Overall - 60%
Gundam Extreme Vs. Force takes the series in a new direction, but not exactly the right direction. Those unfamiliar with the series will no doubt dig the "Vs." and multiplayer fights, but the "Force"-heavy battles may turn people off.
After dominating Japan’s fighting game scene for years, Namco Bandai’s Gundam Extreme Vs. series finally comes stateside with Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force. This original entry tries something new with the time-tested formula, but does it pan out?
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force Review
Those unfamiliar with the Gundam Extreme Vs series (or are unfamiliar with the long-running Gundam anime series) should know one thing – these games are fast. As the pilot of a giant mechanoid robot called a Gundam, players take the fight to a giant battlefield, shooting, strafing, and boosting their way to victory. Paired with a fellow player, these frantic battles require you to be aware of your surroundings at any and all times. This chaos gets even deeper with advanced techniques, including boost hopping, rainbow stepping, and brake cancelling.
Sounds fun, right? It most certainly is.
Force takes things in a slightly different direction. Those still itching for a more traditional fight can still get one with its “Vs” battles, which offers the action the series is known for. However, these fights are tied into its lengthy Campaign mode, which dictates who you’ll be battling next and when. It’s a little disheartening to not be able to plan out fights the way Gundam fans dream of, especially since this feature was available in the Japan-only PlayStation 3 releases. It would be like if Street Fighter had a Story Mode for its single player shenanigans, and nothing else. An ad-hoc multiplayer mode and online mode are available, but it is somewhat stripped down compared to previous entries. Fewer Gundams, maps, and even abilities are available, but those uninitiated with the series will still have fun squaring off.
However, those looking to relive the past glories of the many Gundam anime series will find a lot to like in the Campaign mode. Taking place across multiple anime series and decades of material, the story has players reliving conflicts as key heroes (and villains). Itching to relive a fight from the One Year War? Now’s your chance. Battles play out like you think they would, with multiple targets and constantly-changing objectives. Successfully completing these missions net you Haro Medals, which in turn unlock more missions (including dream, non-canon battles). It’s a bit of a grind to unlock everything, as the key to get more medals is to complete the objective in a unique way (pilot a certain Gundam, etc.). However, the ol’ carrot on a stick technique will keep you playing until the very last battle.
Most of the battles in Force’s Campaign mode use its new “Force” system, which ups the ante with 6-on-6 battles. The scale is much larger than before, but so are the objectives. A new overhead map is now available at the touch of a button, which allows you to command AI troops to fight or overtake posts. Perks are also available, which can increase offensive or defensive abilities. These things are lifted straight from the finest of strategy games, but it feels a little jarring. When you are forced to stop the fast-paced fighting the series is known for every 30 seconds, it gets annoying fast. If anything it almost feels like two different games fused into one. It’s a shame that close to half of the missions use this format, as it is just not as strong as its more traditional battles.
Gundam Extreme Vs. Force takes the series in a new direction, but not exactly the right direction. Those unfamiliar with the series will no doubt dig the “Vs.” and multiplayer fights, but the “Force”-heavy battles may turn people off.