The Assault Suits series has a long history, from Genesis days to PlayStation 2 platform. Unfortunately, only the original and its sequel on the SNES, known as Cybernator were ever available in the west. However, recently the remake of the original Target Earth game from the Sega Genesis, Assault Suits Leynos, was remastered for PS4.
It’s great to see such a series make a comeback, especially when it’s been updated to fit today’s standards. And while it does come with enhancements that are to be expected of a remake on PS4, it still retains that retro 16-bit experience we miss so much.
Playing Assault Suits Leynos feels a lot like watching your favorite mecha anime. Fully voiced cutscenes with animated characters provide a great way to experience the story without it feeling too in-your-face. But sometimes it could get overwhelming with so much stuff happening at the same time.
There is a rich lore to be found here, and each mission is prefaced with a huge block of text. But even if you don’t care much about stories in your action games, the cutscenes add a lot to the feeling of you starring in a mecha anime. Especially when you are controlling a heavy armor mech that stomps around the battlefield. It feels heavy, steamy and just right. The explosions are spectacular, sometimes covering most of the screen all at once. Physics engine permits bullets to bounce off the surface giving off a cool sparking effect.
The graphics are updated to HD standards, but with adorable 2d sprites for our hero and most enemies. The developers really did a great job in modernizing the look of the old school game with just enough adjustments to give it a more polished look, while still retaining that grungy, dirty heavy mecha action.
The game itself provides a variety of gameplay styles. There are missions where you have to protect your home base or troops, flying missions in style of shmups and exploration missions which have you just exterminating large quantities of enemies.
Enemies are their updated counterparts from the original, with some additions for good measure, including some cool new bosses. While there is a lot of content here the game boasts just 8 stages, which will give you a good hour of fun. And this as you might expect was not enough to satiate our thirst for mech games. This is where the option to customize your every level come into play with different types of load-outs. Not to mention mission select screen which permits you to replay your favorite levels or to try out new load-out combinations.
The soundtrack is thoroughly enjoyable, giving the game enough of an update while still sounding retro enough. There is an option to unlock the original soundtrack as well which is really neat.
The game boasts three difficulty settings, and poses quite a challenge on normal mode. If this is not enough for you there is a hard mode, or if you are hardcore enough there is the original mode hidden away in the options menu. Mostly, the controls could be a problem to get into, especially when left analogue is used to move your mech and also aim at the same time. This poses to be a problem later on in the flying sections where it’s difficult to position your aim as enemies get into your dead spot. What can be done to fix this is to lock your aim in place by holding L1, but this is only useful for certain situations.
The most annoying thing about the enemies is that they frequently run away outside the boarders of the screen, which makes you awkwardly wait for them to return or you could just retreat in order for them to come at you again, which can get really frustrating in space battles.
The bosses are imposing and serve as a nice change of pace. But prove to be fairly easy when you figure out that grenades destroy every major boss in no time, which spoils the fun a bit. Otherwise if you choose to really play hardcore way opt out of using them as the game will get much more challenging. Same goes for using a powerful shield which instantly protects you from most harm just a button away.
While not a flawless title, Assault Suits Leynos improves over the original in almost every way. The updated graphics and physics engine make this an enjoyable romp, even though the controls take a bit of time to get used to. Players that want challenge and those that want to relive the good old times with this updated classic will appreciate the level of detail that went into remaking this masterpiece.