Over this past weekend, Bandai Namco had sent out codes to fans of Mobile Suit Gundam so that they could check out their latest game in beta; Gundam Evolution. No, not Mobile Suit Gundam Evolution, just Gundam Evolution. The game was very similar to another title, Blizzard’s Overwatch. I got in 10 hours’ worth of matches throughout the beta, and I have a lot to say about the game. So, let’s get to it.
What is Gundam Evolution
Gundam Evolution is a 6 vs. 6 hero shooter, similar to Blizzard’s Overwatch. The game is also Free to Play. Or rather, it will be when the game releases. The world of Gundam is very different from that of other giant robots and mechas. Many of the suits don’t experience traditional weaknesses, such as being clunky or unable to turn quickly or stop on a dime. This isn’t the case in the world of Gundam (and various other mobile suits). The further you get into the Gundam series, the more complex the control methods get and the faster and more maneuverable they become. This translates to the mobile suits you’ll play in Gundam Evolution. Don’t expect these suits to move very fast because they don’t. Still, the game is comparable to various first-person shooters. Hey, it’s Gundam – go with it.
The beta consisted of several mobile suits from various Gundam anime, from the original Gundam anime to Gundam Seed. And while the beta was limited on the number of mobile suits available, don’t worry, as Bandai Namco has assured us that more mobile suits from the various Mobile Suit Gundam animes will be added to the full game over time. I’m just hoping we see some stuff from Gundam Build Fighters – don’t give me that look. That Burning Gundam was intriguing.
Included in the beta were 12 suits that you could pick from the start while being able to unlock two others; the Marasai and Gundam Exia
GN-001 Gundam Exia
Turn A Gundam
RGM-79SP GM Sniper II
ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos
MS-06 Zaku II
RX-80PR Pale Rider
The beta included several maps that included a capture-the-point, domination, and destruction (plant the bomb). The matches weren’t anything that I hadn’t played before, and those matches’ outcomes depended on what type of suit both teams picked. Sometimes they were down to the wire; others were complete stomps. To that point, Gundam Evolution is very team-based. If you aren’t working with your team and decide to run out by yourself, you didn’t last long. It didn’t matter which suit you had; you would be demolished. And the team would suffer.
The pace of the game was very quick. Players will rack up kill streaks, depending on their skill or ability to exploit the mobile suits. However, the game is dying for most players, respawn, repeat. I admit there were times when I was constantly being killed off and switching up mobile suits until I found one I enjoyed. Or one that was better suited for the match at hand.
It did take some time to learn the ins and outs of each suit. Each had its specific strengths and weaknesses, which made them unique. Take my favorite, the Guntank for example. It had a nice range on its weapons and could be used to create choke points or mow down weakened enemies. Its ultimate or the G-ability could also take out multiple units if used correctly. However, it couldn’t take hits, and it was slow. Its main weapons that could shred enemies were given a visual cooldown and would glow red, showing that they needed to cool down before they would become effective again. Another of the Guntank’s weapons, its two massive cannons, was placed on a lengthy 10-second cooldown. Each suit was like that, and you just had to figure out how to use it.
However, if I had to suggest Bandai Namco, it would be to NERF GUNDAM BARBATOS TO THE DAMNED GROUND. Ahem. Ok, that’s a bit rough, but let me explain. This particular suit not only had way too many hit points, on top of its unique ability to get out of combat. Despite its limited style of play. As you may know, this Gundam lacks any sort of ranged weaponry from the anime, so it depends on a massive club. The problem here is that it can charge that club up or pounce from the sky and stun EVERY MOBILE SUIT IN THE BETA. It didn’t matter which suit you had or if you had a shield up; Gundam Barbatos could stun you and, for most suits, two-shot you. Then it could just hop away like the Incredible Hulk. If you didn’t see it incoming, it was too late.
Now, I could understand if it was stunning and wrecking units with not much health or those that had already taken hits. But I’ve watched, experienced, and may have also tried it myself on just how dangerous Gundam Barbatos is. Even if you fired off a few shots at it, it could still take you out has it has some of the highest HP of the available mobile suits in the beta. It was just way too strong. There was no way it should have been able to two-shot a full health Sazabi, but it happened on more than one occasion. I’ve seen so many different tweets about just how much people hated Gundam Barbatos. Which tells me it wasn’t just me who was frustrated.
My suggestion; take away some of its hit points and make the stun not as long. I don’t agree that the suit is broken, but it is overpowered. If anything, it teaches people how to use their dashes to only run away from it. *Insert devilish laugh here*
To be fair, the other suits also could use some tweaking. Just none as drastic as Gundam Barbatos. There’s a survey for those who participated in the beta; please make sure you answer the survey questions.
What about microtransactions?
Gundam Evolution does include a system where you gain tickets that can be used to purchase skins, stickers, and other things. I don’t fully understand the system either, to be quite honest. There’s also a battle pass that gives access to skins, stickers, etc. I didn’t even scratch the surface of the battle pass due to the amount of time it would require to the end, and given that the beta was only for a few days. There was a nice Char Zaku II skin at level 20, but sadly, I didn’t make it there.
I don’t know if there will be a way to pay for skins in Gundam Evolution, and there hasn’t been any mention of it yet. We’re just going to assume there won’t be any, but won’t be surprised if any are added.
As a fan of all things Gundam, I’m enjoying or did enjoy Gundam Evolution. It’s Overwatch, with Gundam mobile suits, and that’s fine with me. I just hope that Bandai Namco is more receptive to listening to the players and fanbase than Blizzard has been. That and not trying to market this as an esports title. I could also do with a few different game modes and bigger maps, given that we’re playing with massive mobile suits.
Still, what I was able to play has potential, and I’m looking forward to the eventual changes and release date of Gundam Evolution. But, please be sure to do something with Gundam Barbatos, ok?