• Koei are back yet again with its Warriors franchise in the shape of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam. Gone are the ancient Chinese Warriors and in place swoop in the futuristic mech Gundam Mobile Suits begging the instant question… Is the futuristic twist to the tale a step up and a step forward for the Warriors franchise? Or is it purely another same ole, same ole approach by Koei, disguised with a new coat of Gundam Wing paint?

    Dynasty Warriors: Gundam takes the anime sensation that is Gundam and pushes it through its model that is the Warriors series. In DW: Gundam you will take the role of several Gundam pilots and through a series of missions face hundreds of on screen enemies at once, constantly looking to smash your way through the enemy and to conquer each playing field as you go. Koei quite simply have not changed the formulae so for anyone that has played any of the Dynasty Warriors type games before, you should at least know what to expect, albeit your Chinese warrior is now a Gundam Mobile Suit equipped with a laser sword and gun.

    Dynasty Warriors: Gundam

    Game modes in DW: Gundam come in a few flavours with two campaign modes and Xbox LIVE Multiplayer support to boot. Campaign modes include an Official Mode where you will have the choice 16 different playable characters, and with official mode looking to base itself around the existing Gundam story line. Chew your way through official mode or get bored along the way… then you can always switch your attention to the Original Mode, which takes well know Gundam characters with newly built storylines. Multiplayer includes the ability to take a friend through both the official and original campaign modes and multiplayer also includes, a versus mode where you and a friend can either fight one or one or compete to clear out a group of enemies with the quickest time.

    Starting out in DW: Gundam and having picked one of the campaign modes on offer will leave you with a limited choice of initial pilots. Pilot picked will then move you to a mission briefing highlighting your objectives, and while sometimes these come across as quite boring and longwinded… you should at least pay attention to what needs to be done to avoid some of the chaos later. When you have understood your brief and have launched into a mission you will usually be placed at a far side or far corner of a map and you will notice your allies highlighted in blue and enemy positions also clearly defined.

    Dynasty Warriors methodology has always worked around pushing the enemy back and as you progress taking over territories so that you establish additional friendly field bases and as such grow your allies’ presence on the battlefield. This is done in the simplest of fashions by literally destroying any enemy that gets in your way. Along your path of destruction, you will suddenly find yourself facing other ‘ace’ Gundam pilots and defeating these aces quite often equal mission success – so the trick here is to keep an eye out for them and make a bee line to them when they do appear allowing you to get through the missions as quickly as possible. My final piece of advice here is to not only keep your eyes open but listen out for what is going on as quite often an ally will come under heavy attack and they will call for help – you need to look to move to them as soon as possible as missions will end should you lose certain allies. So always look to check out the mission parameters for both success and failure and keep your eyes peeled on both sides to ensure it runs smoothly.

    When you are playing through each mission… during each of these battles, you will unlock new parts for your mobile suit and gain pilot skills. The result here is that each time you complete a mission you should have gained at least one or more new parts for your mobile suit and at least one new pilot skill. Then before you launch the next mission you should pay attention to the left hand side menu options on the mission briefing and you will notice an option to change skills and add parts. Jumping into each of these menus allows you to add attributes or items to your pilot and mobile suit and as such improve your chances of survival throughout subsequent and more challenging missions. My tip here is always look to improve your mobile suits melee and armour values as your gun is never really that effective and you will rely heavily on slashing your way through your enemies and thus why improving melee damage all that more important.

    As highlighted DW: Gundam quite simply comes down to smashing your way through all enemy forces, eliminating the aces along the way and then moving to the next battlefield to start the whole tactical process again. This in essence is the first of many problems with the game, in that there is just no real variety to what you are asked to do, and can become quite mind numbing for the player. Couple that with the fact that the game looks for you to replay the whole affair several times selecting new pilots as you go and that the achievements surround this, markets the game for the hardcore fan only. Koei have not changed it’s formulae on the Warriors series and while it obviously appeals to its Japanese fan base, Western gamers are starting to grow tired of playing the same game with a new title slapped on it. I have reviewed a number of games on the Warriors series – and quite frankly I have had enough of them now to last me a life time.

    Another problem and probably the major one for me is that the game offers no checkpoint system what so ever. Certain levels can take as long as thirty minutes plus and I got sick of reaching the part in any given level, facing off against the last ace, to… die! Dying basically results in being forced to play the entire level from the beginning, and quite frankly the lack of checkpoints in any game today… is crap!

    Other problems exist with that the multiplayer aspect is setup for 2 players max and where we might have hoped for huge 16 player Gundam Mobile Suit battles, Koei obviously had other ideas and you have what you have – like it or lump it. Another issue is that in the heat of battle the game can become very confusing. You will be shown where to go and will be right in the middle of clearing out an area, when someone shouts help. So you move to help only for someone else to shout help and this leaves you scratching your head with who you should help first. Leave someone fending for themselves too long then only results in you being screamed at. The game can become overwhelming at times and leaves you in a head spin with you trying to figure out what the hell you should be doing and how you should be doing it.

    My final issue with the game is that while this game is certainly not horrible to look at, everything is pretty much… flat. Nothing strikes you as beautifully done and this game could quite easily look as it does on a first gen platform. Sound presentation is also pretty poorly done and while I expected nothing flashy on voice over work from what is essentially Japanese translation, the repeating sound effects and comments each pilot makes started to grate after a while and even had me thinking of muting my sound all together some time later.

    Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is not a horrible game, but Koei really should try and start to use some imagination with the Warriors series or drop it altogether as it is just old hat now and throwing in Gundam Mobile Suits to tempt us – just did not work for me. This is easily a hardcore fan aimed game and if you have loved every single Warriors series game, then I have no doubt that you will love this and would probably chase down every achievement with no problem what so ever. But for that game who has never played any of the series or has played the odd one or two… then don’t bother as in reality, the only apparent change is, you are no longer in control of an ancient Chinese Warrior, but then you may as well be as there is no other difference to make this game stand out from the crowd.

    Score: 5/10

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