The Dynasty Warriors series has crossed over into a few different eras and universes since it’s inception. It’s been to China, Japan, the villainous world of Orochi, and with the Gundam series, space.
No matter what era or location you’re in, however, one thing is always certain: you’re going to be hacking and slashing. Does Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 improve the forumla or add anything new to the series? Read on to find out.
First things first: you’re only really going to enjoy this game if you’re a fan of any of the Gundam series. I know a lot of younger gamers are going to pounce at the fact that you can play as Heero Yuy and pilot Wing Gundam Zero. However, he’s not really available in the true story mode, but I’ll get to that in just a bit.
The series featured in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 include the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta, ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, F91, Victory, G, Wing, Turn A Gundam, and SEED Destiny. Even though it’s missing two of my personal favorites, 0083 and 08th MS Team, you’re still getting a lot of bang for your buck, and odds are, you enjoy one of the shows featured.
As mentioned, you can only play as 4 characters in the full-on story mode (titled Official Mode), which only span from Mobile Suit Gundam to Char’s Counterattack, effectively ending the initial Gundam storyline. Everyone else is playable through “Mission Mode”. Whenever you finish each official playthrough, you’ll unlock an additional story arc for the corresponding character. It was a bit disappointing that I could only choose these 4, but there is a subsection of Mission Mode that features a few story missions for each character. My main complaint with this format is that I could not choose any of the 4 Official characters for Mission Mode, nor are any of the Mission Mode characters available for Official Mode. However, if a second player joins in, they can choose any character to accompany you in the main story (for some reason).
Controlling a mobile suit is vastly different than controlling a warlord in a typical Dynasty Warriors game. Suits can boost, hover, use ranged weaponry, utilize air special attacks, and some can even fly. Depending on the pilot and your equipment, the suit will carry with it different stats. To vary the action a bit, you’ll also encounter giant mobile suits, with play out like boss battles. However, these end up being more of a chore than an enjoyable experience. In order to do a considerable amount of damage to them, you have to use your special charge attack, or your smash attack (by holding the attack button): this knocks them off their feet and onto the ground. Giant battles generally consist of you knocking them over, slashing repeatedly, retreating, then using another knockdown attack, which feels very repetitive.
Battles will both take place in space, and on solid ground. While the space missions were serviceable, they all felt very flat in comparison to the ground missions, both aesthetically and content-wise. There aren’t enough planets or large stars around to differentiate the space maps from each other. On the ground, you’ll trek through tropical forests, desert wastelands and enemy bases, so there’s a lot of diversity in terms of the landscapes you’ll be visiting. As an added gameplay bonus, you can change the difficulty of each individual map before you enter it; so if you’re having some trouble, you can just turn it down a notch.
Overall, I’d contend that the mission quality isn’t quite the same as the core Dynasty Warriors series. Most of the time, you’ll just go from base to base until the final enemy appears, without very many alternative objectives. Also, whereas Dynasty Warriors was typically relaxed, and just had an overall time to complete a mission in, Gundam 2 will consistently give you tasks each with their own short time, all of which will force you to restart the mission entirely if you fail.
Mission mode is where the real meat of the game lies. In it, you can select from a number of different pilots, and choose from mini-story missions, parts recon, friendship missions, bonus missions, or download content. At the time of this review, there are 10 free missions available in both the Xbox Live and PSN Marketplaces, and they’re quite hefty.
There’s a lot to mess around with in mission mode. You can earn licenses for other mobile suits, build new units, speak to other characters, and receive story updates via email. One big feature of mission mode is that it’s always expanding: different continuities within the Gundam universe clash, and relationships change depending on your actions during each mission. This is most definately true, because sometimes due to your specific actions in a given map, you’ll unlock new pilots to use.
Additionally, there is a versus mode that you can either play with bots, or another player. There are three types of play: mission-based, sudden-death, or tag. Mission play is very hectic, as every minute you’re given a certain objective to complete. At the end of that minute, your mission changes, whether you’re finished or not. You are free to eliminate anyone you want in this mode to prevent them from accomplishing their goals. Sudden-death is basically just a free-for-all where everyone has low armor, and tag is just how it sounds. Versus is also available online for one player only, and there is still a community one month after the game’s release.
Overall, the actual gameplay of a mobile suit versus a typical Dynasty Warriors unit is rather different, but the core remains the same. In the end, you’ll be killing hundreds of the same unit, and mostly using the regular attack button to do it. If you haven’t tired of this formula by now, you’ll certainly enjoy the myriad of modes Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 has to offer. If you have a friend to play with, the value of the game increases astronomically due to the fact that 100% of the content is compatible with another player.
Reviewer’s note: The Playstation 3 version was tested for this review
Despite the fact that Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 isn’t pushing any graphical limitations, the game is still able to render an astounding amount of troops on the screen: something even the core Dynasty Warriors can’t do at times.
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You have a lot more to do as a mobile suit, but your enemies generally don’t present much a of a challenge, so it’s hard to notice.
Some of the cut-scenes are laughable in terms of the voice acting dialogue, but fans will cheer at the classic sound of beam sabers tearing through Zaku IIs. Additionally, the soundtrack is quite good.
As long as you don’t tire from the mission structure, you could play this game for months, and come back for the download content.
If you enjoy giant robots in any way shape or form, odds are you’ll love the game, and there’s enough fanservice to keep anime junkies entertained. However, due to the generally stale structure of the missions, this is definitely a niche title.
From feudal Japan to the distant future, my experience with the Dynasty Warrior franchise has been a limited, but generally, quality. I cannot go without saying that Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 has changed that experience.
Several questions came to my mind as I began to play through Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2. Most of them began with one word, “Why?”. For example: “Why would they start us out with the slowest Gundam with the most annoying weapon in the game?” That alone almost left me with more frustration than desire to continue on. Thankfully, I decided to soldier through the beginning portion of the game, and onto greener pastures.
As you continue through the story mode, you will be presented with a variety of Mobile Suit’s to pilot. Each of them much faster, and far more fun to use than the first one you are given. Many of them are light on their feet, and use a wide variety of sword-based energy weapons to slam through the hulk of the Federation army. Picking up upgrades to your Mobile Suit is important, so make sure that you grab anything off the map you possibly can. It is worth it once the mission is over to improve the individual pieces of your Gundam. The story mode is only the real beginning of the in depth upgrade system that is fully fleshed out in the Mission Mode.
I have another question to ask, “Why did the developers not push the power of the consoles in order to have a more beautiful game?” It is in high definition, and it does look crisp…but I have a few concerns. When I compare DWG2 to Playstation 2 titles, I seem to find that besides the high definition visuals, there is not a large difference between the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 2 versions of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t ugly…it is just bland. The individual Mobile Suits look alright, but the enemies they fight and the world they inhabit is somewhat bland, and without very many amazing design choices. I know that they are giant robots, but that does not mean the little buildings should look like something I drew, and colored in. The brightly colored attacks, and drawn character art is a nice addition, but it really does not allow for the fact that the rest of it just looks plain, almost as if they didn’t really finish the game.
Another question I have it, “Why am I getting my butt kicked on Xbox LIVE so often?” Upon entering the online arena, you are presented with a few different options to occupy your time. The commonly played mode is simply entitled “War”, which is similar to the single-player missions. There are opposing Mobile Suits, and their armies to fight. Only this time the “megabehemothbot” is attached to another controller. This changes things, dramatically. I do not know if who I fought just had a lot of experience with the first game, and now number two, or if I just stunk. Either way, I got my head handed to me on a golden platter.
The lack of balance within the multiplayer seemed to be far to obvious to ignore. Children are obviously going to be included in the highest percentage of consumers, so why is it so difficult? If everything goes well, you’ll end up learning how to take down your human enemies, but it is always going to be a challenge unless you spend a lot of time with this title.
The last major question I would have for the developers is “Why did you make the achievements so difficult to obtain?” It almost seems to me that these specific goals were put in place to extend the game because perhaps it would not have a lot of replay value on its own merits. My gut feeling says that this is definitely a possibility to entertain.
After reading all this, you’re probably ready to ask me a question: Why should I get Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2?
The original story that follows the Gundam storyline is a quick, yet accurate recreation of the the series. It allows you to play through a few of the main characters and allows you to take part in many of the battles that are unique to the series. Although these battles take place in the Dynasty Warriors style, they’re still quite stressful with the time limit and the various objectives that need taken care of. Oh, and the other people that you need to help get annoying. Make sure and protect anyone who needs it, or you’ll undoubtedly fail. The in-depth Gundam upgrade system found inside the Mission Mode will give you hours of content to complete. From customizing your Gundam, to leveling your characters, there are truly hours after hours of things to do in this game. You’ll be asking yourself, “Where can I find the time?”
Fans of the anime are going to be picking this game up regardless of what I have to say, and they’ll be enjoying it for many, many weeks to come. As for everyone else? It doesn’t feel like they’ve done anything to improve upon the Dynasty Warriors genre of gaming: all they did was slap in some giant robots, again.
Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review
The current-gen versions just seems like a high definition Playstation 2 game, with bland models.
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It’s Dynasty Warriors, and that’s just fine. Expect repetitive, yet action-packed gameplay.
Not much to say here: the voice acting is generally sub-par, but the sound effects are what you’d expect.
Honestly, there’s a lot to do. The amount of battles and upgrades are overwhelming.
Fans of the anime will like it, but chances are anyone else won’t.