The Gundam series has long been a juggernaut on the Japanese gaming scene thanks to a series of arcade and home games that made smart use of the immense popularity of the manga and anime properties based on it. Unfortunately, this hasn't translated into as much success in the US. The Japanese developer is aiming to change those fortunes with its new Xbox 360 title Mobile Ops, which takes a more sophisticated approach than its predecessors. We had the chance to check out a new trailer for the game and speak to reps about the promising new game at Namco's recent pre-E3 event.
The game is set in the distant future, when Earth is under siege from rebel space colonies who decide to fight for their independence. The resulting aftermath forces warfare to be reimagined, leading to the birth of massive "mobile suits," armored war machines that can be used for melee combat or as mobile artillery, thanks to their array of high-tech weapons. The new war machines become integral to the war, and the yearlong conflict noted in the game's title is the core of the game's experience, sending you into skirmishes across the globe.
The game trailer showed off some of the key gameplay elements of Mobile Ops that will set it apart from the Gundam games that have preceded it. The most striking aspect of the game is its Battlefield 1942-esuqe gameplay that will let you engage the enemy by foot, in a mobile suit, or in vehicles that you'll find on the battlefield. The trailer showed troops on foot facing off against each other and then, as the battle heated up, racing off to hop into nearby mobile suits to mix it up. The first-person shooting and use of traditional vehicles looks like it could be a nice addition to the experience. The varied gameplay is complemented by what sounds like a robust customization system for the various mechs.
The visuals in the trailer are still on the work-in-progress side but do show off a convincing amount of detail on the mobile suits. The sample mechs shown certainly look sharp and move well. The environments are a little on the bland side, as most war-torn battlefields can be, but will hopefully dressed up a bit more. We're liking the scale right now with the mobile suits towering over the antlike mobs of humans. Finally, we're hoping that the various explosions and weapon effects are given a good dose of eye candy on the 360 to give them some kick.
Based on what we've seen, there's a lot of potential in Mobile Ops. The varied gameplay and scale could offer a Battlefield 1942-esque experience that would work well in the Gundam universe and please fans. If the mechanics wind up offering that engaging Battlefield feel, we reckon there's a good chance the title could finally break Gundam out to the masses. Look for more on Mobile Ops: The One Year War soon.