Just over two years ago, I played through and enjoyed a Vita-exclusive title from Arc System Works known as Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo. That review is still live except for the in-line images missing at this location. Recently, Damascus Gear got the HD Edition treatment and was re-released on the PS4. Between E3 and some other issues I have not yet played all the way through the HD Edition, but as with most re-releases, it’s the same core game with any previously released extra content and revamped visuals. Let’s have a closer look, using my previous review as a supplement to this one.
The HD Edition includes the full game, plus the content of the Vita DLC packs (there were three). The DLC packs are ‘Old Hero and Broken Gears of Time [PT.1] Cloaked with Dishonor,’ ‘Old Hero and Broken Gears of Time [PT.2] Last Stand of a Hero,’ both of which were released at the time the game was made available in March of 2015. In March of 2017, and also included in the HD Edition, is the ‘Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo – Hero Creation’ DLC pack. The older DLC packs contain additional S-Ranked story missions along with some three dozen new weapons and armor pieces, something that there is no shortage of in the game. The Hero Creation expansion provides an alternate Operation Tokyo story, in which the player has to fight his way through the dastardly Hero Creation project. You can only play this mode having finished the S-Ranked missions, something I have not yet done in the HD Edition at the time of this writing. Finally, besides including the full game and all three DLC packs, HD Edition brings the game to 1080p and full 60fps. As with the Vita version, it’s a smoothly animated and good-looking game.
If you missed the game on Vita, it’s worth getting on PS4 if you enjoy mech combat. What drew me to this game on the Vita was its accessibility and how stream-lined it was. There’s a lot of customization, but managing that is straight-forward and quick to do. During the course of a mission, the Rage enemies you down often drop armor and weapon pieces that you collect simply by hovering over them. You also get a reward item for clearing a mission sometimes. At the Dock, you can manage your mech including changing the color of different parts and swapping out parts how you see fit. Parts of your mech that can be altered included the Head, Body, Arm, Leg, Shoulder, Right Weapon and Left Weapon. Dozens upon dozens of different weapon and armor types and kits can be found and purchased, and sold for that matter, throughout the game. These changes effect a variety of mech stats from Power Output to Consumption, Attack Power, Accuracy, Defense, and so on, and also drastically change the appearance of your mech.
Arc System Works managed to make customizable mech combat accessible and quick, but they didn’t skimp on making a fairly compelling universe with NPCs that you’ll actually come to invest in as the game goes on. This is accomplished by diverse personalities and appearances and (scripted) evolutions in the relationships between the characters as the war for the Fourth Division against the Rage machines progresses. Speaking of progression, missions are laid out clearly and simply –you begin in E-rank missions and work your way through SS rank ones, with difficulty progressing steadily, but as mentioned in my original review, thanks to numerous Repair Kits and loads of mech customization options, the difficulty never gets to be a real headache.
Played on the Vita or the PS4, Damascus Gear offers simple, enjoyable mech combat with a good story and lots of customization at a great price.