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NOTE: There are possible spoilers here for the UC Timeline of the Gundam series

GM2 had so much potential...

This game was the bee's knees for the first few hours I played it. They balanced out the special moves (Heero isn't the angel of death anymore!), balanced out how everyone attacks, balanced out the Gundams themselves, made an amazing mission mode with so many variables, went deeper into the UC timelines, added in more series (even if SEED is the "star" of that group), and generally made a much more attractive package for Gundam fans. Yes! Yes! This is the game I wanted in 2007! This is what got me into Gundam in the first place! This is what I drooled over when Samuraiter linked me to that video of all the unlocked characters and suits of the Japanese version! COMMENCE FANGASM!!!

Then I fought a Mobile Armour, and things came crashing down.

One of the major changes for this version of GM2 was the addition of the mobile armour fights, which was a great idea; after all, it's not a Gundam game without the Psycho Gundam, Elmeth, the MA-08 Big Zam, etc., in my opinion. This was supposed to complete things. However, they work like standard boss fights you'd see in any 3D action game, like Mario 64 or some shit; you're given an opportunity to attack, and you attack during them; either using regular attacks, heavy (hold "X") attacks, or Musou attacks. Regular attacks when the enemy is ready for them will not damage them. This causes two problems:

1) MG doesn't have a control scheme that's conducive to this type of gameplay. These big ass armours, you find yourself aiming low a lot, just because you can get a lot of hits in; aiming high involves jumping up and hitting there, and there's often no time for that shit. Furthermore, you also sometimes have other enemies and/or officers to worry about (like in Kilimanjaro, where you're fighting both Four Murasame and Jerid Messa), and switching between the two (since you're focused on the armours) is awkward.

That's not as bad, however, as...


OK, so in both Kilimanjaro and the last part of Hong Kong City, you fight Four. Multiple times, at that (which gets freaking annoying). A couple times, you'll be fighting with someone else, usually either Amuro Ray or Quattro Bajeena. In these fights, neither one can be shot down, or you lose the stage. So what are they doing when it's time to fight Four? They stand near her, and hack away! Just hack, hack, hack. Obviously, they're doing no damage, and getting crunched when Four attacks. Unfortunately, there's no way I can direct my other pilots, either! I can't say "Hey, Amuro, get the fuck out of here, kill some smaller enemies and keep me from getting shot up, and don't get killed". As mobile armours get lower on life, they get stronger, and Four (and Rosamia by extension) has an awesome attack where she just emits a 360 degree beam shield that significantly hurts anything - friend and foe - within it. The proper way to avoid this is to either attack with a fully charged smash hit, or use your verniers to get out of Dodge. The WRONG answer is to sit there, hacking away. Hack, hack, hack, "Amuro's been shot down? Damn!". This is made ten times worse by the fact that interim saves no longer are relevant. In about every Dynasty Warriors game I can remember, there's been a rule: easy, you get five (or infinite, don't know, never play easy) times to save in a stage that you can go back to incase you die. Normal mode, you get three, and hard, you get one. In this, you get as many interim saves as you want, sure, but if you die or lose the stage somehow? You lose your save. You can't just start again where you were. Even if you choose not to save the game, the interim save deletes, so it's only there if you're going to leave the game and come back to it later. This is a TERRIBLE time to experiment with that, because some of these stages are really freaking long; I had to redo Kilimanjaro five times - twenty to twenty-five minutes each - five times before I finally, on the sixth try, had to put my ego in my pocket and downgrade to Easy. In each of those five times, it was either Amuro or Char that died, and not me. This is awful, and really hurts the balance of the game.

More issues:

* Some of the stages are repeated verbatim from the first game. Koei basically took the Gryps 2 battle in the first game, hit Ctrl-C, went to the second game, and hit Ctrl-V. Everything, including the lines used, are the same, and the differences are notable when lines are new and old (the tone of the voices sounds different). In addition to this, sometimes, lines are laughably delivered; Amuro, when doing the re-entry stage, sounds most of the time like a scared 15 year old who's being forced to fight in a war. But one line - when Crown shows up - has him saying, in a deep enough voice to make you wonder if it was Master Asia, "You're NOT GETTING to the White Base!". It was hilarious.

* Like most DW games, including the first Gundam game, there's three stages of officer power; there's regular power, which is pretty easy to handle, there's powered up (typically when you fight a key battle, like taking on Char with Amuro, or Scirocco with Kamille), and then there's what I like to call "Fuck You Power". I've seen this once in both games; strangely, it's when I fight Jerid at Gryps (ironic, since Jerid was easily dispatched in the show). In the first game, he was hard enough. In the second game, he's tougher - you can't really get a shot in, and your defense is awful against his hits - and worse, HE HEALS. That means, if you're doing the standard DW boss strategy - running away while on red health and letting your musou gage regenerate - by the time you get back to do your musou, even if it all hits, he could have MORE energy than he did after the last Musou hit. It took me ten minutes to defeat Jerid, and I had to do it by doing a musou, then shooting him (distance attacks are significantly improved, thankfully) until my meter regenerated, musou, lather, rinse, repeat. Thank goodness I didn't die in that stage; I'd have pitched a fit.

* As stated, projectile attacks are better for you, but they're also better for the enemy, too. The regular enemies seem to like to stand back and just pelt you with shots, which kinda sucks in a heavy environment because that's a LOT of shots, and also because you have no real indication that you're getting hit with these shots; I've had times where I'd be fighting, then look down and go "oh shit, I'm at 50% health!"

Overall, it seems like every step forward this game took involved a step back. I'll flesh things out in my review of the game, but overall, I wouldn't be surprised if this game has a problem breaking even; DW6 - a worse game overall than this, but slightly better balanced (if you can believe that, balance got a 1 when I reviewed that last year!) - got a four, so I could see this possibly getting a 4.5.

That's not good enough for a game I've been drooling over for over a year.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)

I agree, but I'm still really happy with this. My only big beef is that the voices are bad enough for me to go into Options and turn 'em off.
Apr. 26th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
I'm still scratching my head over why we didn't get a Japanese language option with this game.
Apr. 26th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
A good question. Traditionally, though, any Musou series will drop the option after the first or second game. DW dropped it after DW3 (DW1 does not count), SW dropped it after SW1, and WO never had it at all. Normally, one suspects that this is because of disc space, but the PS3 version of this game does not have the option, either. Boo on Blu-Ray, I guess.
Apr. 26th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
No, boo on laziness and/or the fact that the amount of characters has almost doubled. That's a LOT of new characters.

Still, if they have voices in Japanese already for that game, they should have them for us, too.

Not that I particularly mind, granted; I'm accustomed to the American voices, and they're good by anime standards.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )