Evangelion Shin Gekijoban: 3nd Impact

· Around 5 minutes

I’m not a huge rhythm game player. I’ve played the odd bit of Osu! and Guitar Hero but obviously, the most important thing is soundtrack. I could try getting into Stepmania but drowning in a sea of nightcore anime remixes isn’t exactly my idea of fun. Despite having just said that, I do love me some Evangelion so I couldn’t resist when I learnt that Japan had received a music game adapted from the ongoing Rebuild of Evangelion project. Who would dare mix rhythm and Eva? Someone equally known for “crazy” titles, Goichi ‘Suda51’ Suda so this, I had to see.

Just before you point it out, 3nd isn’t a typo. That’s actually the title used. At first you might try to pronounce it as Thir-end Impact but don’t forget this is a Japanese game. The pun plays off ‘san’, the Japanese pronounciation of the number 3. When you read 3 as san, the title becomes san-nd or Sound Impact. Get it?

Is it fun, though? Yes…? Yes and no, really. It has a number of different playstyles and I definitely prefer some more than others. All of the angel battles have you hitting the face buttons in time with the beat similar to other rhythm games and I’d say those were definitely my favourites by far. Upon completing the angel segments, you’ll get to obtain direct control of the military. You’ll have sometimes seem appear both the series and movies firing ridiculous barrages at the angels with zero results, but generally looking pretty cool while doing it.

The other sequences aren’t really ones that I replay but that’s ok because perhaps they might be your favourites.

The “AT” sequences have you using the Left and Circle button to break AT fields on both sides of the screen while footage from the movies plays in the background. It also ends with a frantic assault on the angels core, which explodes in a shower of blood.

Teardrop has 3 versions, each following either Shinji Asuka or Rei as they race to halt the decent of Sahaquiel, the 8th (anime) / 10th (rebuild) angel. I actually kind of liked this mode as well since you’re hoping over buildings and phone lines in time with the music. The gameplay is the same in all three versions but each have a slightly different remix of the song as its backing track.

Number 5 / Beastie Girl only appear twice and don’t seem to have any naming convention at all. They both center on Mari, playing footage of her in an Eva while you tap the L and R shoulder buttons to hit incoming lines. It’s alright but due to the glow present and the animations used for when a marker disappears, some of them can be hard to distinguish from the footage in the background.

HEX contains the more emotional songs from the series but they don’t really make sense here. A montage of the character features plays in the background, obscured with hexagons which disappear when you hit the right notes. Gameplay wise, the mode is fine but while they were cheery songs, the scenes they accomplied were anything but, generally containing something awful. Here, they are just wasted as backing audio, not having any effect on the player whatsoever.

The “Call of Fourteen” sequences still puzzle me. You control a brain scan line trying to hit memory markers and upon doing so, a voice clip plays in the background. The audio is boring just ambient noise and of course, the voice clips are in Japanese with no subtitles so none of it is understandable.

All songs will give you a star rating out of 5 but something that I overlooked for the longest time was the gallery where upon hitting score milestones eg; 150 stars, you unlock images. I’ve only unlocked 11 of the possible 18 which so far are either photos of Rei, evangelion themed food or the 3D game assets used to create images that could be wallpapers, but you aren’t given any option to save them which sucks.

Hopefully that sort of makes sense? Rhythm games are a bit harder to give an overview of seeing as they generally lack any real structure outside of the tracks themselves. There is a vague sense of track order in 3nd Impact where an incoming angel is announced with a (useless) military attack sequence. This is carries on into the Pilot Sync Sequence, which might be either Call of Fourteen or HEX, finished up by an AT sequence and the end of that specific angel.

3nd Impact only covers the first two movies so there’s still content that could be used for a sequel when/if the final movie ever comes out although something new might work better. The angel attack sequences are definitely the highlight, which have kept me coming back numerous times over the last year or so but if you ask me, the rest of the game just doesn’t compare. I would like to see a follow up of some sort since Eva does have a great soundtrack. It’s just that some songs in it are much better than others so maybe those ones could be left out next time.

Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publishers: CyberFront and Bandai Namco Games
Released in 2011
Platform: Playstation Portable

On a side note, please ignore any mistakes or “boring bits” that might have popped up in this weeks post. Due to a busy week, I ended up spending most of my time either at work or sleeping. Things should be back to normal next week though