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  1. #1

    [3DS] Gundam The 3D Battle

    This game proves that if you want a good Gundam game, you have to give the development ot anyone else bu BandaiNamco. In the case of Gundam The 3D Battle that "anyone else" is Artdink, hardly a newcomer for mecha games on portable consoles.

    The first thing to do is to create a pilot: name, portrait, Newtype or not, skills, and choose an operator. The game is divided in three main campaigns that follow the events of the One Year War, Z Gundam, and Char's Counterattack; at the start of each campaign you can choose your faction (Federation/Zeon for the OYW, AEUG/Titans for Z, Federation/Neo Zeon for CC). So far I've played for Zeon and the AEUG, and just started the Neo Zeon campaign: I don't know if different factions will have drastically different missions, but they give access to different Mobile Suits.

    I'm not sure if having a Newtype pilot or not influences the available suits, as my normal character has been offered a Zeong and a Elmeth. I think that the main difference between Newtypes and normal pilots is how passive and active skills are managed. What skills really do is unfortunately obscure to me, as everything in the game is in Japanese; luckily, skills don't seem to be game-changers. The language barrier isn't particularly high, you'll be able to fully enjoy the game, but things like pilot skills or MS/weapon specs, will be lost on you if you aren't able to read Japanese...or can rely on someone able to (uhmmm, who might this gentleman be? ;D )

    Mission structure ins't particularly complex, to complete one you need to kill everything the game throws at you. Some might have objectives to defend, very few will ask you to reach a certain location after the carnage, or other will see you in a support role when the game recreates climatic duels seen in the anime series, like, do you remember when Haman Kan in her Qubeley took on Camille Bidan in the Z Gundam, Quattro Vagina in the Hyaku Shiki, and a random pilot in Zaku I? No? You must have missed that episode.

    The fun thing is that you can use every suit you want in all missions, although newer suits will completely outperform older ones in terms of HPs, speed, and weapons. Sticking to a particular MS is rewarded with points to customise that MS and its weapons in various areas: hit points, boost time, damage, shots per clip, reload times...there are a lot of stats, and unfortunately all in Japanese. This system is very similar to Gundam Unicorn (PS3, From Software), without the excessive grinding to gather enough points to improve something. New Mobile Suits are offered at almost every new mission, and some Suits also have variants (like the Zaku II, the Zaku II S, or the Zaku II S Char's colours). New suits come with some points for you to spend, easing transitions between them.
    It's not possible to customise a Suit's weapons loadout, but almost every Suit has secondary weapons with different specs: for example the Hyaku Shiki carries a beam rifle and a bazooka. Different weapon types come in handy when dealing with special enemies: Suits with an I-Field Generator won't take much damage from beam weapons and you'll have to rely on bazookas and machine guns to bring them down. Explosive weapons can also knock down opponents, and grenades are thrown at an angle for limited indirect fire.
    There's an overreliance on close-range weapons to inflict the highest damage, but such assaults can be blocked and even deflected, leaving the assaulting party vulnerable for reprisal. There are also some "support" weapons that freeze the enemy in place, to stagger them, or to deploy dummies. Lastly, missions can be faced with support vehicles like Doodais or self-propelled heavy beam cannons, to further deepen the combat system.
    Ranged weapons aren't simply guns you fire while closing hoping to hit something. First, there are range brackets: yellow for extreme ranges, green for medium, blue for close. Brackets not only influence the likelihood to hit a target, but also the weapon's damage. Second, it's possible to take better aim by holding the fire button: your pilot will actually move the rifle where the target would be and will fire upon release. This is almost vital with weapons like bazookas and sniper rifles, and makes them useful, rather than the usual "fire and pray" approach that most Gundam games take with ranged weapons.

    Lastly, there's the terrain. Finally, a modern Gundam game with decent terrain. Destroyable buildings, complex features, maps ranging from tight quarters to open plains, even a map where you fight on the cylindrical body of a space colony. The only downside is that all maps are pretty small, and as a result you'll often hit area limits, with advanced Suits able to jump from one end to an other without much expenditure of boost meter. Hit detection with the terrain isn't 100% perfect, and sometimes the camera will go crazy when clipping through terrain, but it's a step in the right direction.

    Controls are easy to learn, but are bit floaty when jumping, and more often than not, you'll boost when you don't want to. Moving around the terrain is fine with old U.C. 0079 Suits, but again, advanced Suits seem to skim across terrain features, with no real grip or "weight" to them. The camera can be manually controlled via the d-pad, but never had to do so; as wrote before, the camera goes crazy sometimes, but it's adeguate the vast majority of the times. It's possible to lock and unlock targets, but I still haven't found a way to cycle between available enemies, and unlocking/relocking always goes to the nearest enemy, even if it's behind you and you are facing others.
    Like Gundam Side Stories Gaiden (PS3, BandaiNamco), it's possible to trigger weapon-related special attacks if you have enough SPs, but have barely used them. They do more damage than a normal attack, but I've found standard ways of attacking more flexible and reliable.

    So, yeah, Gundam The 3D Battle is a pretty good game. Its chief problem is that it's way too easy, with only duels posing any real challenge. And I'm done most Z Gundam missions with a Gelgoog, switching to a Hyaku Shiki only during the final battle. U.C. 0079 missions have been a breeze (and I was using an AcGuy most of the times), and the Geara Doga you're given for Char's Counterattack has been able to kick Amuro's and his Refined Zeta's behind easily. With six campaigns, extra missions, possibly two different pilot kinds to try out and even multiplayer, Gundam The 3D Battle is a very compelling package, one of the few recent Gundam games that make good use of its license.

  2. #2
    I forget which suit it was, I think the hi-nu Gundam, but those remote laser-jobbies were sweet.

  3. #3
    Nu, Hi-Nu, Sazabi, Jagd Doga, Elmeth, Alpha Aziel, Zeong (in a limited way) all have funnels.

  4. #4
    I have to fully agree as it is an amazing game, but its difficult to understand what's really going on or what's what.


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