Tokyo is in trouble! Actually, the whole planet is; World War 3 ravaged the Earth and then in 2050 World War 4 took place. As if a catastrophic battle between the inhabitants of the planet wasn’t bad enough, the giant robots they pilot called “Gears” have gone rogue and are now know as the “Rage.” Forcing the people of Earth to live underground we then skip to 2097 and it is time for humanity to give the Gears another go and destroy the Rage once and for all.
That is the backstory for Damascus Gear Operation Tokyo. The game itself is a hack n slash game with RPG elements, with equipping and buying new gear being the bulk of its RPG side. It is played out with an isometric camera angle takes place in…you guessed it. Tokyo.
During missions you will be exclusively piloting your Gear. It is up to you to pick the weapons and armour you equip to take on the mission at hand and you can also customize the colour scheme. I am sure any mech-head will be salivating at the opportunity to kit out their giant robot. After all, it is basically the Japanese version of Pimp my Ride. My impressions with the customization were mixed. The armour i just what you’d expect, you will constantly swap it out for the next best one you acquire, but you some did offer a bit more than a defense boost. I found some leg parts that gave a significant boost to my speed.
The weapons get a bit more interesting, though. You equip one in each hand and also one on your back. The right and left hand share a grand selection of weapons. Split between projectiles and melee weapons, these then split off into chainsaws, lasers, swords, machine guns, and more. Choosing a nice combination is good fun at first, but as you progress you may notice that really the melee weapons seem a bit pointless. They don’t seem worth the risk of getting so up close to the opponent and you might just opt for long range combat. The back weapon is the really heavy hitter and deals a great amount of damage. A massive laser, rockets, and more are on offer here and it is a good ticket for getting out of trouble.
Finally you can alter the colour scheme of your Gear, but this felt a bit underwhelming. There weren’t a great deal of colours to choose from and on top of that you could only change the colour of each part. None of the parts seemed to be split into multiple colours to choose from whch made it feel not so unique.
Weapons selected? Colour scheme set? It’s time to defend Tokyo, then. There are a variety of mission types you will come across. Simply killing all enemies, taking out the boss, defending an ally, reaching a destination in time, and others. Whilst there is a nice variety to choose from it doesn’t stop each mission feeling a bit stale after extended periods of playing. This is mainly due to the combat, sadly. As I said earlier you will soon find the optimum approach and that approach will have you covered for every single enemy you encounter. Shoot, dodge, shoot, dodge, and so on.
To then combine the lacking combat system with a bit of a lacking variety in enemies doesn’t really help. For the most part it’s just more powerful enemies show up, but they have the same basic funtion as the previous ones. Yes, you will encounter some that then start to have more attack options, but you’ll be approaching the majority of enemies with the same tactic. Over and over again, which leads me to the next part.
Visually, the game is fine and sound design works well, but the major issue with the title is just how basic it is. Games like Fire Emblem Warriors might be repetitive, but they do mix that with great spectacle and a variety of characters. Damascus Gear Operation Tokyo doesn’t offer much spectacle and it doesn’t offer much variety in locations. Everywhere you go is grey and destroyed, there’s the underground arena in your base, but that’s not exactly offering a lot more. There just isn’t much for the eyes to soak up and I feel a game like this needs that.
It may sound like I am being quite harsh on Damascus Gear, the truth is the title can be fun in short bursts. It is also a title that when compared to something like Fire Emblem Warriors you see how much it is lacking. Of course, one is sold at full retail so it is unfair to expect the same, but it is hard to overlook at the same time. It would be nice to have a co-op mode, or for a bit to do in each mission. Whilst they are varied they stick pretty close to the script without any detours as you play. On top of that another issue I had was that the difficulty seemed off. You don’t level up, but equip new gear. There were times when I’d face off against a boss with the latest items and it just felt like a massive grind and this was early on.
There is however a lot of content on offer. Missions spread over E-SS rank. Getting the best rank on each mission will give you a reason to play them again. Finding specific loot that you need to get the latest gear.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Damascus Gear Operation Tokyo was provided by Arc System Works.