The first post of 2012! And thanks to some extended time off, I have no real projects or figure purchases to speak of (though I have another new kit to add to the queue!) so for this post, I decided to go and review the last game I purchased in 2011, Gundam Extreme vs on the PS3
Despite it being released back on the 1st of December, my copy didn’t arrive until the 23rd, just as I was about to visit the folks for the holiday!! Play Asia started shipping Playstation products to the UK again (they stopped shipping PSP stuff after ye olde Lik-Sang incident and PS3 stuff was also effected, though not PS2, strangely enough!) so I thought I’d give them a shot again. Pretty sure they weren’t this slow before…
In any case, this is the latest version of the gundam vs series which started way back on the PS2 back in 2001. This would be the 9th game in the series and the first on the current gen consoles. The previous 2 games were released on PSP and the ones before that all found a home on the PS2 (save for 1, which was released on the gamecube). The series and I have a fair bit of history, seeing as I played all but 2 in the series, the aforementioned GC game and Gundam vs Gundam NEXT, which was one of the games on the PSP. Most games in the series focused on a particular series. The first game had the first gundam series, AEUG vs Titans went for Zeta and then we had 2 games based in the SEED universe (Alliance vs ZAFT is probably still my fave in the series after all these years). But for the more recent games, they started combining series for a wider variety of more recognisable units.
Extreme Vs also marks a bit of a step back in terms of game mechanics as it does away with features which were introduced in Gundam vs Gundam which is a GREAT THING as it means that units no longer have retarded “all area” attacks they can call on. Gundam vs Gundam NEXT removed the feature too but ended up being horribly unbalanced I’ve been told.
As for game mechanics, the main points have stayed constant throughout the series. Battles are fought usually between 2 teams of 2 units. Each team have a set number of life points and choose a unit to control in the game. If the unit is destroyed, a set number of life points are deducted from the team bar. The team loses when they run out of life points. More powerful units cost more points so they can be destroyed fewer times. Using gundam SEED as an example (because it’s one of the better known shows), you can die in a GINN multiple times without too much of an issue but if you die in Freedom gundam twice, you hit Game over!
The games are also released in the arcades so the controls are fairly simple and easy to grasp but allow for quite nuanced control of your unit when you become more capable. The 4 main buttons are jump, shot, melee and change target. Different units have different numbers of attacks depending on what they can do in their series and the different attacks can be done via various button combinations or shortcuts on the gamepad. For example, The nu Gundam has access to a hyper bazooka and fun funnels as well as basic beam saber and rifle and the Strike gundam can change packs on the fly. But a unit like red frame only has his beam rifle and gerbera straight, but has more damaging melee attacks compared to other units.
For the home versions, there’s the standard arcade mode, obligatory multiplayer (both online and offline flavours) but also a mission mode which is not seen in the arcade versions. Most are basic “defeat the enemy” missions but on occasion, you find yourself locked to a specific unit and find yourself trying to recreate scenes from some of the series. Complete some missions with a certain criteria and you get emblems you can use to display on your online profile and earn trophies (I just use the Katejina Loos emblem though). Oh, and the Zudah really is CRAP!!!
That’s it for the backstory, how did the game feel?
- Fast paced arcade action – The best thing about the Gundam vs games was the immediate sense of speed and pace to the battles. It’s really fast, as opposed to other games like Another Century Episode.
- HUGE unit roster – It doesn’t quite beat Alliance vs ZAFT II but that game cheated by using games from both SEED series and having multiple versions of the same unit (there were at least 5 different strike gundams!!). There’s plenty in Extreme vs (at least 2 units from every animated series and some non animated ones as well (like Crossbone Gundam))and they’re all different enough from eachother.
- BGM – Each series comes with the theme from their respective shows as the BGM when they fight so you get “Flying in the Sky” for G Gundam, ” the Winner” for Gundam 0083 and so on. Don’t like the BGM? The PS3 version allows you to replace songs with ones on your HDD! So I replaced Ignited from Gundam SEED Destiny with Realize, the 4th OP from Gundam SEED!
- Hi Nu Gundam – There’s a code given in first release copies of the game which gives you the Hi Nu gundam as DLC for free. And it’s a BEAST!!! so fun to use!
- Online Multiplayer – It’s limited to simple VS fights where teams are made up from up to 8 people in a lobby. There’s no arcade multiplayer or anything like that but that’s the same in the arcade. And the fact that I can actually play player matches without too much of an issue is great! Ranked matches are cheap and lag central though, assuming you actually get a match!
- LATE!! – it took so long to arrive, I didn’t play it as much as I wanted
- Ridiculous difficulty spikes – This is mostly in mission mode but there are some stupidly hard missions in there. You can ignore some but they do throw you off a little
- Extreme Gundam – It’s the Final boss unit and since it’s an arcade game, you expect him to be cheap, but probably not this cheap!! He has 3 forms, or rather 3 different exo-armours which the unit docks into. A ranged cannon type, some weird unit able to manipulate ice and a sword wielding version. Which one you fight is determined by the route you pick in the arcade more. If you take the hardest route, you need to fight all 3! Just pray you don’t get the sword one. He’s by far the most annoying. And the unit is voiced by Gackt!! Androgynous voice and all!!!
- Linkin Park… WTF???? – The main theme was sung my Linkin Park. As far as random celeb tie-ups go, this one is pretty out there!!
- No Freedom Gundam – We get Strike Freedom but no Freedom?? BOO!!!!
- Price – Because it’s an imported game, DAMN IT’S EXPENSIVE!!!!! damn exchange rates…
Overall, I like Extreme vs quite a bit. It still doesn’t beat Alliance Vs ZAFT for me but it’s a return to form after dropping the ball so spectacularly with Gundam vs Gundam. Looks like I’ll be plying this quite a bit until the next big game comes along, whatever it may be. I was looking forward to Anarchy Reigns but that was pushed back to the Summer… Mass Effect 3 in March Maybe? Oh crap, I need to finish ME2 again since I lost my complete save… Balls…