Super Robot Wars EX is not only the first Gaiden Game for Super Robot Wars, it's an odd one at that: looking like the love-child between Super Robot Wars 3 and Super Robot Wars 4 in terms of its visuals, the battle engine of EX is slightly less crippled than 3, but nowhere near what 4 offers. Fortunately, Banpresto decided to add in unit weapon upgrades, after the blatantly Nintendo Hard scenarios that plagued nearly early player in 3.
Unlike its predecessors, EX is the first Super Robot Wars installment to set itself in Another Dimension, more specifically, the subterranean home of Masaki Andoh, "La Gias". EX offers a new direction at letting players see where the interrupting Masaki comes from, after helping the heroes out in Super Robot Wars 2 and 3. Simultaneously, more original characters are introduced, namely the rest of the Masou Kishin ("Elemental Lords") cast that reappear in subsequent titles. EX features the "Multiple Scenario" system, where the plot is determined by the order the player selects the storyline. In this game, events are determined from the viewpoint of three characters: Masaki, Lune Zoldark and Shu Shirakawa.
When the Second Super Robot Wars Original Generation adapated the events of EX, which includes the debut of the Masou Kishin cast into the main Original Generation Continuity, only Masaki and Lune's routes are playable; Shu's scenario is available as a separate Downloadable Content campaign called "Dark Prison", but was earlier bundled in the premium edition of Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Infinite Battle.
Tropes common to this game are:
- Bag of Spilling: Averted for first time in Super Robot Wars - characters from previous games start with their upgraded Mecha instead of their usual starters (the "Holy Trinity" of Getter Robo, Mazinger Z and Mobile Suit Gundam start with the Getter Dragon, Mazinger Z Jet Scrander and Nu Gundam).
- Civil War: The events of EX has rolled out the "Langran Civil Wars", between the heroic "Kingdom of Langran" and the ambitious "Shutendonias Alliance".
- Clarke's Third Law: Directly quoted in the Second Original Generation - the design specifications of a "Masouki" (Elemental Machine) is nearly identical to a Personal Trooper. One of the few things that cannot be analyzed is a Masouki's power source.
- Fighting Your Friend
- Gaiden Game: The first for the franchise - players don't really need to play 2 or 3 to enjoy EX, but it does help establish parts of 4/F/F Final and Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden.
- Necessarily Evil: Mixed with Well-Intentioned Extremist - Prince Feilord Grania Bilseia plans to conquer all of La Gias due to a being terminally ill and won't live long, thus he wishes to unite the subterranean world to ensure everlasting peace. Also, General Kirkus Zan Valfarbia, who's secretly cooperating with Luozorl Zoran Roiel so he can complete the Super Masouki "Euclid", believes it will provide Langran with enough power to oppose Shutendonias.
- Original Generation: Aside from the recurring Masaki, Lune and Shu, the Heralds of the Elemental Lords Hwang Yang Long, Tytti Noorbuck and Mio Sasuga make their debut in EX, including many other characters of La Gias that reappear in future Masou Kishin-centered storylines.
- Summoning Ritual: How the surface dwellers, as in all the licensed series, make their way into La Gias. Turns out Feilord was responsible for the mass summoning.
- Trapped in Another World: The first attempt of SRW on going 'Isekai', especially with the debut of the granddaddy of Isekai anime, Aura Battler Dunbine. Hence, aside of La Gias, Byston Well is also involved.