No sir, I don’t like it. Not one BIT!!!

Huh? you want more? Fine…

Gundam Vs Gundam is the 5th game in this series of arcade game ports, being the successor to Mobile suit gundam seed: Rengou vs Zaft 2.
Fundamentally, the game hasn’t changed since it’s first iteration, Federation vs Zeon way back in 2001. The roster has increased and gameplay has been sped up but the series looked like it was on the verge of going stale with Rengou vs ZAFT 2.

They tried to spice things up in that game by making subtle changes to the game but it looked like it may have been getting a bit too complex for it’s own good.
So for Gundam vs gundam, the went back to the basic style and added stuff to battles, such as a unit assist move (think about the assist characters in Marvel vs Capcom and you get the idea) and massive attacks which affect a wide area of the battlefield, and created a roster containing mobile suits from all the series thus far! And that’s where the problems begin…

Loved:

  • The unit selection: Being able to play as different gundams allows previously neglected units, such as the Gundam X and V2 gundam, to shine!
  • The music: there’s something eerily awesome about blowing stuff up to the tune of “Tobeagare Gundam” (the Op for the first gundam series)
  • G Gundam units: although unbalanced, they are very fun!!
  • The basic mechanics are still the same and still robust

Hated:

  • The game balance: for the most part, when fighting against mobile suits, melee attacks prove to be by far the most effective, giving an unfair advantage to the G gundam units and Exia (the only entry from Gundam 00 and a PSP bonus unit). However, when it comes to the final boss (a devil gundam ripoff) the exact reverse is true. Melee can be effective, but it takes a while to make full use of it.
  • Many of the units, Particularly early UC units, are incredibly boring to play as, with a very limited repetoire of moves
  • Some moves are just ridiculous, G gundam units aside, a few units have moves which should not appear in a game like this. I die a little every time I see the ZZ gundam do a spinning throw move…
  • The new Area attacks, which are made available once the special bar is filled, is one of the worst ideas for a game like this I have ever seen!!! When triggered, you are warned that a large object is about to crash through the battlefield and for you to get out of the way. It’s primary function seems to simply break up a battle as all units run like headless chickens to the nearest safe spot. It’s unneccessary, breaks up the flow of battle and doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay.

I’ve been keeping up with this series since the very first game, where I bought the PAL version of the Fed Vs zeon game for the PS2. I also have AEUG vs Titans and both Rengou vs ZAFT games and really enjoyed all of them. I could feel that the series was getting into a bit of trouble with Rengou vs ZAFT 2, but this is definitely not the way I wanted to see the series move. It feels like the the game has lost itself and just crammed in a load of new ideas without thinking about whether or not they will work!!
They may have been trying to entice new players to the series but the game is too similar to the old games to draw in new blood and the new features probably alienate the veterans, like myself, as they son’t add anything and just seem to annoy.

The worst part is that, at times, the quality of the old games shine through and you get into really intense battles, but no sooner have you reached that point then the enemy will use that accursed area attack and have you running for over while bringing you crashing back to earth.

I don;t really see what’s next for the franchise. Perhpas it’s best to leave it to pasture now as it’s clear the developers don’t know what else to do with it. But I still attest that Rengou vs ZAFT was the best in the series!!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play some GTI club C’ote D’azur on PS3 (highly recommended)