Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dynasty Warriors Gundam (PS3, 360) Review

Last week, the sequel to Dynasty Warriors Gundam launched on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Playstation 2. Hopefully I'll scrounge up a copy to review, but for now, let's look back at the original with this classic review.

Dynasty Warriors? In MY Gundam?!

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The Dynasty Warriors series has existed for the past decade with critical success. However, the Mobile Suit Gundam anime predates that by twenty years or so. Both have high popularity, so why not combine the two into one game? Well, Namco-Bandai and Koei decided to do just that with Dynasty Warriors: Gundam-- a Gundam fan's wet-dream.

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(Promotional artwork for Dynasty Warriors: Gundam.)

Players take on the roles of various mobile suit pilots from the earliest roots of Amuro Ray and the Red Comet, Char Aznable, in Mobile Suit Gundam stretching all the way to the likes of Heero Yuy and Miliardo Peacecraft from (Mobile Suit) Gundam Wing. If those names escape you, don't worry. They're more for the fans anyway. Additionally, their mobile suits and Gundams are all present and accounted for as well as most of the voice actors who played their parts.

There's two main modes to Dynasty Warriors: Gundam: Official and Original. Official places players deep into the struggles of one of six available campaigns. Most of the affairs are a four mission ordeal taking players in control of the various pilots of the Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam series, following loosely the stories behind the shows. Original mode is just that-- an original story. It's set upon a mysterious red planet heading towards a collision course with the Earth, and a wide variety of mobile suit pilots from the various series are on the planet to either help or hurt your progress. There's up to sixteen pilots (once they're all unlocked) to select from, and each have their own allies and enemies to deal with. This mode also introduces a Gundam completely exclusive to this game, the Dynasty Warriors-inspired Musha Gundam. This mode is essentially your All-Star mode. In Heero Yuy's campaign he'll be fighting under the tutelage of the Undefeated of the East-- Master Asia. There's really no explanation as to how the pilots and MSes from different series and centuries are fighting together and/or against each other, but it's better left unsaid if you don't want a migraine.

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A game where being outnumbered isn't necessarily defeat.

When you reach the battlefield in your mobile suit, you'll discover that someone must have been mass-producing these suckers. There's a lot of mobile suits on the expansive battlefields to slice and dice to beautiful pieces. Game flow is rather simple, the enemy has fields on the map (indicated by a red grid) that they have under control. It's in these areas that back-up can arrive. The aim of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is take over the various areas occupied by the enemy. How does one do this? Well, thankfully brawn is advised over brain, so kicking ass, of course. By defeating a myriad of mobile suits in the enemy's field you can take it over. Sometimes you'll need to extinguish an enemy commander to acquire the field. Your fields will also be a drop-off point for your side's mobile suits. Nonetheless, the enemy can take over your own fields to add some challenge.

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Take pilot of numerous different mobile suits.

Unlike some Gundam games, you can actually use that shield of yours to block attacks. This locks onto the direction you're holding the analog stick. Doing this can be a little wonky with the camera. You can boost with A, and even fly up into the air and jet away from dangerous predicaments. He who lives to run away, right? However, if you prefer getting up close and personal with your foes, slashing through wave after wave of enemies is quite simple. You use the X button to attack with your beam saber, and press Y to shoot your beam cannon. These buttons in conjunction will unleash devastating combo attacks. Also, if you have enough energy in your SP gauge (by giving or taking damage), you can let loose a powerful special attack to take care of foes more easily. Each mobile suit has their own special attack and variations as you level up. Well, what the hell is leveling up, you ask? By defeating swarms of enemies, you'll notice your pilot skill and mobile suit skills raising. This increases attacks, your special abilities, and the ease of piloting your mobile suit. Each pilot and MS have their own levels, so choosing a new pilot or MS makes you start with a pilot and MS at Level 1. Furthermore there's skills and parts that you can apply to each MS you use.

Each mission has set victory conditions. These range from saving your home base to defeating an enemy commander. Enemy commanders have much more health than your average mobile suit, and they can even unleash special attacks of their own. Sometimes you'll need to protect one of your allies or a number of allies from being destroyed. The AI isn't too terribly bright though. The enemies (not including commanders or "aces" as they're called in the game) usually sit around you waiting to be hacked and slashed to oblivion (and no, not the good RPG of Oblivion, either). Besides ace allies, your back-up squads are pretty much brain-dead. They'll simply crowd around an enemy asking them how the weather is instead of exchanging blows with one another. Some of your ally aces though can actually take out a decent chunk of foes as well as enemy aces.

Blasting away foes alone is all and well, but doing it with a friend is even better. Unfortunately there is no Xbox Live play whatsoever in this title, but two local players can do all of the Official and Original mode missions together. There's no penalty or raise in difficulty for this either. This makes all of the missions much easier to complete with one MS capturing one field while the other protects the home front. Conversely, two players can opt to beat the living hell out of their mobile suits in the three versus modes.

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In addition to land combat,
space combat is also prevalent in this title.

The presentation of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is top-notch. As previously stated nearly all of the voice actors reprise their roles. I'm not a huge Gundam freak, but I do know that Heero Yuy (Gundam Wing) and Domon Kashu (G Gundam) have different voices to them for whatever reason(s). Some dialogue actually repeats itself quite normally in combat. The Red Comet certainly has a tongue for uttering out "I don't think so" after every combo. Maybe he's like me and has watched Christopher Lambert as Raiden in Mortal Kombat too many times. Regardless, the voice acting is done very well except for some very and obviously cheesy snippets of speech. The music is rather good, also. It doesn't sound like generic Japanese butt-rock which is a pleasant surprise. Graphically, the mobile suits are nice and detailed. There's a lot of them on screen at one time without any slowdown. However, the environments look bland in textures, but do have a lot of details in the form of trees, buildings, and roads. A lot of maps as well repeat themselves over campaigns.

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The person who figured out how to mass-produce
these babies needs a bonus.

One of the biggest criticisms of the Dynasty Warriors series is repetition-- and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of it. There's a lot of repeated actions in this game-- though there are a variety of MS to beat down. You'll find yourself pounding through enemy after enemy after enemy ad infinitum. Also, a sometimes disruptive camera can cause additional frustration. This will probably turn off a bunch of players who dive into this game for the long run. However, the rest of us will find a very rewarding title. There's a lot to do, unlock, and MS and their pilots to play as. Co-op with a friend is a blast, as well. This title very much does the Gundam franchise well, and it's great to see a better-made Gundam title (the last actually good ones were Gundam Battle Assault 2 and Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo). Is Dynasty Warriors: Gundam the perfect Gundam title? Of course not. Is it the best Dynasty Warriors game? Depends. Do you prefer feudal Japan or Side 7? This title is at least worth a rental to any curious Gundam fan or Dynasty Warriors fanatic. Gundams are go.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]

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