Thanks to Arc System Works for the review code
Title: Damasacus Gear: Operation Tokyo
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 03/01/2018
In a world where trusty GEAR robots are built for combat, you take control as someone who joins an organization during the start of a new World War, as you must embark with your squad in GEAR Robots to help save the earth!
Sticking with very basic 3D models, Operation Tokyo isn’t really that impressive from a visual standpoint. While it does have a pretty neat UI while equipping your custom mech and loading screens filled with concept art of the GEAR robots, the actual game consists of bland, 3D arenas with the occasional portrait to indicate any allies that join you on a mission. Most of the enemy robots look the same, and the music is pretty forgettable. The best part of this by far though is the fact that you can freely customize your GEAR robot’s color scheme on each individual body part, allowing you to go crazy and replicate any famous robot you so desire! (I attempted to recreate the Thunderzord, personally)
The main goal of the game is to clear mission after mission, fulfilling each objective the game throws at you in each stage, usually revolving around shooting and attacking robots until they’re dead. The faster you do it and with the less damage you take, the higher the rank for the mission will be at the end. Ranks are also the main gimmick of progression as well, as the mission difficulty is sorted by ranks as well, staring from E and going up from there to SS rank.
Once you pick a mission and head out into combat, the controls are pretty easy to grasp. The X and Y buttons fire your equipped weapons, (which can be projectile or melee attacks) the A button fires a high-powered laser attack, the B button does a quick dodge, L button repairs your mech if it’s damaged and holding the R button will use your boost gauge to allow for speedy movement. Once you get used to the controls, it’s off to complete the current mission, whether it’s to destroy a bunch of robots in a time limit, defend your allies and take out a boss, etc.
These missions move at a pretty odd pace, despite them not being too long and thus not feeling like a drag, something that hack and slash games have a bad habit of doing. What I mean by that comes from the fact that the game loves to have moments where you kill a whole wave of enemies, and then have to wait 10-15 seconds for the game to alert you to the next wave, something that can be very jarring as you’re just using idle time waiting for enemies to kill. The same even applies when you beat a stage, as more often than not, defeating the last enemy will cause the stage to take a good 10-20 seconds before displaying a victory message, while sometimes it displays it right away or even when there’s only one enemy left. It’s very bizarre and can get a tad annoying, but the game does manage to be decent fun, if a bit mindless.
Unfortunately, there’s a massive, massive issue with the Switch port I discovered while trying to progress through the E-Rank. This game is one of the few dreaded Switch games with a Memory Leak problem, which means if you haven’t rebooted your system in a long while the game will act strangely, usually in the case of long loading times or crashing errors. In Operation Tokyo’s case, it just flat out prevented me from playing Stage 3 of Rank E, making it totally impossible for me to do anything whatsoever with the entire game hardcrashing around ten seconds into the level. No matter what I did with the game itself, whether it was trying to move more slowly in the level, changing my equipment, or attempting to update the application (there is no update, yet), nothing would fix this issue, and thus I got four hardcrashes in a row, all in the same stage. I was literally on the verge of having this be a snap judgement review because of that fatal flaw, until I found out you could fix it… Temporarily.
By hard rebooting the Switch, (as advised in other memory leak games) the crashing issue goes away, but like all games with said issue, it’ll come back eventually, and require another reboot to “clean it out” so to say. This hard reboot doesn’t seem to fix the brief, occasional wait periods either, so those don’t seem to be related to the game whatsoever. Needless to say, this game becomes a lot more unenjoyable when you can’t even play it sometimes, and the fact this memory leak issue was somehow overlooked is pretty baffling.
In conclusion, Operation Tokyo is a bit of a mess, at least on the Switch with this port. While the game is a decent hack and slash once you’re able to play it and sell your old equipment to gather new pieces, working up the ranks for mindless fun, the game still suffers from a bad Memory Leak issue, which can cause the game to flat out become unstable on certain levels and thus cause constant crashes, as seen here. While a hard reboot does fix this issue, it’s only temporary, and will come back eventually. It’s a pretty inexcusable bug that I’m shocked was overlooked for this port, and I truly hope it gets fixed soon. Still, for a game of this pricepoint to begin with ($17), such an awful bug should have never been allowed in the first place. Considering how the game itself isn’t even worth $17 when fixed due to how basic it is, this just makes the experience even harder to deal with. Still, effort was made to deliver a moderately enjoyable game to mech battling fans, you just have to hope that they patch the memory leak soon. If this game goes on sale after that for around the $8-$12 range, then I do think it would be worth a buy, but for now,I give Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo for the Nintendo Switch eShop a 5 out of 10. Fatal bugs are never OK in any type of game, and to see such an obvious one seemingly slip past everyone but my own is just unacceptable.