Mobile Suit Gundam fans located outside of Japan are having a rough time when it comes to getting localized games from the series, as it has been years since anyone in the West has been able to play one. Despite being a huge hit in Japanese arcades, the series has been seen as too niche to bother giving a fair shake elsewhere. Well, Bandai Namco is giving it another shot now with Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs-Force, though I’m not sure this was the best game to kick things off with.
The game essentially serves as a greatest hits collection of the Mobile Suit Gundam series, as it gathers together many of the series’ most iconic mechs and has them battling against each other or together. The story that manages to gather all of these characters together is filler, however, as you’re basically going through hand-picked events from the series’ wide history, as a peculiar situation causes the series’ multiple timelines to converge. It’s a poorly-explained and nonsensical scenario that you get in many big cross-over games like this, and like others it definitely is not the reason that most will be seeking this game out.
It all comes down to the gameplay to be this game’s selling point, and there’s some solid action to be found here for those with a little patience. The majority of the game’s levels break down into team-based battles that have you capturing several points on the map while defending your own. Team sizes vary and certain changes in the mission objectives will stop each one from feeling exactly the same, such as guiding your ship to the end or taking out a boss. While you take control of just one of the many Mobile Suits that are on the map, you will be able to issue commands to others on your team in order to cover more of the map and keep things from getting out of hand. There are also dozens of different Mobile Suits to choose from, which all come with their own specific abilities and can be leveled up individually.
This tactical gameplay mixes well with the otherwise action-heavy third-person shooter gameplay, as there aren’t so many menus to deal with and micromanage that will take you out of the action for too long. Most of the time you’ll just be speeding towards capture points or other giant machines in all-out mayhem, and it’s typically pretty exciting. You have a variety of melee and ranged moves to pick from, as well as some special moves to throw out when the time is right. The enemy AI is also very strong, so just about every level forces you to play as well as you possibly can. There will also be certain optional objectives that will grant you medals that go towards unlocking additional levels, which are even more challenging, and encourage you to come back for more.
The gameplay is solid, but the localization could have been better
Unfortunately, while the core gameplay here is solid, the localization job definitely hurts it. While all of the text is in English, all of the spoken dialogue is in Japanese, which is fine in some spots but not so much in others. When you have the Japanese voice acting rolling in the background while you’re reading text it’s perfectly serviceable, but oftentimes there will be spoken dialogue that will pop up during battle that is not subtitled. This means that English players will have no clue what the heck the characters are saying at certain points, which can occasionally result in them missing out on important mission information.
The game also isn’t the prettiest to look at, as the graphics on display look a little dated. The character models themselves aren’t bad, but the buildings and terrain that you venture through in each level aren’t visually appealing. The game runs smoothly for the most part, though there were a handful of instances where a little slowdown occurred when a lot of action was happening onscreen.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs-Force has its weak points, but if you’re able to overlook its shortcomings then you’ll be able to find some solid gameplay. It’s just unfortunate that more attention wasn’t put into the localization effort, as it leaves a lot to be desired. Hardcore fans of the Gundam series should give it a shot, but everyone else should proceed with caution.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs-Force
- Available On: PS Vita
- Published By: Bandai Namco
- Developed By: Bandai Namco
- Genre: Action
- US Release Date: July 12th, 2016
- Reviewed On: PS Vita
- Quote: "Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs-Force has its weak points, but if you're able to overlook its shortcomings then you'll be able to find some solid gameplay. It's just unfortunate that more attention wasn't put into the localization effort, as it leaves a lot to be desired. Hardcore fans of the Gundam series should give it a shot, but everyone else should proceed with caution."
- Solid gameplay
- Lots of character variety
- Poor localization
- Dated graphics