GUN­DAM VER­SUS

This solid bat­tler fails to push the bot out

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS - @alexd­jones1994

At first glance, this looks like the ul­ti­mate piece of wish fulfilment. Blast­ing around an arena in a high­pow­ered me­chan­i­cal mon­stros­ity, pulling off out­ra­geous special moves un­til your foes ex­plode into flam­ing balls of death while your an­ime pi­lot chuck­les – it’s an ex­hil­a­rat­ing power fan­tasy. Ini­tially, though, un­less you’re par­tic­u­larly au fait with pre­vi­ous Gun­dam ti­tles, you’re more likely to find your­self cast as the ex­plod­ing mech than the slick hero. While first im­pres­sions might sug­gest a light­hearted, car­toon-in­spired hack-and-slasher, real dis­ci­pline is re­quired here, and but­ton mash­ing will see your mech turned to junk in all but the eas­i­est modes. The stan­dard move­ment speed of all the ro­botic mo­bile suits (known in-game as MS) is slug­gish and leaves you no time to avoid in­com­ing at­tacks, forc­ing you to tra­verse each map us­ing boosts and dodges to re­main even re­motely safe. How­ever, it be­comes quickly ap­par­ent that this drains your power me­ter, so you learn to land your MS reg­u­larly to recharge.

A savvy op­po­nent will work out the rhythms of your move­ment and time pro­jec­tile at­tacks to hit as you land, so it be­comes im­por­tant to vary move­ments, blend­ing jumps, dodges, and land­ings in un­pre­dictable ways. And so it goes on: every time an op­po­nent kicks your ro­botic der­riere, they si­mul­ta­ne­ously teach you a new flaw in your strat­egy, though as time goes on it be­comes less about tech­niques or thumb dex­ter­ity and more about the psy­cho­log­i­cal metagame. This is most ev­i­dent in matches against a sin­gle hu­man op­po­nent – in more fre­netic modes, skill is some­times trumped by sheer luck.

In those 1v1 matches it’s not dis­sim­i­lar to a fight­ing game like Street Fighter, though there’s no need to mem­o­rise char­ac­ter-spe­cific moves or com­bos, which is lucky be­cause the MS ros­ter is lu­di­crously large, draw­ing from an ex­ten­sive back cat­a­logue of an­ime. Each suit is cus­tomis­able, too. Ad­ding a strate­gic layer, each MS has a nu­meric rat­ing. The high­er­rated ma­chines boast more fire­power, but put a larger dent in the team’s col­lec­tive health bar when they’re de­stroyed.

SCRAP METAL

The num­ber of modes is lim­ited – the off­line op­tions are stage- and wave-based bat­tles against the CPU, while on­line you have a choice of ca­sual or ranked 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 matches. While there’s longevity in de­vel­op­ing your com­pe­tency on­line, plus a de­cent smat­ter­ing of un­lock­ables, it does feel bare­bones. It’s also tech­ni­cally not bril­liant, with lag a fre­quent an­noy­ance on­line, and fram­er­ate drops in the busier off­line mo­ments. None of this ru­ins the ex­pe­ri­ence, but the sig­nif­i­cant time in­vest­ment needed to get the most out of Gun­dam Ver­sus might be bet­ter spent else­where.

VERDICT

“BLAST­ING AROUND IN A ME­CHAN­I­CAL MON­STROS­ITY IS A GIDDY POWER FAN­TASY.”

For fans of the fran­chise, or any­one with an urge to bat­tle ro­bots, there’s much to love here, but its tech­ni­cal flaws and stingy mode op­tions may dis­ap­point oth­ers. Alex Jones

Bland vi­su­als don’t stop the mu­sic from be­ing highly catchy. Shame you can’t hear it in print.

INFO

FOR­MAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB BANDAI NAMCO DEV BANDAI NAMCO

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