Giving you Gundam… and a Lot of it!
The Gundam series has been around for the last 30 years, and with more than 20 different TV iterations, it is certainly a staple of the genre. Dynasty Warriors is also a staple in gaming, and it has earned a reputation as a hack n’ slash institution that, while showing its age in recent iterations, has been around since the days of the original PlayStation. Although the original crossover was met with fairly poor reviews, the follow up does a lot to correct some of the problems of the first.
One of the biggest criticisms of the original Dynasty Warriors Gundam was that there just wasn’t that much to do. Sure, there were a few modes, but there weren’t enough Gundams –they all seemed to run together. Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 really attempts to fix this aspect by upping the mobile suit roster past 60 and offering plenty of new characters as well. The game features some of the most iconic characters and their respective suits. You can expect suits and characters from as far back as the Orginal Gundam, all the way through more modern series like G Gundam and Gundam SEED.
Although there are plenty of different characters and suits to play with, the real area where Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 has been beefed up is in the modes section. There are three main modes: Original, Mission, and Versus. The Original mode is the game’s main story mode and allows you to experience key points of each anime series as they relate to specific characters and suits. Each character has about 4-5 different stages in their Original mode, and while each one has an admittedly thin plot, the Gundam series has never really been known for its epic plotlines.
The gameplay in the original mode is about what you would expect from a Dynasty Warriors Gundam game. You will have a big map with different enemy controlled zones. As a Gundam, you can fly over to each area, defeat all the enemies, and then turn it into a friendly green zone. Occasionally, a level will end with a boss battle, but defeating a boss is not that different from defeating drones, so there isn’t much play variation.
The mission mode allows you to perform specific stat-bolstering missions while playing as any Gundam/Character you want, finding special parts to trick out your Gundam. You can also increase your relationship with other pilots as well as level up your own specific attributes. Each character has ten or more missions to complete; however, they all involve going around a map and changing red zones to green.
Unfortunately, this repetitive pattern is pretty much par for the course for the Dynasty Warriors. Though I was excited to see if the second Gundam-specific entry in the franchise would break the rigid mold that the Dynasty Warriors series at-large has set over the past ten years, in this respect I was sorely disappointed.
However, there was some reprieve from the hack n’ slash monotony in the versus mode. Although the game’s other modes can be played co-op, the versus mode is all about competition. There are three different versus battles that you can engage in: War, Sudden Death, and Hunting. War is the most complex of these modes, challenging you to complete more mini-missions than your opponent. The mini-missions normally entail getting a certain amount of combo hits or taking out a certain enemy. Completing the mission nets you points, while dying reduces your score. Completing a mission will also boost your attack stats while lowering your opponent’s stats.
Sudden Death mode is a little bit more simplistic, and challenges you to essentially kill your opponents as much as possible. You start out with a minimal defense bar, but as you take out other Gundams, the defense bar increases, which is a nice strategic element. The final versus mode is Hunting, which involves players who are assigned to either be a hunter or a target. Hunters gain points by taking down Gundams, and Targets earn points by running away. The player with the most points at the end is the victor.
I found the versus modes in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 to be very enjoyable, and it was nice to be able to play both locally and online with these modes. Although they are more of an accessory to the main game, I felt they were more enjoyable than the regular modes, perhaps because they were the only modes where the gameplay actually felt varied.
Technically, this game really doesn’t impress. Although the visuals are not offensive, they suffer from an overall lack of polish, and most Gundams are represented by blocky shapes reminiscent of the earliest anime series, rather than the slick, highly featured models that we’ve seen in more recent shows. The plot scenes in the Mission mode are an especially annoying facet of the visuals, as they only consisted of stoic characters with changing facial expressions against a textured background.
As far as the sound is concerned, your perception of this title will largely depend on your experience with the anime. Many of the Gundam animes have been localized very terribly, and even though purists have balked at the English dubbing, most fans have found it to be a source of humor. In short, yes, the voices are bad, but you just can’t help laughing at the bad acting and poorly-executed one-liners. I frequently found myself bowled over with laughter and had to pause the game just to catch my breath. If you are expecting serious and meaningful dialogue, you will be sorely disappointed by the sound in this title. But if you don’t mind a poor voiceover, then you will probably get some serious entertainment from it.
If I said I didn’t enjoy Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, that would be a lie. It is a fun game. However, the monotony of the series is really starting to wear out its charm. Doing the same thing over and over is really fun for a handful of hours, but I just can’t commit any more to it than that, which makes its $60 price tag just a little too high. Although there are plenty of good facets to Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, the game overall suffers from a huge “been there, done that” issue, which is my chief complaint. If you’ve never played a Dynasty Warriors or Musou game before, and you don’t mind repetitive game structure, then you’ll probably enjoy this title. But for my cash, I would like something just a little deeper.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.5 Graphics
Graphics are mediocre at best. The cutscenes lack detail, and plot scenes are little more than animated characters against bleak backgrounds. 3.7 Control
Controls are ridiculously simple, which works well for the fast pace of the game. 3.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voiceover is unintentionally humorous, and if you can appreciate the campy dialogue, it can be enjoyable. 3.5 Play Value
If you like hack n’ slash gameplay, the game’s many different modes will keep you playing for quite awhile. It’s just too bad this title sticks so firmly to this singular gameplay aspect. 3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.