reviews\ Jul 24, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Tsunami 2265 - PC - Review

Japanese anime films have long been regarded as masterful and often time powerful works of animated storytelling that depicts the future as bleak yet filled with technological marvels.  I have to admit that I can only name a few anime films off the top of my head but I know enough to consider games inspired by these films to be very interesting.  And so my focus shifts to Tsunami 2265 . . . a game that pays tribute to the things we love about Japanese animation.


Tsunami’s story is rather interesting: It seems that in the year 2118 planet Earth is victim to massive floods caused by a powerful seaquake that began near Japan--the result is cities in ruin and half of civilization gone. The survivors band together for the Terrestrial Republic, one nation under one flag, but unfortunately there are feuds among this new Republic and those members of the elite who run international corporations.  To make matters worse, these new corporations wish to exploit a new discovery known as E.L.EN.A--a mysterious source of power and energy.


Game players take up the roll of two warriors, Naoko and Neon.  Both are masters in the art of the Samurai and both know their way around a Mech (for those of you who are not familiar with the term, Mechs are like giant robotic battle suits).  You start the game as Naoko but as you advance you assume the roll of Neon.


Luckily the controls include simple yet basic functions such as walk, jump, strafe and firing two kinds of weapons (laser or missiles).  The easy-to-manage controls gives this game an arcade feel and doesn’t make controlling a Mech seem like a complex operation.  Aside from Arcade Mode there is Adventure Mode where the character is out of the Mech exploring the various terrains such a prison fortress or a massive dam.


Battle is fast and furious as you take on enemy drones, foot soldiers and fierce Mechs.  Since the game is seen in a third-person perspective, targeting an opponent is an easy feat, however the enemy AI is smart and they’re able to dodge your fire.  The enemy does pose a challenge but the action could get a bit repetitive at times. Thankfully, after the first objectives are completed, the next objectives quickly change and offer something completely different.  For example, the first objective could be to destroy all white drones while the next one has you destroying blue drones while not hurting the white ones.


There are also puzzles in the games but they are no more challenging than the ones seen in a Resident Evil game.  In one level you have to find a switch to turn on the water sprinkler system to put out a fire blocking the way to a door.  Or you have to destroy a power source to short circuit a power station.


Tsunami is a visual treat with its cell-shaded anime-styled graphics that is quite impressive and even more so during animated cut scenes.  Fans of Japanese animation will feel right at home with the neatly rendered characters that move fluidly and naturally, in fact, many times you’ll forget you’re playing a game since the in-game animation flows just as freely as the cut scenes.  And the level of detail is astonishing! 


The game’s sound is also something of an achievement.  Mixed in with the fantastic visuals, the soundtrack does a good job of immersing the player into the story and you can’t help but get caught up by a score filled with dramatic anthems and sad yet beautiful melodies.  And there are also sound effects filled with laser blasts, explosions and the heavy footsteps of a Mech but none of this comes close to the beauty of the voice acting.  


Tsunami 2265 is an interesting game with a lot to offer and while the action can grow somewhat repetitive the game is still an enjoyable treat that shouldn’t be missed.  On a technical note, make sure and install this one using the recommended settings to get the best out of your system.


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


 Gameplay: 8.0
Using the third-person perspective, this game is filled with arcade-styled action that’s actually easy to manage.  The controls are pretty basic, leaving behind the sometimes frustrating complexity of other Mech titles.  Here the emphasis is on the action and adventure and the battles that are fun and intense.


In some levels Mechs aren’t even used, both Neon and Naoko move around in third-person Jedi Knight fashion. My only complaint with this mode (known as Adventure Mode) is that the characters have been built up to be master ninjas and Samurai and neither one wields a weapon befitting of either warrior.  You won’t see then using swords in this game.


Graphics: 8.5
Tsunami’s graphics are outstanding and look even better depending on the power of your graphic‘s card.  Yet the visuals even with a mediocre graphic‘s card is still something to marvel at.  Things such as backgrounds are presented in excellent cell-shaded detail that the player can‘t help but look around and admire their surroundings.


And speaking of details, the game is full of them. Shooting the walls or floors leaves a laser scorch marks on surfaces that slowly fade away and when the characters speak during cut scenes their lips move . . . although not often in synch with the dialogue.


Sound: 8.6
The sound superbly captures the essence of a good Japanese anime and the proof is in the perfect soundtrack that runs throughout the game as well as the great voice acting and sound effects.  Its score is wonderfully orchestrated and swiftly changes at the drop of a hat when something of great importance occurs during mid-battle.


While the sound effects are not as wonderfully done as the score itself (it’s merely just laser fire and Mechs exploding), the voice acting is top-notch.  You’ll swear you’re watching a good animated film by the quality of their acting and the interesting dialogue.     


Difficulty: Medium
Piloting a Mech has never been so much fun since it’s a breeze controlling it, but that doesn’t mean this game is a walk in the park.  The enemy AI is intelligent enough to defend themselves in a number of ways including going for cover and staging assaults against you while you’re busy blasting away on another target.  Your enemy is also numerous and varies from level to level, in certain stages you’ll face anything from weak drones to equally powerful Mechs.


The game is also filled with small yet visible glitches, though, and can hinder your progress.  Sometimes your character can get stuck in a corner, leaving yourself vulnerable for attack.  Other times it’s something as unusual as the strange deaths that occur ever so often.  For example, I tried to jump up on a ledge that’s not very high and when I missed the Mech broke down and the GAME OVER screen flashed.  Luckily you get a few continues if you happen to fail a mission.


Concept: 8.0
For those who are familiar with anime, especially those that involve Mechs, Tsunami 2265’s plot is the usual futuristic battle-to-save-what’s-left-of-mankind theme . . . but, believe it or not, this is a good thing.  After all, who doesn’t want to play in a futuristic universe where robotic monstrosities battle in nightmarish landscapes?  I know I’m not the only one raising my hand.


To keep the game fresh, there are certain levels where your characters ditch the Mechs altogether and explores fortresses freely with a handgun in the game’s Adventure Mode.  In fact, the game changes somewhat in this mode (e.g. player map and other little things change). And playing Neon is slightly different from playing Naoko, although not by much.


Overall: 8.0
Paying homage to the elements that draw anime fans in the first place, Tsunami 2265 is a solid action game with plenty to like.  Repetitive action could wear out those gamers looking for a Mech title such as the PS2’s brilliant Zone of the Enders, but overall the game doesn’t fail to deliver a good time.


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