Review By: Nick Arvites
|Publisher:||Namco Bandai / Koei|
|# Of Players:||1-2|
|Accessories:||Xbox Live (online play), HDTV 720p|
Just in case you don't know it, the Gundam series in Japan is kind of a big deal. A friend of mine who is more in touch with the gaming scene in Japan informed me that Gundam games are on the same level as, say, Madden or some other massive franchise here in the U.S. I have no idea if this is true or not (and really, spare me the emails telling me if it is), but I do know that Bandai has not managed to duplicate this success in the West. My personal experience with Gundam games is pretty frustrating. The two I played on the PS2 were mech combat sims (which I’m a longtime fan of), and I just wasn’t impressed with the bad control schemes and sluggish graphics. Really, a quick look at Gundam game history on the Internet (including ourselves) has shown me that not many, if any at all have ever managed to capture the feel of the anime series.
Gundam’s general lack of success outside of Japan might have something to do with the shows themselves getting little airtime in recent years. While alternate universe Gundam Wing experienced success in the early days of Cartoon Network’s Toonami block, that success has never been parlayed towards the other shows. I’m personally a fan, and I cut my teeth watching English subtitled bootlegs a few years before Toonami even existed. I know the general stories of the main shows, although they aren’t fresh in my head, and I’ve watched a few of the other, alternate universe shows as well. With all that in mind, I can say that Dynasty Warriors Gundam is the best Gundam game ever made, and is worth owning for all Gundam fans.
The game plays exactly as the name suggests. Bandai and Koei have combined the Gundam franchise with the Dynasty Warriors franchise. The end result is, to put it simply, robots smashing through other robots. The Dynasty Warriors series usually puts you in medieval Asia and allows you to control a general in a large-scale battle. Here, they put you in control of one of the featured pilots from a Gundam series during large-scale battles. This format actually works. Your suit, like its anime counterpart, cuts through wave after wave of grunt troops. Other pilots act as enemy commanders or generals, and they’re harder to kill than the normal troops. This allows you to recreate the often longer battle scenes between pilots, and keeps the game from being too easy.
Power ups are dropped by enemies or crates, and they can heal you or provide temporary boosts. Parts found on the battlefield can be turned into spare parts at the end of missions, which provides statistical boosts to your suit. Each suit and pilot has a level rating, and as they level up their abilities improve. Pilots also acquire special skills which grant them special abilities. They can equip two unique skills and four general skills for a variety of different abilities.
There are two different types of game modes: Original and Official. Original is the mode showcased in the demo available on Xbox Live. This mode has some plot that never really gets explained (a planet is falling into the Earth or something) and every Gundam pilot across every show in every timeline is on it fighting each other. This is where you get to play as the sole Gundam Wing representative or two people from G Gundam. Official Mode allows you to recreate the campaigns as seen in the original Gundam show and its immediate sequels Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ. The stories in the Official Mode are conveyed through the permission briefings, pilot chatter during the missions, and in-mission cutscenes.
Posted: 2007-10-23 15:27:40 PST