The first trailer for the Wii-based Super Robot Wars NEO is out, and as you can see from above, the game has gone to great lengths to be a rather odd egg in the SRW franchise. Not only are all the robots being modeled in 3D, something usually shunned by SRW fans as a whole, but the cast list was a surprise to absolutely everyone, and the gameplay itself has seen some drastic modifications which stem primarily from the move to 3D.
The game is no longer boxed in by a grid, and characters have relatively free range of motion across the battlefield. As you can see from the video, each unit has a circle around them, making the game reminiscent of Phantom Brave, while the previous SRW games were closer to Disgaea. There are also many more types of attacks now, rather than just MAP attacks and basic ones which hit one or more units clumped together, as you now also have attacks which have arcs and angles that can go over certain terrain as well as attacks that push enemy units back and so on. And even more intriguing is that the units’ sizes are displayed on the map and even affect battle more readily than their attempt in SRWGC and XO where size difference could make one robot unable to attack another in a critical spot. Size affects many things in NEO apparently, such as attack range and evasion rates, and it’s another example of how much they’re willing to go through with this 3D SRW thing. Oh, and battles can now take place right on the map, a la Battle Chess. That’s pretty cool, I think.
While there are people who say that 3d SRW games are automatically worse, with how ambitious NEO is I want to give it the benefit of the doubt. Besides, it’s only in these non-breadwinning off-shoot SRWs that we get to see the truly crazy casts, and this one is the craziest of all.