Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire Updated Hands-On

We enlist with both the Zeon and Federation forces in our look at this giant-robot PS3 game.

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In some ways, any Mobile Suit Gundam game is going to have a tough time of it in America. Certainly there is a hardcore contingent of US fans who are familiar with Gundam lore and history but, when compared to Japan--where the Gundam series has been described as that country's Star Wars--it seems as though the series will have an uphill battle in the US market. Fortunately, that hasn't stopped the folks at Namco from making Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire a launch title for Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 console. For good reason too, because as we discovered during our hands-on time with an updated build of the game, the appeal of giant robots blowing stuff up knows no borders.

He's probably compensating for something.

Those who are into the Gundam fiction continuum might be surprised to learn that Crossfire will have a slightly different spin on the world, as compared to older Gundam games. Though fans might recognize the names of certain characters from the anime series in the game, there won't be long cutscenes of canon-specific minutiae to wade through. Instead, when playing Crossfire, you're cast as a lone soldier recruited to fight on either side of the war. You begin the game by choosing a side--either the Federation (the folks who are protecting Earth from invasion), or the Principality of Zeon (a group who declared independence from Earth's rule, migrated to outer space, and are now hell-bent on overthrowing the Federation rule on their home planet). As you will discover across each faction's 15 missions that make up the game's campaign, neither side in the conflict is inherently good or bad, and both have their own motivations behind the war.

That same grittier, more realistic tone applies to the game's visuals, too. Gone are the clean, cartoonish, bright-blue and pearl-white Gundams of the past. Well, technically, the game's huge lineup of mech models will probably feature models that series' fans will recognize, but when rendered on the PS3, they take on a far more realistic, even dirty, appeal to them. Scratches in the paint jobs, dinged metal, and the overall dusty, grimy world of the battlegrounds lend this game quite a different visual style than the austere look folks might be used to.

The realistic approach continues with the combat itself. We've written before about the location-specific damage in Crossfire, and it's cool to see it in an even more polished version of the game. Blow off a Gundam's arm, for example, and it won't be able to use the shield or weapon it was holding. Shoot off its head and your opponent might be able to see, but its radar won't function any longer. As a side note, just because you are incapacitated doesn't mean you're down-and-out. If you lose your weapon arm, for example, you can always drop your shield, pick up a weapon, and continue the fray. Even if you lose both arms, you can still keep fighting with some well-placed kicks to your opponents. In essence, you're only done for in Crossfire when your mech finally gives up and explodes.

One of the limiting factors in combat is how quickly you can run out of ammo if you aren't careful. Even heavy guns with lots of ammo can run down once you begin shooting at everything that moves. To replenish your stores, you can retreat to various supply tents found on the map. It takes some time to refill your ammo and you can be attacked during restocking, which is another nice touch. Even cooler: Supply stations are completely open for enemy attack--so one effective technique for crippling your foe will be to take down his supply tents and then swoop in for the kill.

Melee weapons don't just look cool, they pack a serious punch as well.

Of course, it's not all about ranged weapons in Crossfire, as Gundams will be able to wield melee weapons such as laser swords and beam axes, which are perfect for finishing off foes when they're hurt. Getting up-close and personal with opponents can be a chore thanks to the wide-open nature of the maps in Crossfire and the relatively slow pace of the Gundam's movements, but your mech's boost rockets will help you close the distance quickly. Different mechs have different boost capabilities--some will be able to boost for only a few seconds, while others will be able to practically fly, having longer, more powerful boost rockets installed.

Controls in the game are friendly for the most part. You move your mech with the left analog stick, and control the camera with the right. Attacking with melee weapons, guns, and boosts is controlled with the face buttons. Because the camera is so flexible, you'll make liberal use of the L1 button to lock onto opponents for both melee and ranged combat. If your weapon has a scope on it, you can zoom in for some long-range sniping by pressing the R2 button, then using the analog sticks to aim your shot and zoom in or out.

As you make your way through the campaign in Crossfire, you'll engage in combat in a variety of different settings, from the dusty Australian outback to the dense jungles of Southeast Asia. And even though your Gundam will typically tower over the tree line, the varied elevations in the battle maps mean that there will still be plenty of opportunities for enemies to sneak up on you. Battle objectives on different maps will change accordingly--in some cases, it's up to you to take out all the enemies out there, and in others, you'll be hopelessly outnumbered, and your goal will be to incapacitate as many enemy forces as you can. We played one mission later in the game that had us not only protecting our own base and supply depots, but invading the enemy stronghold with a number of squadmates. You'll pick up wingmen as you go through the campaign and will be able to assign your fellow pilots to mechs before a mission, and you can give them orders in the field after the mission has begun. In fact, once you've completed the campaign for one faction and then restart the game as the other side, you'll be able to use your older mechs in the game, even if they come from the opposing side.

Use your rockets liberally to get the jump on your foes.

As you go through missions, your units will take damage, and in between missions you'll need to repair your mechs. A unit in repair is not available to you for a mission, but you'll pile up so many mechs by the end of the game that you probably won't have trouble finding a suitable one for your mission. Before a mission, you can outfit your Gundam with various weapons, and you can even choose an overall mobile suit "type" based on the terrain you'll be fighting on. There are a number of to choose from including heavy, jungle, desert, and marine. Customization and repairs will cost you money in the form of postmission points you earn, as well as the time it will take to repair the mech.

With a straightforward storyline, a gritty, realistic look, and, of course, lots of giant-robot destruction, Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire is looking to be a solid addition to the PS3 launch lineup. We'll have a full review of the game when it, and the console, launches, so stay tuned.

Discussion

39 comments
Metaleroz
Metaleroz

I for one am expecting this title. It looks awesome. And if it isn´t that good an overall game at least I´ll know that much.

CloudSSJ7
CloudSSJ7

finally Gundam will have some good game. If this will be better then Armored Core then this game will be awsome.

MGSKojima
MGSKojima

what the heck....gameinformer gives this game a 3.5 and called it the worst game ever made this year, because of the slow reaction times and rusty gameplay. Honestly, this game really looks interesting and i don't know if they were on drugs while reviewing this but idk.

AngelCage
AngelCage

METTLEWOLF Doesn't look to me like they did much work on the physics side of things. Huge robots just wouldn't stop that quickly in real life -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*- Yeah, in 'real life' my XS-997 SABRE Dual Laser axe wielded HUGE gundam suit (i made it with instructions founded in my corn flakes box and a little junk parts from the garage) Don't stop quickly when i use RocketBoost... Bahh, lammer thing ever read, throwing trash to THIS Awesome game for that is just lammer. Even more: a lot of thing exploding and edifications breaking and collapsing, suits parts flying in the air in realistic ways and all that crap from the videos look like a VERY elaborated Physics model for this game... Don't you think?

Itsdewdewbabiee
Itsdewdewbabiee

I thought Bandai made all the Gundam games. I have played some of the Gundam games, and I am a big fan of the series until they started getting kiddy. I think it was after Gundam 0080 series. But yeah just like to chime in on this... Gundam games have been not so good, I am just being honest. So I am very optimistic about this title. Dont get me wrong it does look good. But I am holding out before I decide to shell out 60 bucks.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

This is one of the better looking PS3 games actually.

bluekoen83
bluekoen83

only thing i can say about this game is.... release the freaking thing already i got 800bucks saved up for ps3 and this game.... im a gundam fanatic ever since i was 8 and still going strong.... gundam freaking rules!!!!!!!!!!.... wish they move out of the year war era and go to like gundam seed or gundam wing era with same graphics as this....

casey7672
casey7672

I'm sure it will. Even if it doesn't at release they can make online multiplayer a downloadable upgrade via SOE. That's what's going to make the PS3 great is the online. It will open up gaming on Playstation like never seen.

XFireLinkX
XFireLinkX

does any one know if Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire is going to be online?

xkenny24
xkenny24

I can't wait for the PS3 launch and this game too

Big__Al
Big__Al

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

--michael--
--michael--

the arcade is nothing compare to this

Princecake
Princecake

awesome - I've always been waiting for a gundam game that takes a more mature, realistic approach :P if this game has an online component it'd be 10x more than normal awesome lvl :P

METTLEWOLF
METTLEWOLF

Doesn't look to me like they did much work on the physics side of things. Huge robots just wouldn't stop that quickly in real life.

szindragon
szindragon

I played this at the Play Beyond event in NYC. While the graphics are incredible, the game play didn't impress me all that much. Maybe it was just cause of the opening level, I don't know. Personally, I think Gundam SEED Federation VS ZAFT is a much better game!

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

The gameplay footage shown at On The Spot this week looked really realllllyy booring.

Hekynn
Hekynn

Man I can see this game on the new gaming pcs

Neardawg
Neardawg

Being a Gundam fan I'm picking this one up for sure.

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

i wonder if it is slow and boring like chromehounds?

guardianlegend7
guardianlegend7

The graphics are crappy too, from what I saw at AfterHours. Definately not Next-gen quality. This game is apparently made by some funky Namco America company, not the Capcom people who do the good Gundam games.

BigNudeGuardian
BigNudeGuardian

If this game is anything like the previous games then it will definetly play slow, the only difference would be that it would look more graphically pleasing. That dosent make a game. This would definetly be a good game on the Wii tho. Think about it. Gun and sword at the same time without haveing to switch over. Hella awesome. But as of now i am a sceptical it will amount to much.

guardianlegend7
guardianlegend7

Played this game at Gamespot After Hours. It was terrible. The frame rate you see in the preview videos is the actual frame rate... not something due to video compression. It's really slow and clunky. Play Gundam SEED: ___ vs ZAFT on PS2. That game blows this game outta ... space!

rindusuke
rindusuke

I can't wait for this game... Gundam... the greatest anime series of all time... ever.

tricache
tricache

thats not fair!!! i dont wanna buy a PS3 just for this

gamenux
gamenux

this is a must have game for me... cause i love robots.

peon123
peon123

What about online?????

amycasey2
amycasey2

Looks impressive. Lets just see how it plays.

Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

Okay, those graphics are AMAZING, the gameplay doesn't look too shabby either! This+ Final Fantasy XIII may actually almost be worth $600. ALMOST!

Yazu13
Yazu13

I hope this game is longer than the 30 missions lead me to think.

greymage_daan
greymage_daan

Number one! :lol: I saw some vids for this game and it looks great and quite fast paced for a mech sim.

greymage_daan
greymage_daan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

greymage_daan
greymage_daan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]