Zoids Assault was difficult, ugly and a waste of time.
I think I started Zoids Assault about 9 or 10 months ago. I looked up a guide to see how long of a game it was, and it seemed short, so I was expecting to blast through it and forget about it after a few weeks. I was not prepared for what was about to come. Zoids Assault is one of the hardest Turn-Based Strategy RPG's I have ever played in my life. There was so many times where I just felt like breaking my controller in half and smashing my TV. Fire Emblem games are tough, but they're doable. Zoids Assault was just cheap. It's just really hard to gain experience in this game. Level Ups really don't make you feel any powerful. The only things that made me feel powerful were the new weapons and various skills you equip. The max amount of characters you will ever use is 5 (no more or less, really), so you have to use these 5 characters against 20+ enemies at times and it just becomes overwhelming, cheap and frustrating.
Zoids Assault is possibly the second worst Turn-Based Strategy RPG's I have ever played. The worst is obviously Future Tactics: The Uprising. Zoids Assault actually has alot in common with Future Tactics though. They're both extremely short games, made on cheap budgets, but they stretch out that length by making the game extremely freaking hard. They're both extremely linear, so you can't backtrack if you want. Just like in both games, if you want to level up, you have to replay the same stage you're probably stuck at over and over and over again until you're just strong enough to do it. The only difference between these games is Zoids might actually use Strategy from time to time.
The only positives I can think of for this game is the music, and when you DO beat a stage, you get a nice sense of relief. You can't imagine how I felt when I beat this game, and now I will never have Zoids Assault looking back at me ever again.
Overall, it's excruciatingly hard, the graphics are terrible, the story makes no sense, there was barely a presentation, there is no reason this game should exist and no reason it was localized for America. This is the worst RPG on the Xbox 360 without a question.
Zoids Assualt looks like a typical SRPG, which is a fair judgment but I haven't played to many like them. While that might sound like a compliment, I mostly think all the different things they did in this game were all for the worst. For one, you only have a party of 5 Zoids. You use the same characters through out the entire game, there is no recruitment, no swapping, nothing. There are only 3 classes in the game, and you can't change them. There's 1 healer, 2 long range attacks and 2 short range attacks.
There are no shops or money, so you can't buy armor, skills or weapons. You have to randomly get them as a loot drop, or blow up a container with an item in it. There's no useable items either, so you can't heal yourself with an healing item or anything. There are only 2 characters with possible healing "magic", so the game can get extremely difficult at times.
There are quite a few weapon and armor selections, but for the most part I stuck with the basic equipment. You can equip Heavy armor, but that brings down your reaction time and movement speed, so you basically become a slow turtle just waiting to get killed. It would be stupid for anyone to equip heavy armor. The only weapons that work are the long ranged ones too. So honestly, there really isn't much weapons choice because only a few choices are logical.
The battle system reminds me slightly of La Pucelle Tactics. In that game, if you line up 5 characters within the range of a monster, they would all attack that monster in a group. This is how Zoids Assault works too. The whole point of Zoids is to group your Zoids and attack at once to knock out your enemy Zoids one by one. There is one feature that every Zoid can use and that's the "EMP". Each time you attack, you fill up an EMP bar, and when you have enough EMP power, you can unleash an attack against every Zoid within your area of attack range. This can get really useful if you are surrounded and especially if you have a bunch of enemies surrounded.
You gain experience and levels like most RPGs. Each time you attack, you gain a little bit of experience, but not much at all. When you beat a full stage, all your Zoids get a TON of experience. This is usually when you will level up your Zoids. You can't backtrack, so you are stuck, and need to level grind, you have you replay a stage over and over again until you gain another level. This can get tedious as hell.
You gain skills when you Level up. You can equip 1 Attack skill (Boosts your attack), 1 Defensive skill (Boosts your defense), 1 Command skill (Gives you another command within Battle) and 4 Passive skills (Gives you more stats).
----------Characters / Story----------
I have no idea what was going on in the storyline. However, I will admit it was a cool concept, especially for a Strategy RPG like this. Basically, one of your crew members (I assume?) is on trial (I think?), and she is giving a filibuster to the court. She is recanting the events that lead up to the end of the game to the court. You play out the battles she explains to the court. While it was a nice concept, it just doesn't work in the end because she just stands there (in a still animation) talking a bunch of crap I just don't understand. Maybe Zoids fans will understand this, but I sure didn't.
The graphics are total garbage. This is the most basic retail release I've seen on the Xbox 360 that I know of. 80% of the cutscenes are glorified Power Point slide shows. The cutscenes that do involve some animation are just screens of static flicker on the screen. Towards the end of the game you do see a couple actual CGI cutscene, but it's the most terrible 3D render of a Satellite or Spaceship you'll ever see. I've seen better cutscenes on the SNES to be honest.
All the Zoids look exactly the same on the battlefield. That even includes your enemies. You fight the same freaking mechs over and over again. The battlefields look like crap too. You either fight in a dark forest or a dry desert. Sometimes its night or day, but it's the same poorly laid out map. 10+ year old games like Starcraft or Final Fantasy Tactics have more detailed maps.
The only time this game ever felt like an Xbox 360 game was when your Zoids went into battle mode. When you attack Zoids, you see a quick cutscene of your Zoids battling, a good example of this is the Gamecube or Wii versions of Fire Emblem. It goes from a simple 2D/3Dish map screen to a full blown 3D battle sequence. Fire Emblem was pretty simple, as it just had the fighters stand side by side like in a 2D fighting game, but Zoids calculates your location on the map, and uses real assets on the map in the background of your battle animation. So it doesn't feel like stock animations. They mask it really well. However, the battle animations are so BORING. Also like in Fire Emblem games, I would just skip these battle animations.
I'm not familiar with the Zoids IP, so I'm not sure how well the voices and music matches up to the anime. I did enjoy the music. There was only about 3 freaking songs in the game, but they were somewhat rememberable. The voice work wasn't offensive in any way either.
There's really no world map. The game progresses in a very linear fashion. You go from Stage 1 to Stage 2 all the way to Stage 14. Between stages you can change your equipment, skills and look at your Stats and Data discs, but that's about it. You can't backtrack or do anything other than advance the story. If you want to call it a story.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
After you beat the final stage, you are treated with a short sequence and a short credits, and you're done. You unlock a New Game+ feature that allows you to replay the game with all your current levels, experience, weapons and skills.