In recent years, publishers like Bandai Namco have begun to look with increasing curiosity and interest at a market where, until recently, offering something too "Japanese" was nothing short of a gamble. The speech is actually a bit more complicated because we are referring especially to manga, anime and their possible tie-ins: after all, it made no sense to invest in a product designed for fans in an environment in which there are no such fans. 'were very few, right? And yet, the Gundam created by Yoshiyuki Tomino has always been very popular with us too, first with the animated series broadcast many years ago, then with comics and merchandising: many today learn about it by first assembling the models - the infamous "gunpla" - and then watching the television series. Now that publishers have taken courage, it was only a matter of time before the Gundam-inspired titles that come out in Japan every year also arrive in the West. The problem is that Bandai Namco could have imported something better than Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force.
We could have had better but for now we have to make do with Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is basically the latest iteration of the VS series, a popular line of arcade titles often converted to consoles: they are brawlers, especially the latest Extreme VS, in which you can select the many Gundams - but not only - appeared in the sagas that outline the multicolored multiverse. In these three-dimensional fighting games, mechs are selected based on a ratio of power to longevity represented by a number. The higher the number, the more powerful the mech but the fewer additional attempts you will have to defeat the enemy.
This balance allows the composition of a varied roster, enriched both by the strongest Gundams in history, and by "cannon fodder" mechs, but it collapses inexorably when it is decided to have a dynamic and tough Gundam like the Unicorn fight against the poorest of the Zaku: there is really no comparison. The combat system is essentially entrusted to four buttons: one controls the main firearm, another the melee attack, a third allows you to lock the targets (then passing from one to the other with the right stick) and a fourth allows you to shoot and fly by consuming the Boost indicator that recharges over time. Each attack consumes ammunition which, once depleted, automatically reloads, and by combining the backbones with the two normal attacks you perform the "special moves" for which the various mechs have become famous. It is an apparently simple control system but in reality rather uncomfortable and complicated, above all because the game only briefly explains the various fighting techniques., glossing over combos, cancellations and other fundamental maneuvers: some Gundams can change shape but not even the list of commands explains how to do it, just as it does not mention the fact that some mechs have extra special attacks or the ability to chain them in combos. Practice makes perfect, of course, but Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force does not offer a training mode and the chaos of the action, also caused by a schizophrenic camera that not even the settings can tame, makes the clashes more frustrating than fun even in learning phase. Ironically, the combat system of Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force has been enormously simplified compared to the major exponent of the series, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Full Boost, in which the variety of combos and special techniques made the gameplay resemble that of a traditional fighting game: this new iteration, on the other hand, was designed around a new game mode that perhaps it would have been better not to see the light.
The trophies are 44 in total and include, in addition to platinum, three gold, ten silver and thirty bronze trophies. Most are achieved by completing EXTREME-FORCE mode and meeting the requirements of all bonus objectives, but also by controlling all mechs in the various game modes.
Winning gunpla doesn't change
At the Japanese release, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force practically offered only the EXTREME-FORCE mode and the Japanese fans complained so much that Bandai Namco was practically forced to update the software with a couple of extra modes that increased its low longevity, including an arcade mode where you can choose Gundams from the roster and give them a hard time with the CPU: unfortunately the multiplayer mode, only competitive in addition, is relegated to the ad hoc connection, without the possibility of playing with friends and acquaintances through the internet.
The problem with EXTREME-FORCE mode, however, is one of pure and simple design. The superficial plot is a pretext to bring together characters and mechs who appeared in completely different series, analyzing the most important battles of the franchise. They will say absolutely nothing to Gundam newbies, but true fans will appreciate the quotes and contexts in which the missions take place, often presided over by bosses of enormous size and accompanied by the most memorable music. Battles, however, are not mere "button mashing": the gameplay has been altered precisely to remove the basic concept from the brawler fighting game and make it look more like a MOBA or in any case a kind of strategy with action nuances. In most of these missions we can choose more than one Gundam, always taking into account the individual value of each mech without exceeding the imposed limit, and control it directly while the artificial intelligence - indeed definitely incomplete - takes care of our teammates. At any time we can open the map and order our partners to attack specific areas or targets, perhaps using the Force commands that consume the points earned in battle to regenerate our units, briefly upgrade them, inflict huge area damage and so on. . In some missions we will have to protect an objective, in others we will have to conquer it: the variety is not lacking, but once again various technical and localization problems are putting a hand to us. In the first case, it is always the clumsy camera and the confusing control system; It's hard to micromanage your team while fighting and looking around for enemies, even if the interface tells you where to dodge the looming bullets. Localization problems, on the other hand, are as annoying as they are funny. The characters converse in Japanese during the missions, but only in a few cases do English subtitles appear that translate the sentences spoken. As long as it comes to swearing and cartoon quotes it's all right, but sometimes the objectives change during the mission and it is the voice actors who communicate it to us in the Japanese language: at that point you risk failing because you have not understood what to do, forcing us to play and replay the stage in full "trial and error" or to search for the solution on Google. It's a shame because the EXTREME-FORCE mode is nice but practically sketchy, yet its existence weighs on the structure of the entire game like a boulder, weighing down the intuitive and engaging mechanics that have made previous episodes famous.
Gundam fans will appreciate the possibility of playing on their PlayStation Vita a title that perhaps would never have seen the light in our country and, indeed, should support Bandai Namco's initiative in the hope that in the future they decide to repeat the experiment. with some more valid title. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Force isn't a bad game at heart and is chock full of fanservice, but it's really unintuitive and ultimately too frustrating. The arcade mode is certainly the most satisfying of the few proposals, despite the limited longevity: if we had been able to play even just that online, we would have been much more condescending.
- Lots of Gundams to select
- Arcade mode is a lot of fun
- Technically it is well done and full of fanservice
- The camera is atrocious
- Strategic grain weakens the fighting side
- Cannot play online