Friday, November 16, 2007

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam

Tech Info

Publisher: Namco/Bandai Games , Koei
Developer: Koei
Genre: Action
Release Date: Aug 28, 2007

Graphics & Sound:
Even after spending extensive time with Dynasty Warriors Gundam, the combination still seems odd. However, the end result of this pairing is actually incredibly fun - at least if you're Gundam fan.

As far as presentation goes DW Gundam has its high and low points. On one side you get gorgeously modeled, hi-res versions of mobile suits from multiple series. The main suits' look get the most attention, but even the armies of fodder suits look great. At the same time, maps are incredibly dull. There are a few stand-outs, though even the best maps have little issues. Some are too dark while others aren't all that well designed. There are attempts to make them look a little better by adding swirling dust or fog, though these don't go nearly as far as they could.

Another positive when it comes to presentation is the voicework. As far as I can tell, most of the English voice actors from the various Gundam series reprise their roles for the game. There's a sizeable amount of chatter in the game, whether it be during story sequences, mission briefings or battlefield chats. Some of the more entertaining sound moments come in Original Mode, where you get to see pilots from different series interact with each other. One of the best comes when Puru and Domon team up and Puru finishes Domon's, "This hand..." line.

Music is generally good. I couldn't tell if any of the songs come from the series, though they aren't that far off from what does appear in the shows. At random times, the music will cut off for no reason. This seemed to happen after having to restart missions multiple times and not so often that it becomes a problem. In fact, the lack of music helped me to focus on the game and tactics a little better... so it wasn't a bad thing as far as I am concerned.

If you have ever played a Dynasty Warriors game, then you probably know exactly what to expect from Dynasty Warriors Gundam. You enter a battlefield and defeat large armies of enemies and commanders in order to capture points on the map. The only difference is that you're playing as a giant robot, fighting other robots and the closest thing you get to anything remotely resembling something from the feudal age is Musha Gundam.
Gameplay is split between three main modes: Official, Original and Multiplayer. Official Mode follows the plotlines of the first three Gundam series: Gundam 0079, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. At the start of the game, you are limited to playing as the show's main protagonists, though completing each scenario unlocks other mission lines for other characters. These missions are usually retellings of the missions from the perspective of enemies like Char and Haman. Completing missions also unlocks pilots for use in Original Mode.

Original Mode is basically playable fan fiction. A planet appears in Earth's orbit and threatens to slam into Earth. Somehow or another, pilots from different series team up with each other in order to investigate the planet. Much like Official Mode, you are limited to mobile suits from two series; Domon (G Gundam) and Heero (Gundam Wing).

From the very start, DW Gundam is something that was made more for fans than the general public. If you haven't a clue about the show's plots, Official Mode probably won't make any sense, despite how hard missions attempt to fill you in. Fans of earlier Gundam series (those appearing in Official Mode) will probably enjoy DW Gundam just a little more than those who enjoy the later two. While nearly every pilot/suit of any significance from the first three shows make an appearance, the later two shows are represented by two (playable) pilots/ suits each. As for SEED fans, well... sorry. It probably won't be enough to totally dissuade Gundam fans, but at the same time it sucks to not see better representation since the suits from both shows were, at least in my opinion, some of the better-looking ones.

Dynasty Warriors Gundam falls into the same difficulty pattern as most Dynasty Warriors games. Even though you are sometimes facing upwards of a hundred enemies at a time, most go down with a few hits and little resistance. You'll soon realize that these enemies are really just fodder to get you through to the commanders, who put up more of a fight. With the exception of a few commanders (Haman comes to mind), most are pretty easy to cut through provided you don't end up being double-teamed. Even then, commanders will only chase you so far, giving you an opportunity to retreat and find health.

As mindless as missions are, most feature a bit of strategy. Some missions require that you quickly rush to specific points on the map, sometimes leaving others to be taken over. You'll also have to decide if you can spare a few minutes to clear areas, lowering enemy resistance in adjacent areas. The only times missions become too much to handle is when you have to protect a specific area while also keeping an eye on another character who is always on the other side of the field.

Game Mechanics:
Dynasty Warriors Gundam sticks to the series' hack n' slash gameplay. Combat is about as basic as it can get. Most of your time is spent mashing down on one attack button while occasionally hitting another for a combo. Although basic attacks are usually a good way to get things done, it is worth it to learn some of the more advanced combos since they can really help out - especially when trying to land that last blow on a commander. Some of the combos also look really cool. Combos also help to fill your special meter, which in turn lets you unleash powerful special attacks that can usually take down small armies with one blast.

Every enemy you kill also earns experience for both your pilot and mobile suit. As pilots level up, they can learn special passive abilities that improve their suit's performance. Some increase the amount of experience you get per kill, while others make certain attacks more powerful or even quickly fill up your special meter. Leveling up Mobile Suits increases their stats as well as unlocking new special attacks (up to 3). Suits can also be equipped with parts that are won by defeating commander mechs during the game.

As previously stated, Dynasty Warriors Gundam is a game that is really more for Gundam fans. Missions are pretty repetitive and the story is impenetrable for anyone who hasn't seen the show. At the same time, sometimes a little mindless, repetitive fun is necessary - something that Dynasty Warriors Gundam provides.

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Davecat said...
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