It's only been a few months since publisher Atlus graced us with an English-translated version of Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, part of a long-running Japanese strategy role-playing game series that's like a dream come true for fans of giant robot anime. After all, the series combines mecha designs from just about every famous franchise into its own universe. However, Original Generation is different because, as the name suggests, it has a completely original cast of characters and mechs, though they're clearly inspired by the likes of Gundam, Mazinger Z, Macross, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and any other influential sci-fi anime you can think of. Original Generation and its sequel hit stores a few years apart in Japan, so getting this visually improved, far more challenging follow-up in such close proximity to the first game is almost too much to handle. After all, this is another deep, involving, all-around excellent game that could easily last you many dozens of hours.
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation 2 is a direct continuation of its predecessor, so not only does the story pick up soon after the climactic events of the previous game, but the overall level of challenge is quite a bit higher. If you've never played the previous game, this one will confound you with a storyline densely packed with many different characters, factions, and historical events. You'll also run into some surprisingly tough missions early on, where one or two missteps can run you smack into a game-over screen. These can be frustrating, but since you can save your progress at any time, it's possible to inch your way to victory. Suffice it to say, though, this game isn't well suited for a wide audience. However, it's perfectly suited to fans of Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, who will appreciate the return of all of their favorite characters and mechs from the first game, as well as all of the new characters, mechs, gameplay tweaks, and challenges added to this sequel. Like the previous game, Original Generation 2 is a surprisingly huge game, spanning more than 40 big missions and offering lots of replay value on top of that. Since the missions are much tougher on average here, the game could easily last you not just for many days, but many weeks.
On top of being such a challenging game, Original Generation 2 will either grab you and not let go with its storytelling, or it will overwhelm you with just how elaborate the plot is. Original Generation 2 continues the story of a futuristic Earth's struggle to suppress worldwide war in the face of imminent danger from alien, otherworldly threats. It's not a thoroughly serious plot, as it leaves plenty of room for some silly banter between some of the younger characters in the story, but this is by all means an epic space opera, similar in scope to the episodic story arcs of classic sci-fi anime. Though the story here is told almost exclusively through text dialogue and still portraits of the different characters, the quality of the writing is good, bringing to life dozens of different characters, each with distinct personalities and agendas. And you can't help but be impressed by all of the thought and detail that's gone into this tale.
The story unfolds somewhat differently than that of the previous game, which let you choose from two different starting characters. In Original Generation 2, the story always starts out the same way, but there are various points in the plot that branch off, letting you choose to follow either one group of characters or another for the next sequence of missions. This gives you a chance to follow those characters you're most interested in, and it creates a lot of additional replay value, as well. The story of Original Generation 2 also gives you a lot of internal monologue from the different characters, lending you clearer insight into their personal views and motivations. Fans of the previous game will be downright happy to see the cast of Original Generation back in action in this sequel, complete with some new character portraits showing off a broader range of emotions.