|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BEC||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Released: Nov 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Patrick||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Patrick Evans
Oh, NamcoBandai, we want to come out and say this up front. We here at CCC forgive you. The pain and suffering you have caused us by publishing this stinker of a PS3 game has been great, but we still love you. Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire, which for whatever reason was the greatest selling PS3 at system launch, is a complete mess with terrible controls, horrid visuals, bland customization mechanics, and weak presentation. Namco, just think of this as an intervention.
But where to start with such an embarrassment? The only reason to explain the sales in Japan would be fanboys who gobble this garbage up, for what reasons I cant understand. Even though this game is based on an anime series from 1979, the presentation would lead you to think otherwise. Instead of anime cut scenes to advance the story between missions, text boxes tell the tale of Zeon forces taking on the United Earth Federation. How cool would it have been if little snippets of either originally drawn scenes, original cuts from the series, or even cutscenes using the in-game engine were used to tell the story. Instead, on the next-gen PS3, we get text boxes. Sweet..
Players get to choose which side of the conflict they fight for, and the differences are notable. Zeon suits seem to be a little stronger early on, and the Zeon campaign missions, especially in the early going, are a bit easier. Either way you go, the gameplay itself is quite embarrassing. The Mobile Suits move exactly as one would expect a sixty-foot tall walking robot; clumsily and without any shred of finesse. Ive seen the show damnit. Some of the things that the mobile suits do in the original series was impressive and cool to watch. The coolest thing that these suits can do is hover in mid-air and slide to move fire. Weve seen all of this done before in the Mech Assault series, but the robots there were much easier to control.
Combat is even more broken. Never in my life have I played a third-person action game that was this difficult to fight an enemy. When firing your rifle or other ranged weapon, you dont get a targeting reticule unless you are zoomed in on your target. If you are aiming this way, though, you are a sitting duck for enemy fire since you cant move at the same time. Strafing with the L1 button doesnt help much either since these mobile suits couldnt hit the broad side of a barn. Its like they are using ten-dollar paintball guns instead of futuristic weaponry. Frustration with the controls will quickly evolve into utter disdain for this game when you couple the crappy interface scheme with the missions you have to accomplish. As early as the second or third mission, multiple mobile suits will crash on you at a time, forcing you to pray instead of strategize on which target to engage first..
Mobile Suit Gundam attempted to alleviate some of this pain by offering a couple different customization options and the ability to add extra crewmates to you squad, but the developers managed to screw this aspect up even worse than the controls themselves. Squadmates that you hire are about as dumb as a third coat of paint. They will constantly get in your way as you target enemies from afar. The worst is when you engage groups of two or more. While you struggle to land a single strike on one guy, his buddy will be slicing your partner to shreds. Squadmates are at best an annoyance and at worst a liability, but they are necessary to serve as a distraction if nothing else with the illogically uneven situations you are thrown into.
My horror story takes place as early as the Zeon campaigns third mission. The objective is to clear the area of enemy MS before your tank squad arrives. Ok, simple enough. Walking into the area with my partner, we go up against three Federation Suits. I chase after the nearest one looking for a quick axe strike, but the other two quickly close in on my AI companion and make mincemeat out of it. So now its two on one. I manage to take out the first of the two, but lose my left arm. I get the last one, but my head gets knocked off. Alright, mission finished right? Oh no. The tanks show up and another THREE enemy MS engage from the other side of the dilapidated urban area. This fight was over before it started, and I have to count down from 50 so as to not sling the PS3 controller in anger.
You have to figure, given everything that is screwed up about this game, perhaps they got the customization aspect right? Wrong again. Upgrading your Suit involves selecting Weapon Defense or Attack instead of adding specific parts. What does upgrading your weapon do you ask? Well, if youre lucky, it adds a weapon or ammunition for an existing weapon. The trouble is you have no idea what you will actually get before hand, so theres no way to be sure if its worth it or not. Worse than that is the fact that you can only upgrade one aspect of the MS at a time once per day. Upgrade BOTH the armor AND the machine gun at the same time? No sir! Mechanics apparently dont comprehend the idea of overtime, and your play will suffer for it.
As ugly as all these complaints sound above, the game itself is even uglier. Barren combat zones that sport literally nothing but the occasional forest or urban areas are all you will see. And then you ask yourself, The power of the PS3, which keeps all other games from slowing in framerate, must keep this game blazing fast right? Oh, if only we were so lucky. Your mech will creep along at 15 FPS if you are lucky. Worst yet, the MS themselves animate oddly. Theres something about the way they run in action that simply doesnt look right. The best way to describe it is it looks like you are playing against people and lag is popping up constantly. If that wasnt bad enough, the collision detection must have been handled by a blind man, because youll swing at things with your melee weapons and miss constantly.
Having played this title at E3 in May, I had an idea that this title would be bad long before I had to review it. It was clunky, ugly, and slow before, and its clunky, ugly, and slow now. The only difference is that now, there no chance for it to get any better. Avoid this title like a 12th century leper. Its easily the worst game of the launch, the worst giant robot game ever, and front runner for worst anime-inspired game in history.
CCC Staff Writer