Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Review
For those who aren't familiar with the Gundam franchise, it basically centers around huge robots pounding the crap out of each other, sometimes with guns, sometimes with swords, sometimes even with their fists. For those who aren't familiar with the Dynasty Warriors franchise, it basically centers around various Samurai-types hacking through dozens of enemies for points. Now, imagine those two franchises having a little video-game lovechild and you've got an idea of what Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is like.
To call it an RTS (real-time strategy) would be a bit inaccurate; it's certainly real-time but there isn't a great deal of strategy involved. As much as DW:G tries to incorporate RPG-ish and strategic elements into the gameplay, with the "levelling up" system and dividing the map into separate "fields" the gameplay boils down to just mashing the X button and occasionally pressing A or B to activate a special attack. However, despite having simplistic gameplay you'd expect from a Comic Book movie tie-in game, it's genuinely fun. It can get repetetive, sure, but there's something oddly satisfying about bashing hordes of enemy Mobile Suits and watching limbs fly off as you rack up masses of combos and incinerate them with your special attacks.
Now, I have to admit before getting this game I knew pretty much fuck all about Gundam - I'd read a couple of Gundam Seed: Astray books and seen a few clips of the anime, but nothing more than that. For non-Gundam fans this is a fun experience, but the wealth of extras is what really makes this game shine. As you progress through the game you can unlock a gallery of Mobile Suits, Warships and Characters, all of whom fans of the anime will probably recognise. You start off with three characters, but as you complete different stories you unlock more, and it's one hell of a lengthy process. Each story will take you a good few days to complete, and there are a lot of them. For those who aren't fans of Gundam, the gallery's just something else that's nice to look at, but for the Gundam fanbase this game is well worth getting just for being so true to the franchise. It even features voice actors from the show, which I was quite impressed with despite the hilariously crappy dialouge.
The graphics are pretty standard for the 360, although the effects when the special attacks are activated are quite nice to look at, and some of the moves look seriously badass as 20-foot tall mechs drop-kick each other's faces in and hack through each other with swords, but what I really found jaw-dropping the first time I played was the amount of enemies you can have on-screen at once. There are literally hundreds in every part of the map, which means racking up combos is easy and very, very satisfying as the basic cannon-fodder grunts just explode into bits after a couple of strikes. Seasoned gamers will remember Midway's arcade classic Smash T.V. - less seasoned gamers will surely know of Dead Rising for the 360. Remember the amount of on-screen enemies in those? Imagine that but with giant robots.
Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end, so here's a brief summary of the bad points of DW:G. Admittedly, they're far and few between - overall it's an incredibly fun game, but, there are some bad points. Predictably, the gameplay does get a little repetetive after a while, and the dialouge is very irritating sometimes - the characters seem to be classified into two types - the whiny, angsty ones who complain about the futility of war and loss of life while slashing their enemies to pieces, and the arrogant, po-faced angry ones who live for war and claim to be undefeatable shortly before what's left of them has to be scraped off the floor with a squeegee. Admittedly, there are a few exceptions, but overall it gets very boring listening to the characters whining for whatever reason. Another thing that pisses me off is the AI;
IN A NUTSHELL:
Graphics: Very pretty effects, and the sheer scale of enemies (and allies) on-screen at once is just spectacular. Very satisfying deaths, too, although I wouldn't recommend it if you're epileptic. 9/10
Gameplay: Repetetive after a while, but extremely satisfying and very fun in short bursts. 8/10
Sound: Voice acting isn't bad, but the dialouge is so hilariously bad you won't care. The music's hardly Beethoven, and the characters' annoying habit of yelling rubbish at the end of a combo is pretty irritating, but bearable. Just. 6/10
Lifespan: The achievements are easy to unlock, but will take a helluva lot of time, and there are tons of characters, different modes, and extras to unlock. Lots of replay value, although Multiplayer's nothing too new or special. 10/10.
Overall Score: 9/10. If you're a Gundam fan, buy it immediately. If you're not and you see it cheap, you'll probably become a Gundam fan if you get it, which I recommend you do.