Experience/Opinions – Not quite a review. Not quite a preview. Something else.
So here’s where I sit in the fandom for Gundam; I own Gundam Seed on DVD but the model for Freedom remains in it’s box. I loved Endless Waltz but hated Wing. I’ve played almost every Dynasty Gundam game but never finished the Generations strategy ones. In short I understand it and I’m still trying to finish watching Unicorn but I couldn’t give you the technical specs of each robot. So as with the Destiny 2 Beta Exp Ops here’s a look into the mindset of an old fan playing the recent Beta and we’ll both find out together if it’s worth that pre-order now?
The games starts off with a really good cgi fanservice of mech and …wait… dubstep? Well ok… This is Gundam now?… Ok this sorta works. Onwards!
So, bit of an odd start to the game. Read parts 9 on IN-GAME CURRENCY and VIRTUAL ITEMS and 11 on USER CONTENT in the EULA.
It’s already worse off for Microtransactions (No full priced game ever needs them) and the user content Eula isn’t great. It’s not terrible but essentially Bandai Namco can copy anything you make or do using footage without asking. As long as they don’t use this to strike youtubers unfairly then it should be fine.
Why did I even mention the EULA you ask? Well for the Beta; you have to slowly scroll through it all to progress. It’s odd given most are snap straight to (or at the very least a faster way to scroll through). Still it’ll be interesting if this makes it to the full game.
Enough EULA nonsense. Onto the game!
hmm first things first, lets see if the Freedom made the cut. Holy crap! That’s a lot of Gundam stuff o_O! like a G Generation strategy game amount! Literally from classic, G, W, Z, O, Seed, Unicorn and that’s just to name a few. Apparently they managed to add in over 90 units and I’m quickly believing that!
Ok so it has an interesting loading screen and ui! Sounds trivial but remember Bloodbourne only had a black logo to stare at so it helps.
Awesome it’s subbed. Not that I mind the dub to be honest. Shame there’s no option in the beta but with these action games a Japanese audio default is preferable.
So the options are a little strange. Survival first, Single Player Campaign next and then the various Verses and online options. Then after a few games it all becomes clear why.
The Single Player Arcade mode is fairly simple. A few pre-baked missions against the AI which you play through, it reminds me of the setup Hyrule Warriors had for it’s campaign (not a bad thing).
Now lets see why Survival is top. Oh, This is no ordinary survival mode.
You start in a standard area with a few waves coming at you. Some missions are a few vs others against large drop ships. The matches are short but the loading isn’t too bad. At the end of each few there’s a boss wave. It even has an interval power up system where you trade some BP you wasn’t through playing for boosts. All fairly normal.
However (assuming you chose ‘PLAY ONLINE’ at the start) at random before a wave starts you can be pulled into an EXTRA WAVE which could be anything from a standard 3vs3 to a “anything goes” brawl. The more I played of survival the more varied bonus waves I’d see. Pulled online to a more challenging boss wave where you and others online fight a giant mech/ship for booty or a score attack mode where the person who killed the most mining mechs won the match. The truly cool thing is even if you lose you get some points and carry on with your single player survival run after. Now there is a caveat with the Extra Waves and that is the Boss matches were the only time lag raised it’s ugly head but this is a Beta and even when it kicked me due to an error (likely timeout) there was no penalty and I was able to carry on my survival run as before. Which at the end of the day is the most important aspect of this stuff.
So how does piloting a huge mech feel? Great. The controls are spot on for the most part. Using the touch pad for quick changes to team mates, managing your weapons and pulling a cool combo is awesome but boost dashing by flicking the analogue twice is frustrating and targeting/camera control is a bit fiddly. Again this is more a niggle fits piloting a giant Gundam anyways.
Graphics are simply stunning which makes the blocked Screenshot function for the Beta even stranger. Very smooth on all the Gundams seen and a light cel shaded outline that just looks fantastic. Even the lighting, the auras of the lazer blasts and frame rate is brilliant. The only downside so far is the terrain is a little dull but then the focus point of the game is the Gundams, blasts, explosions and what was I quibling about again? Oh and I have a LOT of love for the victory poses.
Sounds and audio are spot on Spacey pews mixed with heavy crunch and pilots shouting. The music (aside from the questionable intro) is spot on. The menu music especially would easily be mistaken from an anime series soundtrack with militaristic orchestral tones that convey urgency.
So I’ve said all this but not really explained how it works. That’s largely because the gameplay is really unique. Similar to the previous PSP Gundam games more than Dynasty Gundam series. The closest comparison really is slow Dragon Ball Z: Budokai but that really doesn’t do it justice. With multiple units, using ranged attacks to crowd control and getting in close for combos the closest comparison I suppose is Virtual-On.
The game appears to be really deep to. Multiple Gundam setups for both teams and support. Not to mention Blaze or Lightning setups for your “super” moment. So far the game does appear balanced so far; freedom Gundam has huge lasers but the targeting isn’t great, smaller Gundam have strong mellee attacks. Hugely powerful ones like Wing Zero have lighter armour (from what I can tell).
So yeah, it’s packed with nice little touches: The Strike Gundam’s special is swapping its setup between a Beam sword and it’s standard rifle/shield combo, the Wing Zero has a flight mode and you see a little picture of Lacus when Kira uses his super in the freedom. What started off as “just another Gundam game” ended up being the closest thing to a next gen Gundam Mech action blastoff! If you have any interest in Gundam this is gonna be great for you! Well assuming Microtransations don’t ruin it mind.
Gundam Versus releases in Europe – September 29th.