Lost Planet spin-off with cel-shading?” somebody probably said in a comments section somewhere at some point. It is a handy way of describing the game if you’re in a hurry, but to leave it there would be a huge disservice to the thought and effort that’s gone into creating this lively and entertaining title.

That difference, as if anyone needed any help guessing, is anime.

Most other games treat the term as nothing more than a simple visual filter – make it look a bit like Jet Set Radio and the job’s done. But E.X. Troopers does much more than apply a thick black outline to the 3D models and a few screen-tones slapped on the artwork; every inch of the game, right down to the character’s personalities, lives and breathes it.

The Lost Planet trappings are never far away, of course – the game’s still set on a mostly chilly E.D.N. III, Thermal Energy still drops in viscous blobs from fallen Akrids and you’ll occasionally find yourself piloting a Vital Suit at a few points along the way — but the sort-of military high school setting that frames this new take on these familiar themes has enabled the development team to show them in a whole new light. The characters are all pleasantly larger than life and fall into a variety of stylised (and stylish) stereotypes — the gun nut, the quiet one, the sexy teacher, the aloof top-of-the-class guy – and it would be easy for this sort of characterization to fall flat on its face, but E.X. Troopers is so breathlessly energetic and sincere in its delivery of every line that you can’t help but smile at things like lead character Bren’s ridiculously over-the-top “UMMAAAAAIIIIIIIIII!” (“Delicious!”) after a simple sandwich at the on-site café.

It’s not all fun and games though, and thankfully E.X. Troopers has the gameplay to back up the setting. The base areas act as a hub, a place for Bren to upgrade his weaponry, undertake any available side missions, chat to his fellow students and get ready for the next mission. Impatient players or those chronically short on time will be pleased to know that the person you need to speak to to start a story-progression mission always has a very helpful red “!” over their head, so it’s easy for even the most inattentive gamer to decide if they want to rush straight into battle or not.

Missions tend to be on the short side (some can even be finished in under a minute with a bit of skill), and you’re always given a clear list of objectives and failure conditions at the start so you can get stuck into the action as fast as you’re able. There’s a danger that this could feel restrictive rather than focussed, but the freedom to choose your own weapon load-out for most missions and tailor the game to suit your own preferences — as well as take on extracurricular VR missions (alone or with friends - unfortunately only local multiplayer is offered on 3DS), NPC challenges and even sneak into the girl’s toilets should the mood take you — means that it’s very rare that there’s only one single thing for Bren to do at any one time.

If you find you are the sort that diligently checks every corner and speaks to every character all the time, E.X. Troopers still has some tricks up its sleeves to keep you engaged. Many missions have optional extra challenges — such as “Don’t die” or “Use the EX-T Blast twice” — that reward additional medals upon completion; these medals can then be redeemed for extra costumes for Bren and co., or used to add music tracks to the sound test menu. Fans that find they still need more E.X. Troopers in their lives can print off a selection of AR cards from Capcom’s official website and have six cast members pop up on their desks, beds and chairs, if they so wish.

Graphics don’t make a game, but they can help a good one become great. The presentation in E.X. Troopers is flawless, but most important of all it’s consistent and it enhances what was already there, highlighting the hot-blooded cast and underlining the plot in a way that just wouldn't work if it was done differently. Plenty of games try to copy that cartoony look, but many of them fail to really embrace it (Gaist Crusher, we're looking at you) – E.X. Troopers is different, proud of it, and we’re all the better for having it. Sorry — Japan is all the better for having it. Sort it out, Capcom — this game's great and really needs to come to the west as soon as possible.

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User Comments (35)

Zach777

#6

Zach777 said:

That does look rather.... Fun! Why no USA or Europe release, CAPCOM? You smell like dirty socks!!!!!!!!!!

19Robb92

#8

19Robb92 said:

They should release this digitally over here at least. Seems wasted to only release this in one region.

Kumite

#9

Kumite said:

Is it enjoyable enough with no Japanese knowledge?
For example Kid Icarus Uprising is a fun game but still would remain fun without the outstanding, well written conversations.

meppi

#10

meppi said:

I actually just ordered the PS3 version last week since I can't play Japanese 3DS games...yet. :)

SheldonRandoms

#11

SheldonRandoms said:

His hair's not pink, it's salmon, that's one reason i'll buy this game, but the other is because it looks soooooooooo good. Capcom, come one, let us enjoy this swellness that is E.X. Troopers.

......But alas, it appears it's not meant to be, and I see, I can't be in glee, and that hurts me, because in the snow I can't make them ski, and now i'm going to cry into my tea, which will soon become the sea.

Objection

#13

Objection said:

Yeah, I'm in the works to import this. The ps3 version that is, ain't buying another system (thanks, 3ds Region-locking.)

Vhyper1985

#15

Vhyper1985 said:

Capcom sooo need to bring this to the West! If I remember correctly the only reason they didn't was because of the sales numbers in Japan.
After reading the article on here the other day & watching the vid I imported the PS3 version, certainly no regrets! All i'll say is believe the hype this thing is great fun! Think Megaman Legends (I know I shouldn't bring that up but it's the closest thing) mixed with Lost Planet, there was even a pretty cool Limited edition version for the collectors out there:

@Kumite It's pretty import friendly, the menus are pretty self explanatory & the missions + controls are simple & easy to understand, the levelling up system isn't complex either (exp can only be spent on weapon & special attack upgrades) the only thing you'll be missing out on is the story but even then you can figure out the general gist of it all.

Kumite

#16

Kumite said:

@Vhyper1985 thanks a lot. So it is decided: after buying a US 3DS, I'll have to buy a Japanese too.
Way too many awesome games per region :(

Blacksquad

#17

Blacksquad said:

omg -_- now i have to kill my wallet now...why are the interesting games usually not given any releases outside of japan O_o why?! why!? I want some of that dam

GuSilverFlame

#18

GuSilverFlame said:

why can't japan be like russia and be in more than one continent!?!?!?(but with all continents instead of just two)

DarrelltheJ

#19

DarrelltheJ said:

Considering that MML3's engine went to making this we should have definitely gotten this game already.

Gen0neD

#21

Gen0neD said:

Come on Capcom. At the very least, a digital download. And if the Japanese is engrained into the artwork, then just slap a black bar over it to cover it and put some English text on top. PRESTO! Western release and life goes on...

Vhyper1985

#23

Vhyper1985 said:

After this & the fact that the West won't be getting the physical version nor the limited edition of the new Strider game on other platforms either doesn't give me much confidence in them bringing EX Troopers over anytime soon.. It's more annoying with this title since Capcom want the sales numbers to warrant a release but aren't willing to give it a chance here in the west to make money in the 1st place....

CharleSketch

#24

CharleSketch said:

Oh, man, this game. By mere chance I ended up downloading the demo for it on the Japanese PS Store and had so much fun with it I had to import it. Like someone said before, it's a pretty import-friendly game. Story missions are easy to figure out, so is the leveling up system for weapons; the only thing you'd miss out are the story details. Although, the final cutscene made me wish real bad that I understood what was going on; it was just so crazy awesome. Totally worth the import: really fun to play, and even more fun to watch if you're into anime.

Zyph

#25

Zyph said:

As much as I would like this to come stateside, Christian Svensson (Former Senior VP of Capcom USA) already said it's next to impossible (for now at least) to get this game to the west. As it's more taxing to localize the game since the "text" is hard-coded in the game or rather it's actually the "art" when players speak to each other. They'd have to redo majority of the art in the game and that takes a lot more time and of course money as opposed to their other games.

But personally I'm still hoping for it. :D

Ryudo

#27

Ryudo said:

If you have a PS3 then import it. It's cheap at like 35$ and it's super easy to play without being able to read. Super import friendly. Game is a blast to play.

HaastMK7

#28

HaastMK7 said:

You would think if Nintendo wanted to make more money they would release this to the Western World, and Australia/NZL :/

Sherman

#30

Sherman said:

First it was "The First Thirty Minutes Of The Best 3DS Action Game You've Never Played", and now this!?

You just love to see us all suffer, @Kimimi

T__T

Weedy

#31

Weedy said:

It looks like a futurisic Monster Hunter, surely that's work bringing over?! Did Project X Zone make Capcom any money? (it was quite text and menu heavy so may have cost a little bit to translate) If so you would think they'd consider this an export winner.

chadi

#32

chadi said:

Does anyone know a site that has translated dialogue and story for this game? That's the only thing I'm missing since the game's pretty easy to get the hang of even without knowing any Japanese. Regarding localization, I do get that it's hard to redo the manga-like sequences (which are amazing btw, especially in 3D!) since the texts were hardcoded... But I wouldn't mind if they just put subtitles at the bottom and just retain the original art and voices. But yeah, like that will ever happen... Lol.

Anyway, the SP missions are hard as hell (at least in my current level and gear) and since the 3DS version doesn't have online, then good luck in finding someone to play with locally... >.<

WhiteTrashGuy

#33

WhiteTrashGuy said:

When I first heard this game announced I was sure it would be over here by now. Just release it digitally with english text. I play in Japanese if given the chance most of the time anyway.

B3ND3R

#34

B3ND3R said:

I've been wanting this ever since it was originally teased... Please give the West some love Capcom, I will forgive you for dropping Mega Man Legends 3 if you at LEAST bring EX-Troopers over!

thelastgogeta

#35

thelastgogeta said:

For those of you who want to support this game coming west, you should look into this Capcom Unity thread and the articles detailed inside it, they are willing to bring it if we make our interest clear: http://www.capcom-unity.com/capcom_games_discussion/go/thread/view/7341/30030505/ex-troopers-localization-support-topic-ps3-3ds-title

Otherwise, this is probably the only 3DS title I have now I would import a 3DS to have on the go. Brilliant and honest from top to bottom.

@Weedy, Namco Bandai localised Project X Zone.

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