Do not buy this game. It's a steaming, reeking pile of shit and your aging PS2 will hate you for it, possibly never playing a game again just out of spite. The story -- the focus of the game (which should tell you something right off the bat since gameplay clearly takes a back seat to cutscenes) -- is some of the most trite, worthless garbage ever translated and burned to a disc, and the actual combat in the game, of which there are three basic styles, are all universally horrible, it's just a matter of finding out which is the most horrid.
Luckily, through extensive scientific testing, we found a really good way to determine it. If you're playing one of the hover board (sorry, ref board) races, one of the air combat battles or one of the hand-to-hand fighting sections, congratulations, you're playing the worst part of the game. In fact, whatever point in the game you're playing (or more likely watching) at the time), that is the worst part of the game. See, science!
Normally I would throw some kind of qualifier out like "fans of the show might..." Well screw that; this is a slap in the face of anyone who has even seen the Saturday night show on Adult Swim, much less gotten invested in it. It lacks any of the beauty or character or... well, clearly it's just digital dreck. I haven't watched something that made me want to stick my head in a vice and twist until everything went black this much since the days of slogging through Army Men reviews for IGN years ago -- and at least those were games.
Let's tick off some of the things that are beyond stupid, shall we?
- Dialogue was obviously recorded line-by-line rather than in any real conversational way -- characters actually shift mood and inflection per-line; possible that lines were just cut entirely so there are awkward transitions, though that could just be the translation.
-That translation reads and sounds fansub-quality in even the most pedestrian dialogue, and more complex stuff at times just plain doesn't make any sense.
-NPCs have incredibly creative names like "Merchant 1", "Crew B" and "Customer 4." Often they'll respond to your questions with completely unrelated (and yet still inane) comments.
-Despite looking like a 2nd-generation PlayStation 2 title, the game's framerate is all over the friggin' place, going from 60fps down to the teens with just a pan of the camera.
-During the many cutscenes in the game, if there is ambient noise in the background, even a simple engine hum loop, it will cut out inexplicably as the camera shifts to a new angle. Most music tracks simply aren't long enough to last a whole cutscene and will loop at what seems like random times, destroying any mood the game tries to build up.
-Everything in the game is done on rails, including leveling up. Sumner, our "hero" simply gains levels as part of the story at the end of missions. There's no experience system or anything to work for, he simply gains new "moves" and increased meters.
All of these things may seem fairly small, but when piled atop one another, they add up to a mountain of low production values and the undeniable impression that Namco Bandai Games America just doesn't give a crap about the ES fanbase, much less gamers at large. If you're at all curious about the gameplay, we did delve into it in our preview, but honestly it should be enough to to let you know that the different modes range from lifeless and repetitive (hand-to-hand combat or the ref board races) to what-the-shit-is-going-on confusing (the air battles, which almost instantly devolve into circling a guy while unloading all your weapons fire in the hopes of stunning him long enough to do a strafing melee attack).
It's not all terrible. For some bizarre reason, the developer picked this game to include some rather interesting loading screens. UK design-ish ultra-simplistic bits of flipping, full-screen text or loading messages that slide out from the rest of the numbers at a 45 degree angle are surprisingly elegant. The game also plays around with various font sizes and effects like quivering or bouncing text during cutscenes. It won't redeem the dialogue itself, but it's nice to see more than just scrolling text the whole time.
Even if you are a fan of Eureka Seven -- so much so that you know how to pronounce Eureka's name (who doesn't appear in this game save for a tertiary appearance, by the way, as it's a trite precursor to the TV series) -- you'll have a hard time not slipping into a coma during the cutscenes. When the "action" finally starts, it's such a busted, pointless exercise in sloppy control and useless wish-they-were-flashy moves that you'll long for those mind-numbing cutscenes. This is not a game, it is something soldiers will use to torture their enemy until such time as it is deemed too cruel and unusual to be used even in time of war. Do not play it, do not buy it, do not look at it and maybe we'll get lucky and the third game won't be localized.