SD Gundam Force E3 2004 Impressions

We get a look at Bandai's SD Gundam Force straight from the E3 2004 show floor.


They're cute, they're small, and they can kill robots like nobody's business. Based on Bandai Entertainment's animated series on the Cartoon Network, the SD Gundam Force consists of several Gundam robots that fight an evil force called the Dark Axis. The Dark Axis is bringing chaos to the once peaceful land of Neotopia--a place where humans and robots coexist--and it's up to the SD Gundam Force to restore order. We got the chance to spend a few minutes playing the PlayStation 2 version of SD Gundam Force at Bandai's E3 2004 booth to see how it was all coming together.

The demo we played only featured one playable Gundam, though several will actually be playable in the final game. Our Gundam looked like an ultrafuturistic samurai, wielding dual swords as his primary weapon. As you play, you will be able to upgrade weapons and your character, depending on your graded rank at the conclusion of each level.

In the levels we played, the gameplay seemed pretty straightforward. The square button acted as our primary attack button, and by simply hitting the button repeatedly we were able to mow through every Dark Axis baddie that crossed our path. However, we also had a special charge attack we could hit enemies with after a meter on the screen reached a certain point, and we could do a bit of a dash maneuver by hitting the X button. Generally speaking, the levels we saw all pretty much involved the same objectives. We'd go into an area, kill all the enemies in that area, and bust back to our headquarters for upgrades after we were done. The challenge level seemed pretty low, though we were told that the levels we played were from an earlier portion of the game.

SD Gundam Force's graphics looked pretty impressive in certain aspects. Specifically, the models for the different Gundams appeared really sharp and colorful and they animated quite well. The game's environments, unfortunately, didn't look nearly as good, and they actually clashed with how good the Gundam models looked. The game's camera system was a little off-putting at first, as the game features a fully cinematic camera that shifts angles depending on where you move in the level. Not all the angles seemed particularly intuitive at first, but we got pretty used to the whole thing after a while.

We also got a quick look at the GBA version of SD Gundam force before we left. The premise and characters in the GBA version appear to be roughly the same, though the action itself is based entirely around a 2D side-scrolling engine. SD Gundam Force will be released for the PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance sometime this fall. We will have more on the game soon.

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