Macross: My Boyfriend is a Pilot 2012 is the newest game included in one of Bandai-Namco's hybrid packs which attach a brand new game to its corresponding anime for the Blu-ray release. In this case, MBIAP 2012 is attached to the HD remaster of the classic 1984 film, Macross Do You Remember Love. We already talked about how these Macross Hybrid packs are more than your average DVD/Blu-ray extras, but is Macross: My Boyfriend is a Pilot 2012 anything more than new coat of paint on the past two hybrid pack titles?
Without a doubt this is the best looking Macross game ever made. Whether it's flying through the rings of Saturn or attacking a Zentradi armada, the eye candy doesn't disappoint. But the real star of the show isn't the environments, it's the transforming planes. Every detail of the planes is amazing. The little maneuvering jets react to even your tiniest touch, and transforming is fluid to boot. Add in the missile spam, bullets and explosions and you've got a game that turns flashy presentation into an art form. Best of all, there's absolutely no graphics lag, no matter how hectic it gets.
When I looked at the first Macross hybrid pack back in March, my biggest complaint was the lack of a save feature. Luckily, this problem was fixed in the second hybrid pack and remains
fixed here. Moreover, little touches like more varied loading screens and more menu options makes it feel more and more like a complete game.
The most enjoyable new option, however, is the ability to replace any of the game's music tracks with any MP3 on your PS3's hard drive. So if you can think of any music that would go especially well with missile spam, now's your chance.
Perhaps both the best and worst thing about the three Macross hybrid pack games is that they are basically cherry-picked HD remasters of levels from the—admittedly excellent—PSP titles
Macross Ace Frontier, Macross Ultimate Frontier and Macross Triangle Frontier—the first two of which I have played to completion. So imagine my surprise when I ran into a stage I had never seen before. In the middle of a battle among the buildings of a city inside a ship, the whole stage began to rotate until the city was no longer the ground but a building-filled wall. Not only was this incredibly cool gameplay wise, it mirrors one of Do You Remember Love's most famous scenes.
But while MBIAP 2012 moves away from its PSP precursors in some ways, it stubbornly holds on to others. Worst among these are the dated controls. The PSP games use a lock-on mechanic instead of free camera control which makes moving the camera when there are no enemies around just this side of impossible. While this is not so much of a problem in space battle, inside tight areas like the corridors of an enemy ship you will be running into walls and flying blindly down hallways, praying to be able to lock on to your next enemy. On the PSP, nothing can really be done about this; but on the PS3, the second thumb stick could easily be used for camera control, turning these stages from frustrating to enjoyable in an instant. However, three games in and the second thumbstick remains nothing more than a second set of movement controls (in addition to the D-Pad)—much to the game's detriment.
Like the previous two Macross hybrid pack games, Macross: My Boyfriend is a Pilot 2012 provides a good two hours of content in addition to its attached movie. And while it is the best looking Macross game so far, the controls really do hold it back. As far as a Blu-ray/DVD extra title, it is undoubtedly the best ever made and is certainly worth a play. But if the plan is to transform this game and/or its siblings into an HD Macross game at full retail price, then there is certainly some work still to be done.
Macross: My Boy Friend is a Pilot 2012 was released on July 26, 2012, for the PlayStation 3 as part of the Macross: Do You Remember Love Hybrid Pack. Stay tuned to Kotaku East for the review of the film later this week.