Reviewed: July 10, 2011
Released: June 28, 2011
I can remember the days where I would sit in front of the TV and play Dynasty Warriors 2 for hours when it first came out. I absolutely enjoyed taking out any number of enemies that dared to point their weapons at me. It was a fun then but after several sequels the series sort of fell off my radar as I got tired of the constant repetitive nature of the series. The series however regained my interest back in 2007 when Koei and Namco Bandai introduced a new spin-off series in the form of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam.|
Gundam, or Mobile Suit Gundam, is easily one of the most recognizable mecha (giant robots) animation series ever made dating back to 1979 and is still in production today in the form of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. While Iíve missed a lot of the shows over the years and my knowledge of the shows isnít as good as Iíd like I still love the franchise. Thatís why I couldnít wait to review the newest addition to the Gundam series, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 for the Xbox 360.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 while remaining very similar to its predecessors in gameplay gains a few new features that makes things a bit more interesting. This release also features an original story not based on any of the Gundam Media. Yes the same press X a lot is still the general means to dispatching your enemies though Iíve found that tactics are needed to keep your cel-shaded metal butt alive. For instance, the newly added Emergency Dash comes in handy when you find yourself in over your head in against a boss or enemy mob. This special maneuver does drain part of your Mobile Suit Boost gauge so you have to be careful when using it.
Though using tactics while fighting the mobs of enemies is good, itís also about choosing which fields of the map to fight and take over first. New to Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is the addition of Bases, Catapults, Fortresses, Mobile Suits Factory and Repair Hangers. Many if not all of these can or are on most maps that you will fight on. Ultimately you want to take over all fields on the map though certain ones are more important than others. For instance if there is a Catapult on the map youíll want control of it, especially to stop the enemy from being able to jump across the map near your Home Base.
Itís also important to control Advance Bases as soon as possible as well as it will boost your Partner Gauge and SP Gauge. Taking over these key locations not only helps you but it seriously affects the enemyís ability to fight you. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 features a newly added unit gauge that lets you know how you and your opponents are doing. If either gauge empties then that team loses the ability to gain reinforcements. That means if your gauge is emptyÖdonít die.
Another useful addition to the Gundam 3 is the Partner Strike which brings in another pilot into assists you in battle. This may seem similar if youíve played the Koei title Warriors Orochi 2. This uses part of your SP gauge but it can help you when you really need it. I always use this when Iím a little underpowered against the various Ace Pilots and the even deadlier giant Mobile Armors such as the Psyco Gundam. The guys at Koei and Namco added a new feature called the Chance Gauge to help take down these tougher opponents. By continuously attacking your opponent and filling up the gauge under its name you gain the chance to attack its weak points and be able to do greater damage.
The thing that I like about Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is the sure amount of things to do. There are multiple modes of play with both the offline and online experiences. The majority of the game however is done offline and only 15 maps are specifically designed for online co-op. The online portion was cool and all but I found that I enjoyed playing the Gundam 3 offline and with my friend who loves Gundam even more that I do. There are over 300 missions available across the Story Modes as the unlockable History, Collection, Memorial, Challenge, Friendship, Relationship and Special Missions.
As you play the original story you will uncover more and more of the unlockable characters and their iconic Mobile Suits that any Gundam fan will recognize. With over 40 pilots from the various series and over 120 different mobile suits there is no shortage of mixing and matching your favorite setup. Though Iím sure you all have your favorite pilot in mind, Banagher for me, to use its important to use all the characters evenly as there are some missions that are character specific. If you have a low level pilot and Mobile Suit then those tougher mission you unlock could be a whole lot tougher.
The Mobile Suits you use are as equally important as leveling up your pilots. By completing the various missions you have a chance to gain more powerful plans of the Gundams youíre already using. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 offers a ridiculous amount of customization when it comes to making your favorite Gundams function like you want them to. While you canít touch the iconic looks you can change everything from the level of melee damage to the inflicted shot damage depending on how close you are to your enemy.
As I mentioned there are over 120 Mobile Suits to unlock and use, though you first have to earn the right to use them. Some MS require licenses to use especially if the Suit is not native to a characterís universe. For example, Amuro Ray canít use the Unicorn Gundam unless you earn and buy the license to allow him to do so. Some Gundams can be used by anybody and each pilot has a Gundam that they specialize in such as Setsunaís 00 Raiser.
What I really liked is that not every Gundam is alike. Each functions differently and you have to take that in consideration when going into battle. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is not exactly a one button combat title. For instance I favor melee Gundams like the Gundam Unicorn, the Gundam Epyon and the OO Raiser in battle but there are plenty of well rounded and shot based to use. Combos are important and are usually executed by combining the X, Y, Right Bumper and B buttons. These make clearing a field much easier. One of the coolest features is the Quick Time events and I usually hate them in videogames. If and when you encounter these itís as simply as hitting the 4 buttons displayed on the screen and you will inflict a good bit of damage on your opponent.
The only real complaint that I have about Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is the camera system. The camera doesnít follow behind your Gundam so youíve got to constantly use the Right Analog stick to rotate the camera around. This is extremely annoying while fighting bosses since there is a complete lack of a lock on feature. You only have an arrow indicator to let you know where the major enemy is. There is also the somewhat confusing menu system to deal with. The menu system does take a bit of time to get down as the amount of customization is huge. Itís not as bad as some titles Iíve seen but it might be overwhelming for newcomers to the series.
One of the biggest improvements to the series that I found is the cel-shaded graphics. The predecessors to Gundam 3 featured very military looking Gundams and didnít really fit the visual style of the shows. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 definitely brings the shows to the console with the classic looks that I remember. Whatís better is that Gundam 3 features cel-shaded cut scenes that only bring more of the franchise appeal to the action. The opening video before the actual game also helps to solidify that.
The environments look pretty decent and vary from space locations, deserts and even city locales. To accompany the classic Gundam Mobile Suit looks, Koei brought awesome still character animations to the mix. There is roughly over 30 years of Gundam characters contained in this one title and the still art covers every bit of that. You can actually see the different art styles in the stills.
You canít have an anime inspired game without some quality high paced action tunes as well as some hauntingly calm mood music. I really liked the score for Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 just as much as I liked the sound effects. The sound department did an awesome job at making the weapons sound authentic and crisp. I also liked the voice acting that you hear during battles and during key story moments. Now I havenít been following the series over the years nearly as much as my co-op partner for this adventure so I couldnít tell if the voices were the same but thanks to his excellent ear he confirmed that many of the original voice actors were used for their famous roles.
As I mentioned, there is an online mode that features 15 missions that are, to be quite honest, hard and cannot be tackled alone thanks to their special design. It will take you and up to 3 other players over Xbox Live to tackle these bad boys. The overall rules of play are the same as the offline mode. I also like the fact that real players take the place of the computer when using Partner Strikes.
I went into my review of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 hoping for a fun experience and that is exactly what I got. Iíll probably stop once Iíve completed every mission, gained every mobile suit and unlocked every character. It would have been nice to have had a lock on feature since the camera system is lacking. But despite that I enjoyed this all new story and reliving some of my favorite battles in the Gundam universe. If youíre a fan of Gundam and some good old fashioned Dynasty Warriors action I definitely recommend buying Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3.