Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Review

"Whoever conquers this planet gains the power to make anything possible!"

Koei must not have conquered that planet, because I’d imagine Dynasty Warriors: Gundam would be a better game if they could make it so. DW:G isn’t exactly your typical Dynasty Warriors game, but then again, it really is. It’s Dynasty Warriors with a fresh coat of paint, if you will. A new setting and a mech exterior is used as a facade for what is essentially the same kind of gameplay gamers have come to expect from the series over the past 10 years.

Unless your brain is on ice, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is the type of game that can induce mental fatigue after only 20 minutes or so of gameplay. It’s unfortunately lacking any real innovation, save for the fact that it has taken the Dynasty Warriors franchise from steel swords and feudal armor to lightsabers, guns, and mech suits.

The cast, although very outspoken, is still somewhat devoid of character. They have mostly cookie-cutter personalities, and play a minor role in the actual progression of the gameplay experience. That’s not even taking into consideration the nearly endless hordes of mindless drones dispatched to destroy the player — the sort that do their duty without any question.

It’s as if Koei figured that diverse characterization could be achieved by haphazardly slapping together as many different accents from around the world that they could find voice actors for. The only problem is that the voice acting is not very good. The exchanges between characters before each mission are almost painful to endure as characters spout off porno-caliber dialogue, with B-movie precision. The short comments made during combat are out of place, overdone, and a little annoying. As for the music, it’s pretty much the same semi-intense synthesized loops playing the entire time.

Graphically, the game is nothing impressive. Character models, terrain, and maps are all minimally detailed, with only crudely defined textures. As a matter of fact, most sections of the environment are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the area, save for a few that boast a landmark or two. This makes the map vital for determining your location. As for effects, there are only the most basic from the lighting and particle departments. The exceptions to this rule are the short cut sequences involving combat with NPCs and at the onset of missions. Here, the graphics are kicked up a notch, giving the player higher resolutions and better effects and animations.

The game features two solo modes: Official and Original. The difference between these two is the basis of the story, and the characters involved. For each mode, players choose from one of three characters to start, and embark on various missions filled with hack-and-hack-and-hack-and-shoot gameplay. Much of the game’s action primarily boils down to mashing a button or two, and to be honest, it can get boring if you don’t have the proper mindset.

Maps are divided, in a grid-like fashion, into fields. Each field contains any number of mobile suit soldiers that the player must defeat in order to control that particular area. Sometimes, special guard units show up and serve as a miniature objective for that section. Defeating guards instantly earns the player control of a field. By controlling a particular area, it weakens the enemy’s strength in adjacent ones, allowing for strategic isolation of tougher zones. When goals are formulated and worked towards, a sort of flow can even be achieved.

Certain enemies and some destructible environmental objects leave powerups that the player can pick up to aid them in the fray. These go into effect immediately, and produce effects such as speedy movement, increased defense, or health restoration. They can be helpful at times — especially the speed increase (for those long treks across the map) and the bonus health. Otherwise, the ease with which enemies are mowed down doesn’t require much aid. I mean, they don’t even attack if the protagonist just stands still… I can only describe it thusly: O_o

At the end of each mission, points are calculated based on the number of enemies defeated, the number of fields taken control of, and the time spent doing so. Pilots and suits both advance in level during missions, and the resulting stat increases are reflected here. Melee, shot, defense, armor, thruster, and sp gauge all improve as the game progresses. Upgrades to players’ suits and skill-sets also go into effect between missions, although these are added manually from a list of items previously collected on the battlefield. The most interesting part of character growth is that players can play through the game multiple times, gaining more and more skills and parts with each run. Since the Official and Original modes are so short (do I hear 4 missions?), those replays may actually be possible.

Dynasty Warrior: Gundam also features a versus mode allowing players to either fight against each other directly or to try to conquer a field of foes in the shortest time. This may extend the play time for some, but locating two players in close enough proximity (who actually enjoy the game enough) to meet up for a versus session could be rather challenging.

Finally, there is a Gallery section that lets players view art and biographies for the characters, mobile suits, and battleships that they have encountered in the Official and Original modes. There is even a section for listening to voice clips. Why anyone would do that, I am not sure.

Repetition is the name of the game in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam. Or maybe monotony? Or boredom? It features repetitive action, monotonous scenery, and boring dialogue. It’s simply a mediocre game, but it certainly has its place and draw. No hard feelings, guys.



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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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