Friday, 25 July 2014

Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn

Both the Dynasty Warriors and Gundam series are absolutely massive in Japan. Though greatly different in terms of content, both franchises have an equally big following of fans. That said, there is love for these franchises in the West as well, but not to the scale of in Japan. I mean, back in 2009 Japan built a full-scale replica of the RX-78 Gundam. Now that's countrywide fandom for you! Then a few years ago someone had an incredibly smart idea, and that was of combining both the Dynasty Warriors and Gundam series. So when the original Dynasty Warriors: Gundam was released back in 2007 for the PS3, it was a huge success in Japan and spawned its very own series. Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn is the fourth entry in this Dynasty Warriors and Gundam mash-up series, but considering it merges two of the biggest and most respected Japanese franchises ever... is it any good?

Developed by Koei and finally out now in the West on PlayStation 3 comes Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn, a game that while sounding astoundingly awesome and utterly tantalising on paper, is lacking at times. Essentially, Gundam Reborn takes the characters, mechs and various story arcs from the long running Gundam anime series, and builds a large scale fighting game around it using Dynasty Warriors as a template. So while there aren't any Dynasty Warriors characters running around here, the sheer idea of putting a Dynasty Warriors combat centric brain inside of a hulking Gundam body is all kinds of awesome.

Gameplay falls in line with the usual direction of the Dynasty Warriors series, and could be described as merely a hack-and-slash. But I'm not here to decry that genre. In fact, I found it quite fun during my review of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, but here it feels far too simplistic. That said, Koei have added a bit of spice to combat that prevents it from teetering on the edge of utter tedium, and that comes in the form of partners being used during combat. Mostly used during Ultimate Mode, partners add a splash of freshness to the game, and considering that there are many characters to choose from to be your partner, this feature adds a fantastic sense of choice and customisation to the game.

There are two modes in Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn. Firstly, during Official Mode you can experience various key points that took place during the Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam SEED anime series. The decision to exclude certain Gundam series' in Official Mode makes sense as it was originally aimed at a Japanese audience, but some Western fans may by sadden by the fact that Gundam 00 is overlooked. Though levels are mostly based Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam SEED, non-Gundam fans won't be left scratching their heads. Thanks to some pretty heavy exposition between battles, even a non-Gundam fan (like me!) will easily grasp the context of the various epic battles on offer here. The other mode available is Ultimate Mode, which offers up over 20 original story arcs, created solely for the game. I'd imagine that this mode would be incredibly exciting for any hardcore Gundam fan out there, as it crosses over many characters from the anime's long list of entries and spin-offs. Throughout both the Official and Ultimate modes, various Gundam suits can be unlocked too. This adds a great sense of depth to the game, but the pitfall here lies in the fact that eventually playing and replaying levels starts to get incredibly tedious.

The biggest downfall of the game is the incredibly bland level design and overall lack of visual appeal. Like with any Dynasty Warriors title out there, Gundam Reborn puts a lot of enemies on screen at once, but that isn't an excuse for low resolution textures, boring level design and a general feel that it's lacking any kind of polish. Though it’s got intense combat, a fun multiplayer and a large array of customisation, Gundam Reborn sometimes fails at evoking any sense of tension, dread or excitement in the player. It's not terrible, but damn, it could have be epic, man!

It's fun, but Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn isn't as good as it should be and gets a 3/5.


Denis Murphy

Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn at CeX

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