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1PStart Review: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam

by JW


You know, of all the franchises that scream “video game”, Gundam is it. I mean, think about it; you have giant robots with swords and guns beating the hell out of each other. Sure enough, there have been many cracks at a good Gundam game, but sadly, none of them have ever really lived up to the Gundam license.

Dynasty Warriors Gundam does it’s best to change that. Does it succeed? Keep reading and find out.

First of all, if you’ve ever played a Dynasty Warriors game since Dynasty Warriors 2 on the PS2, you’ve basically played this game. Luckily for me, I haven’t, so I didn’t approach Dynasty Warriors Gundam with the same sense of “more of the same” that so many other reviewers did.

There are two primary gameplay modes: Official, where you play through popular story-arcs throughout Gundam lore, and Original, which has you playing through an all-new storyline which provides an excuse to throw together every character in the game together in one giant All-Star Gundam war. The only issue I had here is that, outside the original Mobile Suit Gundam, I really had no idea who anyone is, and the game’s story progresses under the assumption that you know who everyone is. For fans of the series, this is fine, but for people who are really only getting into Gundam for the first time, this will probably only lead to confusion.

There are also a couple of multiplayer modes which allow you and a friend to play together through campaign modes, as well as two competitive modes: A one-on-one fighting mode, and a sort of race mode where you try to see who can clear an area the quickest.

During gameplay, you’ll guide your Gundam across a rather large map, broken up into different areas, hacking and slashing through wave after wave of nameless look-a-like enemies as you take control of different sections of the level map. That’s really all you do. While you do have boss battles, the gameplay remains largely the same as you smack the attack button over and over again until your enemy drops. To keep you in the game, a basic RPG-like system has been implemented. Through battles, both your pilot and Gundam will level up, and through boss battles you earn new parts to help upgrade your Gundam. While it will keep you coming back for a little while, this really extends the replay value only so much.

Much of the game’s many storylines are told through in-game cut-scenes and little pop-up text bars that appear during gameplay. This wouldn’t be a problem, except the game will interrupt you in the middle of a fight to show you a 30-second cut-scene of you and another Gundam fighting, before snapping you back into the middle of the giant crowd of enemies. I found this to be a little jarring, and it took me out of the game a bit each time it happened.

The sound design in the game is the proverbial mixed bag. While the sound effects are all serviceable, the voice acting ranges from good to what I affectionately refer to as “Ohgodshutupshutupshutup!”. Honestly, after about two plays through the official mode, I had to switch over to the Japanese voice overs and read the translated text. The music is the highlight. It fits the game perfectly. Unfortunately, you’ll hear the same two or three songs over and over again.

Graphically, the game is a slight disappointment. The unit models, while all accurate to the franchise, lack the detail you’ve come to expect from games on this generation of consoles. This is the Xbox 360 (or PS3) for cryin’ out loud. You expect better. However, this is partly forgiven due to the sheer number of enemies on screen at one time, and the fact that at no point does this game suffer from framerate issues. Not even when you’re powering up, and engaging in a special attack (which is very, very colorful) does this game slow down. So, while I would have liked to see a little more detail in models, I can forgive it. I do, however, commend the developers for getting each and every Gundam accurate, down to the smallest detail from the show.

The environments, on the other hand, are fairly unimpressive. Whether it be in a forest, a city or in space, you have large areas of bland emptiness which, when you have giant robots beating the hell out of each other, reminded me of the old Godzilla films. Also, and this isn’t a knock on the game so much as it is a random question, but… why does space have a floor? Just asking, people.

Look, is Dynasty Warriors: Gundam going to win any awards? No. But while I definitely have my gripes with it, in the end it provided me with what any game should provide the player: A sense of fun. I enjoyed this game immensely, and as someone who has played his fair share of Gundam games over the ages, I can say with total confidence that this is the best Gundam game to date. Is there room for improvement? Of course. But, if you do consider yourself a Gundam fan, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up.


Other JW Reviews: Spider-Man 3, Aegis Wing, Transformers: The Game

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3 Responses to “1PStart Review: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam”

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