From the cover and title of the game, the player can easily assume that tinkering with your mech and fighting battles would be the focus of the gameplay. These elements are playable on the UMD, but what the box art doesn’t tell you is that you will probably spend more time out of your mech than in it.
With a unique dialog option and practically unlimited customization choices, Steambot Chronicles should whet the pallet of any mech fan. But thanks to the game’s tedious side quests, this game takes on an entirely different focus.
The playable character, male or female via the player’s choice, arrives at Orion City with one goal in mind: to win the Trotmobile (aka the mechs) tournament. But just like in real life, you have to work your way up the ranks and earn a spot on the leaderboard. How does one go about doing this? By completing repetitive and mindless fetch quests of course.
Here is a description about how every mission in the game will play out: Walk to your trot and enter, walk to the employment office, park your trot on a hard-to-find parking cone, exit your trot, walk from this distant parking cone to the employment office, talk with the cute receptionist about getting a job, accept the job, walk back to your trot, enter it, walk to the person who you are doing the job for, hop out of your trot, walk to that person and get details about the job, walk back to your trot and enter it, walk outside the city to complete said mission (talk to someone/find item/etc), walk back to the mission person, hop out of your trot, talk with person and hand over item/complete conversation, walk back to your trot and enter, walk back to the employment office, find the stupid parking cone and park your trot, enter the building, talk with the receptionist to complete the mission to gain some money and a little bit of fame.
If you think reading the above paragraph was difficult, trying doing it over and over again during gameplay. The game suffers because the player constantly has to do mundane things. Why do I always have to get out of my trot? Why can I only park my trot on a cone? Why does my trot walk as fast as a toddler’s crawl? Why am I using my trot to complete stupid fetch quests and side missions? Why are enemies always in the same predictable place? Why can’t I use my trot for cool purposes like blowing stuff up or killing bad guys? The game creates a lot more questions than it answers.
Despite these flaws, the game isn’t all bad. When not participating in ridiculous side missions, the player is treated to a wealth of customizable ways to pimp out your trot. Legs, body, head, arms, and even back attachments can be tricked out with your hard earned gold. The trot’s color and logo can also be tweaked to add more of a personal touch. The game also has noteworthy dialog options. Instead of just listening to NPC’s talk, you can actually respond in either negative or positive tones, often resulting in a slight chuckle.
The game has graphics suitable for the PSP, but the cel-shading looks a little too Crayola. Using this art style gives the game a much more light hearted approached as opposed to the more mature graphics of say, an Armored Core game. The soundtrack, while mood-fitting, is more on the forgettable side. But still, it plays its role. Multiplayer makes use of the local game-sharing option so you and three other buddies can compete in simple deathmatch style modes.
Unfortunately, the grind of completing mindless tasks really causes this game to fizzle out fast. The customization options are nicely done, but it is doubtful players will have the patience to even reach these options. This game is like your Mom telling you to do all your homework and chores before you can go outside and play.
Not As Good As: Faselei
Better Than: A Kick in the Nuts
Also Play: Anything Else Published by Atlus