There is no question that flying a giant mech around and beating the shit out of other mechs can be immensely satisfying. However, having to learn an intricate combat system on your own, and having no story to help your through the early stages of this game create a barrier only the most dedicated fans will overcome.
Gundam Versus had the potential to be a fantastic brawler that stood up to games like Dragon Ball Z Budokai. Sadly, this one misses it’s mark in areas that make it hard to justify the money it costs to get it. When it comes to online features this game shines, there are multiple modes that allow a great variety for players to step up to other players. Where Versus falls short is in it’s tutorial and single player modes.
In terms of the tutorial, there really isn’t one. Jumping into certain single player modes will bring up a box that tells you how to perform a certain move, but that doesn’t mean you need to execute that technique in order to progress to the next stage. Instead, they’re more like “fun facts” for those looking to do more than button mash. Personally, I was able to figure out the controls enough to let me keep moving through the game, but for those not seasoned in these kinds of games, it will be a difficult hurdle to get over.
The “story mode” is pretty much two different arcade modes that remind you this is initially where this game came from. “Ultimate Battle” is your basic wave mode where you fight increasingly harder enemies until you eventually meet your demise and lose all progress up to that point. “Trial Battle” sets you off on a series of lacklustre missions that fail to follow any of the great Gundam arcs fans of the series will surely expect somewhere in this game. And… that’s about it, the rest of the game is focuses on multiplayer modes that pit you against other players in 2v2, 3v3, one on one and more.
Gundam has been a revered title since 1979, there is a wealth of story arcs that could have been utilised to make this game something to remember. For whatever reason though, NONE of them were used and if any of them were hinted at you wouldn’t know because barely any of the game was translated into English. Seriously, aside from the written word in the game, all spoken dialogue is in Japanese, from the pilots, to the announcer, anything said during gameplay is in a foreign language. It just makes things feel half-assed, and that’s a bummer because HOLY SHIT does this game offer a massive variety when it comes to Pilots and Gundams to choose from.
This is where another opportunity was not taken though. Yes you have an expansive arsenal to choose from, theres over a hundred mechs to play with, so at least a hand full will fit your play-style. The bummer is that choosing a pilot is just cosmetic. There are no stat boosts or perks to choosing a specific Gundam unit or pilot aside from the move set. This just feels like a missed opportunity to add that extra level of depth when it comes to customization and combat.
Thankfully there is a “favorites” option when scrolling through your mech choices. I recommend taking the first hour to just find a few Gundams you like and that fit how you want to play and go from there. Once you find the ones that suit your needs there’s really no need to go back to change them or try others because there is 0 change in how it affects gameplay.
The multi-player modes are fun, for a time, and yes it’s very gratifying when you pull out a win. Unfortunately though, this game has done little to make it one that can be picked up and played by the masses. From the lack of a tutorial, and story, to the fact that you can’t understand anything being said creates a separation between the game and the player that makes this title one I can only recommend for the hardcore fans of the series. Your casual gamer won’t be accepting of a game that doesn’t try to show them how to play. Gundam Versus should have been left in the arcade it was created for, the incompleteness of this title will make it hard for it to find a spot on our shelves.