So Gaist Crusher got released this week and while most importers like yours truly are waiting go get their hands on the game, we’re going to take a look at the Gaimetal gimmick and what it does with the demo.
First of all, the Gaimetal gimmick can be thought of some sort of DLC, as you need to purchase the toys in order to get the content. Then again, with Gaimetal purchase you get a transforming toy, so that’s more plus than just buying five dollar mission off PSN. The comparison isn’t all that accurate thou. However, it’s really damn neat to know that the gimmicks works on the demo too, and this sort of use of real-world object to get something in a game is pretty good. Unlike with the Skylanders or Disney Infinity, the Gaimetals are more like toys that transform between the crystal and animal form. Skylanders and D.Infinity figures are just statues.
Anyway, the thing you get while buying a Gaimetal toy is the Gaist Gear of said toy, eg. if you buy Flame Fenrir, you get its Gear. However, these Gears seem to be stronger than the ones you can acquire in-game with different attacks. While I can’t yet say if the main characters can switch between their main Gears, it is possible through using a Gaimetal to unlock that particular character-specific Gear for another character. Next to opening the Gaist Gear in question, the Gaimetals come with a base, that has its own little thing; they contain a unlockable mission from which you can gain a new Gaist Gear. These missions also are slightly harder than what the normal missions are, at least what the demo missions were.
Now, before getting my hands on two sets, I had no clue how the camera would recognize what set was being showed to it, and in hindsight I feel stupid for not realizing that these things use simple QR Codes are shown above. If you have the access to the demo or to the game, you can actually use the Search Mode to scan both codes shown above. You also need to scan the codes once, and that’s that. The demo doesn’t save any data, but I am certain that there is no need to re-scan any of the QR Codes in the proper game, unless you start a new game.
The Gaimetals in general are good, cheap toys. The build quality is surprisingly good and can clearly withstand a beating. The transformations, while simple, are rather intuitive and they manage to cram quite a lot of phases into a palm sized gemstone. The transformation sequence and gemstone shape takes priority over the articulation of the toy, and as such some nice small details does not exist, like moving jaws on Flame Fenrir. It would have been neat, but it’s not a big deal at all. Because of the transparent plastic, the paint application also shines through to some extent, thou in Fenrir it’s less harder to see than in Lighting Dragoon.
The comparison above shows that nicely how well the plaint application comes out from inside the you. Lighting Dragoon’s gold and purple shaded silver come through the deep purple plastic really well and looks nice and natural. The promo photos of other Gaimetals show the same thing, which is a bit sad when you notice how little silver Flame Fenrir’s gemstone mode shows.
For a 700yen toys, Gaimetals have a nice price-quality range. They’re affordable and highly collectable to boot. They are additional cost to the unlockables in the game, and my personal opinion on this is that I’d rather buy these extra missions and Gears in this sort of physical form than put same amount of money into a downloadable mission pack. I do believe that some Japanese fans already have a Wikia of some sorts up, where they’re listing all the possible QR Codes for people to use, which is a nice thing for the importers, but falls into the gray area where it could be called piracy of sorts. However, this also means all the players have access to all the QR Codes, promotional or not, and I do admit that thought attracts me.
The bottom line is that this is a really nicely done cross-platform franchise. While the Gaimetals are completely optional, they do allow add that something into the whole deal. If they toys had lesser quality, I wouldn’t even consider purchasing any more of these, but because they are a nifty extra for relatively cheap price, I can see Japanese parents buying these for their kids. For importers like me, the postage costs can be higher than the price of the you itself unless bundled together, and that’s a problem when we take notice how low the current customs limits are here.
The problem with all this is that Gaist Crusher may end up being just a Japanese franchise. Sure, we have seen Beyblade and other simple toy based series getting a Western adaptation, but in Gaist Crusher case the kids would have a need for the 3DS console too, which is a problem. As such, it would take a lot of money to promote both the console further than what is now with the game, then have the cartoon promoting itself, the game, toys and possible comics. It all takes a lot of money, and even thou CAPCOM isn’t in this alone, I doubt that Bandai is willing to take the risk if the game doesn’t become a success in Japan. Even if it does, it would still have to be a big success. We’ll have to see at the end of Q2 of 2014 how Gaist Crusher did to say anything else.