During E3 2017, I was fortunate enough to get invited to a closed-door session, where I was able to check out several of Bandai Namco titles. These titles were Ni No Kuno 2, Dragonball FighterZ, Project CARS 2, Ace Combat 7 and Gundam Versus. Being a huge fan of just about every Gunda series (expect Wing), I had to check it out.
Yep, I’m about to get some hands-on and get into some hot, Gundam on Gundam action. But first, we gotta talk about the game. Enter a Bandai Namco representative who greeted me and then began proceeded to tease me with the sheer amount of Gundams available. Pretty sure I had a fanboy moment when he was going over the list of what was playable. You name the show and there are likely several mobile suits from that show in the game. There are even suits from Turn “A” Gundam and Gundam Reconguista in G, which is pretty obscure in North America. On top of that, we started talking about the popularity (or lack of) of Gundam in North America.
Afterward, I got a chance to play the game and provide some input as well as check to see what other Gundams would make the cut. Gameplay wise, this is very similar to Virtua-On. You have access to a melee attack, a ranged attack (which can be depleted with certain suits) a special melee attack, jump, and dash. However, there are some added twists, such as the striker system. Now, when you pick your mobile suit, you get to pick a supporting machine as well. These can range from a Ball, MG’s and other mobile suits, as well as Gundams.
You’re then able to deploy the strikers during combat whenever you choose to. You start out with a limited number of units and unlock them as you play the game. Sadly, I only had a handful to choose from, since no one was really playing the game and had not unlocked any extras. Still, from what I observed, the striker system gives you an advantage on both offense and defense.
During my time with the game, I was able to pick not only my Gundam but three others that were controlled by the CPU. When I was dropped into the game, it was trying to figure out how to stay alive during combat. My first attempt wasn’t so good, as I was being slaughtered. Looking for cover, I hid behind a building, thinking it would protect me. Only it didn’t, as the building was blasted to bits, with me along for the ride. Thankfully, no one else was lined up to play so I was able to get some more turns and inflict my revenge. It definitely takes some time to get used to the game, especially since there’s so much space between you and the enemy. Space that lets them get the jump on you, depending on which Gundam or suit is picked. I like that tactical element.
As far as the available amount of Gundams and other various mobile suits are concerned, there will be more. Sure, the game already had over 90 (I believe that’s what I was told) machines to pick from, but more will be available. There will be various DLC for the game, however, they aren’t mentioned which suits are coming. And for you Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphan fans, Barbatos is in there. Before you get too excited, it’s just the first form. We do know that Barbatos Lupus is coming as DLC, as well. Though, I’m going to imagine it may be awhile before we get the final form.
There was no sign of anything from any of the Gundam Build Fighter animes. Mainly because the show used existing suits, outside of the exclusive ones used the series. I looked over and over for both the Build Burning Gundam, Star Build Strike Gundam, and Kamiki Burning Gundam, only to be told they weren’t in the game. Though it’s quite possible they could be added later on down the road.
Let’s hope that happens.
As for what Bandai Namco is looking to do, it’s quite clear. This is their first PS4 Gundam game that features this sort of combat and their hopes are that this will be picked up by a certain community. More specifically, the fighting game community. As I was told, this is a big risk and they’re hoping that this game takes off. This also plays a big part as to how fan Bandai Namco will go with supporting the game. The only issue I see with that is that the FGC is already flooded, and pretty soon there will be more games, including Bandai Namco’s own Dragonball FighterZ. Still, there’s a future there, I can sense it with my Newtype abilities. So, as one Gundam fan to another, please pick up this game. That way, we’ll get more.
I also asked if Gundam Versus would get collector’s edition treatment. Apparently that has been discussed and Japan does like collector editions, however, that’s still up in the air. Once could only hope that this ends up happening. CE’s are easily some of my favorite things to collect and a Gundam related CE would be the icing on the cake. Notice I didn’t say it would make the game an instant sale because I’m already sold on it.
Sadly I wasn’t able to capture any footage of the game as Bandai Namco was all over anyone who attempted. Still, the game looks good, runs great and has a nice feel to it. The only complaint I had, outside of the Burning Build Gundam not been in the game, was the UI looked a bit rough. Still, the game is still in development and I suspect that the UI look will change.
Gundam Versus is also a PlayStation 4-only experience. It wasn’t a decision to not port it to the Xbox or PC. Instead, it just comes down to Japan and their love with the PlayStation 4. It’s the leading system in the country and as such, Xbox One and PC gamers who want to check this out will need a PlayStation 4. There are no plans to release this on any other platform.
Trust me, if you’re a fan of Gundams and Gunpla, then Gundam Versus will not disappoint you.
Gundam Versus releasing this July Japan, while the North American release will hit during Fall 2017. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check the rest of our E3 2017 coverage, here.