Gundam fans rejoice! The sequel to the hit Gundam vs Gundam arcade game is now here.
Gundam vs Gundam Next Plus, the latest from the Gundam vs series features new mobile suits, gameplay and game modes, but does this beat the original?
For those who are new to the Gundam vs Gundam game, it is a co-op fighting game based on popular Gundam series (from the original up to the upcoming series) and was originally ported on the arcades in Japan. With it’s popularity, it was ported into the PlayStation Portable.
The gameplay is still the with same with the original: each team starts with 6000 points and every mobile suit has it’s own class specification; 1000, 2000, 3000 (1000 being the weakest and 3000 the strongest) whenever your mobile suit is destroyed, it will deplete your points depending on the class, even from your teammate’s mobile suit (so when your mobile suit which is a 3000 class gets destroyed, 3000 will be deducted from your total points) and when your points reaches zero, you lose.
You can call out mobile suit support for a limited number of times to aid you in battle and it has three commands: offense, defense and support.
Although the gameplay mechanics is still the same with the original, there are some couple of changes, gone was the G-Crossover; the ability to summon a devastating attack on your opponents by teaming up with your partner and calling out a massive weapon/mobile armor in the field.
With the G-Crossover gone, they’ve added a new feature: the Next Dash. This feature gives you the ability to cancel your move instantly when dashing, creating new strategies when fighting. The Next Dash is a welcome feature as you can now make combos easier and able to dodge attacks quickly, plus you can now block manual by pressing down and up, the automatic block was now removed in favor for the manual block (this is only applicable to mobile suits equipped with shields).
There are more than sixty (yes sixty folks!) mobile suits available and some of them are hidden characters (from the original 0079 series up to the upcoming Gundam Unicorn). Each of the mobile suits have their own unique specialty (from the Virtue Gundam’s destructive range attacks to Epyon Gundam’s melee only attacks)
Game modes that are included in GvGNP were the traditional Arcade and Versus mode with more courses to choose (from easy to hard) and now you can tag along a friend in Arcade via multiplayer. Every courses now has a mid and/or end boss battles that involves fighting against giant mobile armors (aka robot giant bosses that’s almost the size of the whole battlefield) New in the game modes was the mission-based Next Plus mode, where you can tweak your mobile suit’s stats and participate in missions (more of a campaign mode) customized mobile suits cannot be played on the Arcade and Versus mode.
Game AI is far more smarter than ever, enemies can now quickly dodge your range attack consecutive times (even on easy mode setting) and now able to land quick combos on you and depleting your life bar by half.
The controls are very easy to remember, as most of the basic controls are accessible within reach and with a single press of a button, and controlling your character is now much easier thanks to the new Next Dash system, and you can use the directional button for moving your characters instead of the analog, and the controls are fully customizable.
Soundtracks are based from the opening songs of the Gundam series which makes you relive the moments in the some of the famous scene of the series while playing, and it’s a big plus especially for Gundam fanatics and Seiyus (Japanese voice actors) of every main hero and villain of the included series can be heard in the game, a double bonus for the fans again.
For the graphics, the mobile suits are quite detailed considering this was scaled down from the arcade version, the animations are fluid, even on an all-out heated battle. The battlefields are somewhat bland and almost the same with the other fields but still bearable.
Overall, GvGNP is still a great game, it even surpasses the original game. Although it would be nice if they added some more game modes (like defend the mobile armor or 4-player individual deathmatch) and having a customizable skills would be great to give more diversity to the game. On the bright side, the Next Plus mode is a great addition (if you can read Japanese) as this can add more gaming time, and with more unlockable contents (mobile suits,courses, movies, images and audio clips) this will give you more reason to play even more.
This game is recommended for Gundam fans and even Armored Core fans if you are looking for a quick mecha battle without tweaking or customizing your mechs before a battle.
Game Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Gundam vs Gundam Next Plus was developed by Capcom and published by Namco Bandai Games for the PlayStation Portable