It's like Dynasty Warriors... but with Gundams... duh.
Japan, for any of you who may not know, is a magical land where ninjas and Godzilla live, a place where absolutely everything gets made into a video game. This is only bad when one established franchise runs out of original ideas and combines with another franchise to make a whole new, mediocre, two-headed cash cow. Some games result in a hit, a la Super Smash Bros., while other games liike Onechanbara - which combines zombies, ninjas, and titties - fail worse than an armless man at a swim meet.
[image1]The latest amalgam in this trend of inter-genre cross-breeding is Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2. It’s all there in the title. You’ve got your trademark button-mash fest of DW combat, but instead of a bunch of Three Kingdoms ****bags standing there waiting for you to mash X at them, the enemies are a bunch of enemy robots. And you're in one, too! Surprise, surprise...
The gameplay is as monotonous as ever, and there’s a good chance you’ll wear out your square button before you finish the game, doing the same moves over and over again. The controls haven’t changed much in the twelve years the Dynasty Warriors franchise has been around, meaning that if you want to block, you’ll need the precognition of a Jedi to actually pull it off. Fortunately, there's no reason to block.
[image2]There are five different game types, including an online versus and “Official”. Official is your story mode, where you choose from a handful of characters from the Gundam universe - a surprising amount of story is dedicated to each character. That is, until you start a mission; then it’s mash square until there’s nothing left standing, and then rush to a designated spot before an arbitrary timer runs out. The levels in Official mode are all themed around their respective lead protagonist, so given DW’s gameplay style, it’s not bad.
DW:G2 boasts 60+ different mobile suits that can all be upgraded and used in every mode but Official. At a certain point in every story, you’ll face a giant robot (more giant than yours) that is made specifically to piss you off. You need to hit it in certain spots, but only at certain times and without a targeting system, which suffice it to say, is harder than you’d think. It was just about three levels into the Zeta Gundam story when I first fought one of these monstrosities mano a mano; and immediately after (before I could heal), I had to fight one with a whole regiment of baddies at its side. “Nuts to this!” I told myself, before switching to “Mission” mode (just story mode, only more disjointed); and sure enough, another giant robot was waiting with legions in tow, just dying to take the piss out of me.
[image3]Enough about the extra-giant robots, we’ll get back to them later. On the technical front, DW:G2 isn't shabby. The graphics never stutter, even while you're playing split-screen and with throngs baddies on screen, which is damned impressive. The voice acting is good, too, though the dialogue is poorly written - you’ll hear the same line many more times than you’ll ever want to. On the upside, the writing is bad to the point of being hilarious, like when you select a character named Kamille, he screams “Kamille’s a man’s name! And I’m a man!” [Yes,
Camilla Kamille. ~Ed. Nick]
All in all, it’s not a bad game, if you’re into the Gundam series - wait, scratch that. Great graphics and sky-high frame rates are neat and all, but it’s all for naught if you can’t get past the third ****ing level. I can already see some of you scoffing at the prospect of a critic not being able to finish the game, but I assure you that I’m not the only one who had trouble with this.
DW:G2 feels like it was made for fans, but Koei didn’t know which fans to placate: theirs or Gundam fans. It tries to satisfy both but ends up disappointing both. If you recognize the name M’Queve or know which mobile suit the RX-78 is, then you’ll enjoy the sheer amount of content in the game, but whether or not getting to it is worth the effort will likely be an easy decision for you. Give it a try, but don’t be surprised if you end up trading it in for a Gundam DVD instead.