TGS 2008: Gundam vs. Gundam Hands-On

We perpetuate the plague of robot-on-robot violence to bring you details on this Gundam brawler.

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Although you may think that all robots exist to conspire against humankind and take over the world in an elaborately staged robot uprising, you would be wrong. Robots aren't always so pleasant with each other, and Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Gundam is a game that proves this. In this PSP action game from Namco Bandai, you'll be playing as a giant robot engaged in a bitter duel with a seemingly unending stream of enemy Gundams. The combat is fast and frantic, with plenty of weapons that serve to offset relatively simple controls. The game was available to play at both the Sony and Namco Bandai booths here at this year's Tokyo Game Show, so we took a spin through it at the risk of prolonging this heartbreaking robot-on-robot violence that much longer.

The entire game was displayed entirely in Japanese, so it was rather difficult to pick up on any of the game's story elements, but we could tell this one is all about the action. You pick from one of dozens of different Gundam suits (with options varying from the obvious RX-78-2 to the more obscure ZGMF-X42S Destiny) and jump into a series of battles with increasingly difficult enemy Gundams. An intro sequence prefaces each match, displaying dialogue from various pilots who are about to throw down. The art style is a very retro manga look, which should appeal to those who've been following the Gundam series since its inception in the 1970s.

Battles take place in what appears to be a virtual plane set in outer space. The first match is set on a sparse white grid with a few mountains in the middle of the battleground, but later matches increase in visual detail to include more elaborate settings. The combat itself is fairly straightforward. You hit square for ranged attacks such as plasma rifles, triangle to swing your energy sword (like a light saber, but for robots), circle to switch targets between multiple enemies, and X for a temporary boost that lets you fly upward into the sky. Ranged weapons have a limited number of uses before they need to be recharged, so you'll need to make sure you're up to speed with the melee-combo system to get anywhere.

Throwing a wrench into the gears of battle are a few environmental hazards that pop up every so often. The most menacing is a laser that's randomly set off and emerges suddenly from nearby satellites. You'll need to make sure to avoid these so as not to let your Gundam turn to a crisp, and this necessity turns each frantic battle into even more of a multitasking-focused affair.

Gundam vs. Gundam is currently scheduled for release on November 20 on the PSP, but only in Japan. As of yet, there's no release scheduled for North America. We'll relay more information on a potential release when we get it.

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