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Mecha ARPG Damascus Gear: Operation Osaka out now

Money makes the mechin' world go round

One of the more interesting side-effects of the old barriers between PC and console gaming coming down has been a glut of older or lesser-known titles making their way across the pond and to our humble workstations-turned-toys.

Today's unusual pick of the day is Damascus Gear: Operation Osaka, released simultaneously to Vita, PS4 and PC today. While I've been vaguely aware of this series' existence (this being the second Damascus Gear on PC), it wasn't until now that I noticed that this is blatantly Armored Core as an action-RPG.

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In the spirit of Armored Core (FromSoftware's defining mercenary mecha pilot sim series), it's not cheap being a high-powered mecha pilot. In this case, you're a million dollars in debt and your debtors are going to either be extracting the money or your kneecaps in 25 days. Seldom before have I heard of a more practical reason to begin a frenzied campaign of dungeon-diving, loot-collecting and arena battles.

What really stands out to me about Damascus Gear is just how much this looks like earlier Armored Core games, from the mecha designs to the UI and even the arena fighting format. The big difference is that instead of being a third-person mech piloting experience, this is an isometric, twin-stick shooter style ARPG primarily set in a randomly generated mega-dungeon called the Cosmopolis.

As mentioned, this is the second Damascus Gear title to arrive on PC. The original - Operation Tokyo - saw middling-to-low reviews even on its native Vita, but this one looks to be a fairly clear improvement just from looking at gameplay footage. That said, with the Vita being the lowest common denominator, this is never going to be the most technologically impressive of games, but the PS4 and PC versions do at least look a bit nicer.

As an interesting aside, this also isn't the only Armored Core-esque game to come from Vita to PC. In two weeks, we'll be seeing the release of Assault Gunners HD, which looks more than a little bit like Armored Core 2 way back near the PS2's launch, albeit with a ton more enemies to shoot.

Damascus Gear: Operation Osaka is out now via Steam for £13.94/$18.

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