* Review copy provided by Bandai-Namco
PLATFORMS: PlayStation 3,
DEVELOPER(S): TECMO KOEI Games
RELEASE DATE: August 1st, 2014
PRICE: $39.99 If you’re a Dynasty Warriors fan, this certainly isn’t the first Dynasty Warriors-type game that has come out on the market, and I bet it won’t be the last. With almost 18 years of history, several official Dynasty Warriors games, as well as spinoffs such as Samurai Warriors, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, and the One Piece: Pirate Warrior games have been released as well, some to great critical acclaim, and others…not so much. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn, the newest Dynasty Warriors: Gundam game, as well as an official reboot of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, available only on the Playstation Network.
When you see the name “Dynasty Warriors,” you can probably (more like definitely) imagine what the gameplay is like: hack, slash…HACKINSLASHINMADNESS! For the uninitiated, it’s more or less “run in headfirst and press Square a few times, and pepper in a few presses of Triangle for style,” and that’s pretty much the scope of DW: Gundam Reborn. Just mow down your enemies until you take their spaces over, and then on to the next one like you were Swizz Beats. However, Gundam Reborn does one thing differently. Giant mecha and airborne enemies change up the game significantly, and if you are used to the DW: Gundam formula, then this is nothing new. DW: Gundam Reborn retains a lot of the mechanics from its predecessors, most notably the Jet Gauge and the SP Meter. The Jet Gauge allows you to dash (X) and fly (R1,) but is limited. Dashes can be a valuable asset in combos and against swarms, allowing you to do damage while moving, as well as continuing your combos for max bonuses. What makes this game unique, however, is the Burst System. The Burst System, represented by a meter on the left side of your Heads Up Display (HUD,) allows your Mobile Suit to enter Burst Mode (activated by pressing R2,) allowing for faster and harder strikes, as well as a special SP attack (activated by pressing Circle) if you have a partner “equipped.” These partner attacks can be quite devastating, but are quite visually appealing to look at. (More on that in the next section) Mission wise, in Officlal Mode (the Story Mode of the game,) there are six campaigns available for you from start, Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam Zeta, Char’s Counterattack, Unicorn, Seed and Seed Destiny. In each of these stories, you chronologically play through the events of the anime, typically as the main character (in the case of MSG, Amuro Ray, and in Zeta, Kamille Biden,) unless the campaign calls for a switch of characters, like in MSG’s penultimate main timeline campaign where you temporarily switch from Amuro to Hayato for a short time as Amuro goes after Char Aznable.
Ultimate Mode, the complementary mode to Official Mode is an objective based alternate story mode, where you can mix and match Gundam and pilots to play original versions of the Gundam story. Ultimate Mode is best played FIRST if you are completely new to the series, and want to know more about the game, as Ultimate Mode gives you a tutorial to begin the game. Ultimate Mode also has 3 pieces of DLC to add on to the campaign, each one a retelling of select Gundam series. The only negative to this is that every battle can feel like an eternity. Other than that, the Mobile Suit Lab is easy to navigate, allowing for quick upgrades to your Mobile Suits, and the Lounge gives you access to your learned and earned skills and partners during your campaigns (in Official Mode, you cannot select your partner, they are preselected for you.
Gundam Reborn goes back to the original art style of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, departing from the cel-shaded animations of the previous two entries, allowing for a more realistic look, which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye during gameplay. The character art is true to each generation from 80s Gundam to present, the ever evolving art style never fails to please. Perhaps the best part of Tecmo Koei going back to the original style is the animated cutscenes during the campaign. They’re well animated and action packed, and personally, they’re my favorite part of the campaign.
Typical Gundam fare, if you’re into that kind of stuff. All of the themes have a classical music infusion in some way, and it’s generally pleasing to listen to. You can also use music stored on your hard drive in place of the default themes, which gives the game a little more in the way of customization (I changed the Database theme to Akihiko Sanada’s Persona 4 Arena theme, The Wandering Wolf, por ejemplo.) All of that aside, the music adds a certain aesthetic to the game that cannot be duplicated. Everything is toned correctly, and there is a sense of urgency to every score, making every battle feel intense in some way, shape or form. The only gripe is the lack of an English dub track, but subtitles will suffice.
The Verdict (or Should You Spend Your Hard-Earned Money on This Game?)
For $40 USD, only if you are a fan of the series. There isn’t enough for a someone who is new to the experience to pick up the game and feel justified in spending that amount of money for Gundam Reborn, especially since it’s a Digital-Only purchase on PSN. The repetitive battling, it being the only true negative that I would have for the game, and despite the innovations to make it seem less so, would drive most people away, but if you are at the very least an occasional fan of the Dynasty Warriors themed games, definitely pick up this game.
- Beautiful Visuals
- Enthralling Soundtrack
- Moderate Replay Value
- Plethora of Customization Options
- Repetitive Battle System
- Battles can feel like an eternity
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