The Zeon is looking for a few good bullet-sponges. Review

Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • Bandai

Developer

  • Bandai

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS2

rating

The Zeon is looking for a few good bullet-sponges.

The Gundam series has exploded in America over the past few years. Although it’s

been around since the ’70s, it took off in the US with the introduction of Gundam

Wing. Though it’s never really captured the mainstream, it certainly has a very

dedicated hardcore following.

Gundam

tells the ongoing story of two warring factions: The Federation, who occupy

Earth, and the Zeon, who left Earth due to overpopulation and now want to come

back. One of the most captivating aspects of Gundam is that no side is the clear-cut

hero and no side is the villain. Often, you find yourself cheering for either

of the two.

Still, you always wind up playing as the Federation. Now for the first time

you get to take on the role of the Zeon in Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front,

the second installment of Gundam on the PS2. The first, Journey

to Jaburo
, was an action title that failed to hold up. Zeonic Front,

however, fuses action and with real-time strategy and in many ways succeeds

where its predecessor had failed.

Zeonic Front has nothing to do with Gundam Wing, which may come as a

disappointment to fans of that particular series. Wing is based on a sort of

an alternate reality – the story line is a variation of the traditional Gundam

and the Mechs are much more elaborate. Zeonic Front follows the normal

timeline of Gundam, so you won’t see any Deathscythes, Sandrocks, or Heavy Arms

– just good old fashion Gundams and Zakus.

You play as the Zeon running various sorties on Earth. You begin each level by planning your route through the stage, or you can use the default one provided. This can literally take hours. When laying the path, you must determine which way to go, which command to execute once a point is reached,

and which direction the team should be facing once they arrive there. The routes are important because you usually have more than one team, and as you switch to one the computer takes over and follows the other.

What troubles me is the fact that while laying a particular path, there is

no way to tell where the enemy is going to be. So for all you know your route

can bring you right in front of a tank division ready to put some lead in your

diet. Some kind of enemy indicator would have helped, but instead you must go

through the level, get shot at, die, then and go back and plan another route.

The trial and error gets tiring and takes away a bit from what is a very original

take on Gundam gaming.

After routes have been plotted out, the game shifts into a third-person action

game. Thankfully, Zeonic Front‘s control is quite forgiving and follows

the scheme of first-person shooters. The left analog stick controls movement,

right looks around, and the shoulder buttons are used to fire. It’s pretty intuitive.

During a mission, you are often in control of two and sometimes three different

groups. The AI becomes very important; there’s nothing worse than watching your

computer controlled forces run around in circles, getting stuck behind things,

just standing there, or following you around despite the orders you issued.

But this isn’t the case, as the game pulls through with solid AI.

You’ll

see your comrades engage the enemy with no hesitation, boost over obstacles

and stay in a group in order to focus their attacks on a single target. The

AI offers great support in both the teams you are commanding as well as the

computer controlled ones.

Most of this game will have to be learned while playing because the instruction

book is awful. It does a wonderful job of describing the Zaku’s capabilities,

but doesn’t spend enough time on how to execute these moves. Though after each

mission training levels are unlocked (which provide a great deal of help), the

learning curve can be tough.

Zeonic Front is impressive graphically. The environments and the Mobile

Suits themselves are very smooth – the shading and shadow effects are particularly

well done. There’s some noticeable pop-up, but the game generally looks good.

In addition to all of the classic Gundam sounds, the overall effects are done

very well. There is great deal of ambient sound, which adds some life to this

already intricate game. It pains me to hear good Anime butchered by horrible

English voice-overs. Luckily, Zeonic Front allows you to play with Japanese

voices and English subtitles. However, the English voice acting is exceptionally

good in this case and is actually worth a listen.

Zeonic Front is very complex and very difficult both in gameplay and

storyline. It’s definitely a game you shouldn’t play at four in the morning

after a half case of Corona. But if you’re up to a good challenge, you might

want to give it a try. Even those who don’t follow the Gundam universe should

still find some pleasure here.







REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating
Looks pretty
Good AI
Interesting gameplay
Planning routes too time consuming
Instruction booklet nearly useless