Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam E3 2005 Hand-On

We take a hands-on look at this Gundam fighting game from E3 2005.

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As if Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Never Ending Tomorrow wasn't Gundam-y enough for you, Bandai also showed off Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam at its booth at E3 2005. Although these games are fairly similar in overall design and feel, from our perspective, it seems as though Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam is probably going to wind up being the better package overall, offering up a good number of gameplay options, fun two-player mayhem, and user-friendly plug-and-playability.

We had a chance to play both a two-on-two multiplayer match and a two-on-two versus CPU match. It seems as though most of the missions in the game will involve two-on-two fights. If you're playing with another human, you can choose whether you want to team up with him or her or fight against each other; if you go head-to-head, the other members of your teams will be under the control of the artificial intelligence. There will be both space battles and ground battles, as well. We found the ground battles to be a bit more fun, as everyone was placed on the same (mostly) level field.

As in most other Gundam games, the goal here is to go out and blow stuff up real good. We saw a dizzying array of various Gundam suits to choose from before heading out into combat. Apparently, there are more than 50 in all, many of which can be customized with different weapons before you load a game. The loading is very quick, as well, letting you boot up a game so you can get chopping without much delay. The gameplay itself is enjoyable, even without a lot of practice. It's a fairly simple matter to try to shoot your opponents from long range or to get up close for a melee attack for extra damage. The controls feel much tighter and more responsive than do those of Gundam Seed: Never Ending Tomorrow, which translates into a much more intense experience, especially when going head-to-head against a live opponent.

We got a glance at the game's menu screen, and it seems that Bandai isn't skimping on the gameplay modes, either. We saw arcade, versus, universal century mode, survival, training, replay, and gallery options for our perusal. Universal century mode seems to be the game's version of a story mode, and in it, you'll be able to select one of three factions (which we recall as being Zeon Titans vs. E.F.S.F/A.E.U.G vs. Axis, although we're sure one of the many Gundam fans out there will correct us if we're mistaken); then you play through a number of missions to complete their objectives. These missions take place on a timeline, so you'll be fighting your way through decades of Gundam history as you complete your faction's missions.

All in all, it looks like Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam is going to be a pretty complete package for fans of the series and for gamers looking to blow big robot suits up. We'll have more details on the game as it approaches its release date, so stay tuned to GameSpot.

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