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Gundam Versus
Score: 72%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Studio Inc.
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:
Back when I started college, I had brave dreams of being some type of engineer. I quickly abandoned that dream because the program bored me and I wasnít very interested in it. I kick myself anytime I see something like a Gundam because I couldíve made one of those. Regardless of my choice, I have to face my decision in Gundam Versus.

Ah, the tale of the Gundam. A long journey through time filled with tales of glory and honor, the bond between humans and their mechs. Gundams have been around for as long as I can remember, and every time I think itís done, it surprises me yet again. Not in a bad way, by any means, of course. The game looks pretty nice and runs well also. I found it interesting that Gundam Versus doesnít follow the art trend that you see most other anime-based games follow with how the graphics attempt to capture the style of the anime with cel shading graphics. Despite this, I feel that the game represents the anime in a more realistic way and I really like this approach to the graphics that Gundam Versus uses. It still feels like Iím experiencing the Gundam anime series and itís a pretty great approach to the graphical style.

I have pretty mixed feelings about the Gundam Versus soundtrack. Some tracks are pretty good and others leave me feeling a little confused. Itís not a good or bad confusion, but just your average confusion. Some tracks give off that "preparing for battle" feel. A low tune that gives off powerful vibes, as though youíre marching to face destiny. Others give me a nostalgic feeling of sitting in front of my TV as a child watching Gundam, like a choir singing and then saying Gundam, like the old style of songs used in older anime openings. Itís hard to describe, but those are the top two types of songs in the game. Thereís also some more electronic songs and I think they have their place when used correctly, but thereís some areas in the game I think a different song wouldíve done better.


Gameplay:
Gundam Versus is kind of like an arena game. Players control a Gundam of their choice and try to take out the opposing forces to achieve victory. The most important note about this game is that youíll need PlayStation Plus, if you want to get the most out of it. Quite a bit of content is locked out without it, such as the Online Battles. Without an actual campaign, most players will probably look to the Online Battles for much of their enjoyment from the game. Thereís still some other content for players to look forward to, however.

When you start up the game, youíll be treated to a little cinematic to get you hyped about playing. Youíll then be taken to the Main Menu, where you can select one of several modes to play after the game makes an attempt to log in to the game for you. Some modes have different options you can select, such as the Play option having various battle modes for the player to select from. Players can also check information about the game or customize the gameís settings to their liking from the Main Menu options.

Once players are geared up and ready to go, they can select the Play option on the Main Menu to start actually playing the game. Youíll deploy into battle on whatever mode you select and will be tasked with eliminating the opposition. To do this, players will need to destroy the enemy Gundam units and deplete their Force Gauge to zero. As long as either side has enough points in the Force Gauge, they can continue sending out units. Each unit destroyed reduces the Force Gauge by however much the unit destroyed costs. Players take control of a mech and will have allies to assist them in battle. Your unitís remaining health will be shown in the bottom left of the screen, while your weapons are shown in the bottom right. At the very bottom, players will notice their Burst Gauge and Boost Gauge. Youíre able to move with the Left Stick by default and fire your gun weapon with the (Square) button. The (Triangle) button controls your melee attack and the (X) button allows you to jump and fly. All of these controls can be customized at any time by going to the settings, so if you donít like the default layout, experiment until you find something you like.

You wonít get far without taking the offensive. Players have access to four fixed attacks and these are the Main Ranged, Sub Ranged, Special Ranged, and Special Melee attacks. Each attack has a few different properties that allow players to mix up their combat options to keep opponents on their toes. The Main Ranged attack can be fired by pressing the (Triangle) button and will simply fire a shot from your beam rifle or whatever weapon your Mobile Suit uses. Certain weapons also allow you to charge a shot before firing. The Sub Ranged shot can be fired by pressing (L1) or (Triangle) and (Square) together if you prefer that way. The Special Ranged can be fired by pressing (L2) or (Triangle) and (X), and the Special Melee can be thrown by pressing the (R2) button or (Square) and (X). The Special variant attacks have significantly more attack power behind them, however each of your ranged weapons have a certain amount of ammunition before they must recharge. Melee attacks can be mixed up dashing as you use them. This allows you to perform different combos as well, so change up your approach before your opponents begin to catch on to your tactics.

Attacking is fantastic and all, but you also need defense options. Players can perform a quick step by quickly tapping their movement option in a direction twice. This allows your Mobile Suit to quickly evade in a direction and dodge attacks. This is incredibly useful for baiting opponents in and repositioning to dodge their attacks to perform your own follow-up attacks. You canít dodge everything though, as sometimes youíll need to hold your own against powerful attacks. You can do this by guarding, which can be done by quickly pressing the down button followed by the up button. If you hold up after raising your guard, youíll extend the guard time, but your Boost Gauge will begin to deplete. The key to success is being swift on the battlefield, but also knowing when to let your shield protect you. Use your offense and defense together to keep foes on their toes.


Difficulty:
The ever-present topic of difficulty in videogames returns in this latest edition of Game Reviews! Jokes aside, Gundam Versus is another title where difficulty is somewhat subjective depending on the game mode. Online, the difficulty of battles are a toss-up. Your opponents and your own skill level will decide the difficulty of the game in that case. Offline, players have a little bit more flexibility depending on the game mode they choose to play. Certain game modes allow players to select the difficulty they would like to experience. This is mostly seen with the survival game mode type and the versus game mode type. Players can set the difficulty of the CPU to whatever they feel most comfortable with and enjoy the game at their own pace. The real deciding factor for difficulty is whether the player prefers PvP or PvE. Itís your call, pilot.

Game Mechanics:
What good would a giant mech suit be without some sort of boost capability? By double tapping or holding (X), players can make their Gundam suit either dash in a direction or fly up into the air. This gives you a great deal of maneuverability on the ground and in the air, but the drawback is that players will have to watch their Boost Gauge. If you exhaust it in a single sitting, your Mobile Suit will overheat. You wonít be able to perform any type of action that uses the Boost Gauge, such as flight, dashing, quick stepping or even jumping. If you land while overheated, youíll be unable to move for a brief moment. This leaves you pretty vulnerable to attacks, as you can imagine. To counter this, make sure to land frequently between movement options to allow your Boost Gauge to replenish. It refills quickly, so watch your movements carefully and plan your assault.

Every hero finds themselves in a pinch when faced with impossible odds. The Gundam series is no exception. Gundam Versus allows players to power through the opposition with a powerful Burst Mode. Once your Burst Gauge is at least halfway filled, players can activate Burst Mode by pressing the Ranged, Melee, and Jump buttons simultaneously. Burst Mode grants your Mobile Suit a power boost and allows you to use burst techniques. As a bonus, activating Burst Mode after taking an attack with a filled Burst Gauge allows you to recover from that attack faster. However, youíll find the amount of time you stay in Burst Mode will be shortened.

Gundam Versus certainly has a pretty large nostalgia factor going for it that would entice longtime fans of the series. The amount of Mobile Suits you can choose from is absolutely insane. Thereís a Mobile Suit to represent just about every Gundam series and thereís some I havenít even heard of. I find the attention to detail pretty impressive and this will probably cater to the hardcore fans of the series. I think the game would be more interesting if it had a legitimate campaign instead of endless battle modes or a simple CPU versus mode. The PvP aspect is pretty enticing and will give players a lot of variation when it comes to content, given the random nature of a PvP environment. Aside from battling, there isnít a lot of other significant content featured. Hardcore fans may not mind as much, but I think casual fans might be a little turned off. Overall, I think Gundam Versus will do a good job catering to the hardcore fans, but more casual fans and players may want to look to other titles.


-SS-54, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ren Plummer

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