In most cases, putting the Gundam label on a video game is the same as putting “this game sucks” on the front cover. All the way back to when the first 3-D Gundam games started showing up, they’ve rarely gotten better than mediocre reviews here in North America. It also didn’t help that the first Gundam game for this current generation of consoles – the PS3’s Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire – was a massive failure among American audiences.
So one might expect Dynasty Warriors Gundam, a title blending the increasingly-formulaic Dynasty Warriors franchise with the Gundam franchise, might be another dud in the making. Instead, what comes of this marriage of franchises is the best Gundam game to come to North America in quite some time. Yes, it’s still hack-and-slash game play similar to what Dynasty Warriors is known for, but for some reason, the Gundam franchise finally feels at home in this exact genre.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam features two game play modes and 17 characters, from the original Mobile Suit Gundam to newer series like Gundam Wing and G-Gundam. However, more of the emphasis seems to be on the older series from which many of the game’s characters are drawn.
The two game play modes are really only different in what characters are in them. Original Mode is based off the older series like Mobile Suit Gundam, and thus, features characters and a storyline from the older series. Meanwhile, Original Mode features a brand-new story created just for the game and features characters from across the entire Gundam saga on the same battlefield. Also of note is a gallery mode, featuring all of the suits and characters you run into during the game, which is kind of a cool feature for the Gundam fan, as it gives information and history behind the Mobile Suits and characters.
Since this title is built on the Dynasty Warriors engine, the game play style is, of course, of the hack-and-slash variety. Like the other games in Koei’s long-running franchise, you’ll be mashing buttons to mow down enemies and fill your power meter for massive special attacks. Most of the game’s missions involve capturing certain areas of the game field, defeating enemies as they appear, and/or saving your allies from an ass-kicking. Sound familiar Dynasty Warriors fans?
Likewise, the controls are awfully similar to past Dynasty Warriors games. The game forgoes using the triggers for anything besides changing the map, instead opting to use the face buttons for attacking and movement-related things like dashing and jumping. Strafing is also implemented well in this title and is quite useful when you’re trying to dodge an aggressive enemy or twenty.
The Mobile Suits and animations in the game look pretty damn good, though the environments are really, really sparse. While the game does a nice job of establishing the scale of the Mobile Suits… there’s just not enough around to make you feel like you’re fighting over bases and cities, and that’s a let down. All of the sound clips are taken directly from the various Gundam series, so everything sounds like it should. All of the appropriate voice actors for the game’s characters are also back – both English and Japanese. Nice.
Like the Dynasty Warriors games, there are plenty of reasons to keep going back and playing. Unlocking most of the game’s achievements, ranging from reaching the max pilot level with one character to beating Original Mode with all available characters, will definitely require you to go back and replay the game. On top of that, traditional Dynasty Warriors reasons for replaying the game (leveling up characters, finding the best power-ups in the game and finding every little last thing for your collections) are all there, and Dynasty Warriors Gundam also supports three different multiplayer modes. The only disappointment is the game doesn’t have Xbox Live support, so no online multiplayer fun is included.
This is not a game for everybody. If you don’t like Gundam or Dynasty Warriors, then don’t even bother with this game. They weren’t targeting you with this title, anyways. But if you love either, or you just love some mindless button mashing every once in a while – which probably means you’re a Dynasty Warriors fan – then this is something you’ll like. It does what it does well, and while the environments could’ve used a bit more work, it passes as the first good Gundam title in a long, long while.
Pros: A must-have for the old-school Gundam fan. Hack-and-slash game play style fits well with the Gundam franchise. Easy to jump in and play, but also presents enough challenge for veteran players.
Cons: Newer Gundam series are far under-represented. No Xbox Live support. Doesn’t add much new to the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Environments seem sparse/empty.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence and Mild Language. This game can also be found on: PS3.Powered by Sidelines