Although it sounds like a totally bizarre pairing, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (known as Gundam: Musou in Japan) is arguably one of the most engaging Gundam games to hit the States in a good, long while. The game was released late last year for the PlayStation 3 in Japan and has since been slated to hit the US with an Xbox 360 version added to the mix. Namco Bandai had a localized version of the PlayStation 3 game on display at their recent press event to show off the upcoming game. While the playable game wasn't quite final, the game offered a sample of what to expect from the US version.
The game offers three modes, official, original, and versus, that let you play as familiar faces from the Gundam universe. The official mode lets you take part in adventures from Gundam lore, while the original mode offers the chance to play against faces from the various Gundam story arcs. Finally, the versus mode lets you compete against a friend. Given the Gundam franchise's long history, the modes offer a wealth of characters and mobile suits. The official mode offers a total of six pilots to play through, while the original mode features more than 12 pilots. As far as the powerful mobile suits go, you'll find more than 15 to choose from. The catch, of course, is that you'll have to unlock a good chunk of the pilots and mobile suits as you play through the various modes.
Though the game features the basic action gameplay seen in the Dynasty Warriors games, you'll find some RPG-lite elements as well. Pilots will gain personal skills, which are unique abilities they can use in battle to boost their offense or defense. In addition, you'll come across parts as you destroy enemies. The parts can be used to buff up one of four attributes on your suit--fight, shoot, defense, and armor--when equipped. Fight affects your melee attacks, shoot affects your ranged attacks, defense reduces the damage you take from attacks, and armor increases the number of hit points your suit has. You can further enhance your mobile suit by pairing up specific parts with in-game mechanics that add additional bonus to the buff you gain from them. You'll have ample opportunity to get used to the various systems in the game thanks to a lengthy list of missions across both modes.
The visuals and audio in the game are solid, though not as gratuitously flashy as many of the PlayStation 3 titles that have hit. The various mobile suits sport a clean look. The environments follow the same aesthetic and offer a solid amount of detail across the land- and air-based locales. The special effects used for the various mobile-suit super attacks offer some kick to the visuals. Audio in the game is coming along nicely, with extensive English voice-overs already implemented. However, purists can choose to play through the game with Japanese voice and English text if they want to keep it real. The music in the game is solid and mixes original and familiar tunes to frame the action.
While it may still sound a bit insane, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is a surprisingly fun and addictive game thanks to its accessible gameplay. Though the beat-'em-up action may not be the most stunningly innovative thing you've ever seen, the fact remains that beating the crap out of mobs of enemies is not without its charms. The same holds true of giant robots. Add the two together, and you have a game that's fun and worth a try. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is slated to ship this summer for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Look for more on the game in the coming weeks.