Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review #115: Mobile Suit Gundam - Gundam VS Gundam Next Plus

 I swear to god, I've been in love with the series ever since Federation VS Zeon!
 Mobile Suit Gundam - Gundam VS Gundam Next Plus is the prequel to the Gundam Extreme Vs I've talked about on this blog oh so many times before. It being an older game in the series, specially when it comes to fighters, could mean that it's an outdated game, luckily, this isn't the case.

 Gundam VS games are unlike most fighters you've played. Matches are played strictly in 2 vs 2 or 1 vs 1 battles, the first being the most popular on both casual and higher-level play. Matches are played on a 3-D environment, with the camera situated on the back of your Mobile Suit and a target locked onto either of your targets. Basic controls use only four buttons and the analog stick, you have a close-combat attack, a long range attack, boost(Used to fly or move around fast) and switch target, pressing two buttons of the first three together produce other special functions depending on which of the 66 units you are playing as. Matches are fast and furious, very arcadey, the object being to deplete the 6000 cost gauge of the enemy players, you do so by destroying their suits. Mobile suits cost 1000, 2000 or 3000 points, and upon death, are subtracted from the gauge, this means that if both player pick a 3000 cost unit, only one of them can die and only once. It's a very simple concept that makes for some very entertaining fights, the smooth and simple controls just ease you into the groove, as mastering the game can be quite harder, as you have to make a lot of resource management.
  Coming from Extreme Vs, this is slower game. It's not necessarily a bad thing, the game is quite fast on its own. Another big difference lies in the basic gameplay, for starters, there is no soft-dashing(Double tapping) in this game in order to cancel moves, instead, all actions can be cancelled by boosting. A rather minor change, is that every suit in this game has an Assist unit that they can call upon for various functions. As expected, Arcade Mode is completely different, Routes in this game are set from the start, so you can't jump from route to route, but each route usually has a healthy amount of alternate stages, so in a way, this game has more stages than Extreme Vs, even if it isn't as flexible.

 After you are done with Arcade Mode, you have a basic Multiplayer Mode and a fairly in-depth Mission Mode. Mission Mode has about 60 missions with many stages each, some even have secret stages and alternate stages. In this mode you pick a group of four Mobile Suits(You can change the team before starting a Mission) and you can upgrade them as you go along. There's plenty to do in this mode, and there is a lot of variation, you may find yourself defending targets, chasing extremely fast targets, normal death matches , trying to grab pink circles, having to endure a certain amount of time at 1 HP, and plenty of others, definitely a much better mode than Full Boost's Trial Mode.
 The game does have a couple of issues, even though they don't hamper the overall experience, they deserve to be mentioned. The most harmless lies in the rather long loading times, they are not terrible, but for a portable game, when you are on the go, they can get quite aggravating. And secondly, there's a couple of framerate drops when there is a lot going on on the screen at the same time. Special stages that pit you and an ally against three opponents are specially taxing, but as long as you don't get all five units on the screen at the same time, you'll be Ok.

 This is a very pretty game, playable Mobile Suits look fantastic, but the unplayable "fodder" units look terrible, it's very jarring when the camera pans from a playable suit to a unplayable one. Stages are very detailed, even if most are not very interactively. The soundtrack is fantastic, with plenty of licensed music from the anime series, and the voice actors reprise their roles from the anime.

 I'm not gonna even try to hide it, I love the series, you could take away all the mobile suits and replace them with generic soldiers(Or metahumans, like the upcoming Rise of the Incarnates) and I would still love it, because it's pure arcade gameplay goodness, and I won't get tired of it anytime soon.
 9.5 out of 10.

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