One thing you can’t discredit the Gundam sequence for is the group that also inhabits it. Take the SD (Superior Defender/Tremendous Deformed) sub-category of Gundam media, which transpired after a fan of the unique sequence despatched in crude drawings of their favorite Cellular Fits. It impressed Japanese manga artist Koji Yokoi a lot, that the franchise branched off with its personal capsule fighters. Host to a slew of toys and video video games, it’s the latter that has seen protection extra prominently lately, together with the newest title, SD Gundam Battle Alliance.
That is the newest title from Japanese builders Artdink, just lately identified for creating the Sq. Enix RPG Triangle Technique, and can be the primary Motion-RPG entry in all the SD Gundam sequence. It entails you and your programming companion, Juno Astarte, investigating anomalies in “G: Universe”, a database that data and particulars each necessary plot occasion in Gundam historical past. When these anomalies start re-writing the individuals concerned in these occasions, inflicting timelines and centuries to converge, it’s as much as you, Juno, and pleasant AI Sakura Slash to seek out the trigger.
One factor that Battle Alliance does nearly instantly is subvert expectations. With the plot revolving round re-enacting established canon to verify it goes proper, you’d be forgiven for considering that the “biggest hits” strategy to story occasions would make occasions simple to digest. Fairly the alternative, sadly, as regardless of bookmarking key occasions like Amuro Ray stopping AXIS from falling into Earth, or Tekkadan’s final stand, the pacing of the exposition is unrelenting.
Because of the lack of an English dub on the time of writing, alongside the bombardment of exposition throughout gameplay, there’s no actual likelihood to sit down down and confirm what is definitely occurring. The truth is, for a Cliff Notes-retelling of Gundam’s most important elements, it does a magnificently poor job of portraying the occasions in a digestible method. What may’ve been an amazing likelihood to introduce newcomers to the sequence, shortly turns into an alienating affair.
It’s a disgrace as a result of because it stands, the gameplay does simply sufficient to contain the participant within the affairs of the sequence. On high of the Motion-RPG components, you even have hack n’ slash fight counting on totally different classes of weapons for optimum harm, and incremental stat boosts supplied by gear drops from enemies. Every story occasion requires a minimal of two performs: one to seek out the discrepancy within the story, and one other to precisely painting occasions.
There are additionally “Chaos Missions”, however these are an oversight in some ways. You’ll play by one of many story maps usually, however should you enter a particular a part of the map, an over-leveled Cellular Swimsuit will instantly seem for a boss battle. Regardless of Chaos Missions saying you could be a sure degree, it’s solely the boss battle scaled to that degree, which means you need to trot by the remainder of the under-leveled battles to get your reward. It’s a horrifically boring oversight that drags down nice construction.
The game additionally cleverly writes in a fast excuse of “momentary knowledge” with a view to justify the participant’s use of various Cellular Fits from different timelines, which helps with the range immensely. Whereas there are solely three courses to be shared throughout 50+ Cellular Fits, there’s sufficient mechanical selection in how every Cellular Swimsuit acts and reacts to justify experimenting, even when it’s just for a short time. Alongside their distinctive loadouts, Battle Alliance succeeds in attempting to cowl your choice in as some ways as doable.
For instance, there’s the Command Gundam, which is featured within the “Sharpshooter” class, and has a loadout that solely options burst-fire weaponry and common DPS. Nevertheless, the Cherudim Gundam in the identical class focuses extra on low DPS, however robust assaults from its sniper rifle attachment, which takes some time to reload. The content material and selection are there, the one downside is the chance you might not discover your fundamental Cellular Swimsuit instantly.
Losing sources could be an insurmountable downside should you’re not ready for it, given how shortly you possibly can by the way waste cash on upgrades. It gained’t be lengthy earlier than you’ll have to ascend the leveling-up of no matter Gundam you may have readily available to proceed, and if you find yourself dealing with an enemy with resistance to say, beam weaponry, you may have two decisions. Both slog by the mission with reliance on co-op companions, or return to earlier missions to achieve each improve supplies and the cash wanted to ascend a brand new Cellular Swimsuit.
Generally it’s price it although, as regardless of the chibi-fied facets of every Cellular Swimsuit, fight does an amazing job of demonstrating a city-leveling occasion each time you step out onto the sphere. The anatomically foolish design of SD Gundam coincidentally serves the aim of how brutish these mechas could be, as these meteors of steel smash into every little thing with full drive. Together with the particular strikes and the opposite established characters participating, it shortly turns into a warzone.
On high of that, you possibly can convey two AI companions into any mission, the pilots being many established Gundam characters from any of the universes. It could actually result in some fairly busy battlefields, and questions on problem do creep in when 7 totally different Cellular Fits are wailing on one thing like Zeong or the Psycho Gundam. “Fortunately”, Artdink has mitigated this downside by making the AI as dumb as humanly doable.
It’s not noticeable at first, for the reason that game’s problem tends to construct slowly over time, however because the stakes get increased with every boss and fundamental character concerned, AI companions develop into an enormous legal responsibility. Battle Alliance guarantees that, on account of your character’s tenure as a commander, then you possibly can management their playstyle in a battle, nevertheless it solely goes as far as “use your particular transfer now”. Not solely that, however on account of AI companions having their very own ranges, they will shortly develop into out of date in just some missions.
It is a grievance that additionally extends to different characters you’re meant to be serving to when re-enacting the canon occasions. It’s fairly frequent to begin a mission with the boss battle already in progress, you simply should stroll to it, unlock the doorways, and so on. Nevertheless, it’s greater than doubtless that while you get tagged in, the characters meant to be combating them could have executed no harm. A doable reply is “effectively, should you AFK, then they will kill them earlier than you get there”, however all missions have a time restrict of half-hour or much less, so… why don’t they really assist?
If the AI companions don’t do their job effectively sufficient, then you may at all times use them as meat shields, or a distraction, proper? Mistaken, on account of one thing Battle Alliance calls “hate strains”. A glorified aggro system, it has enemies lock on to whoever appears to be the largest risk, however from analysis, that is all based mostly on the very best DPS, which the AI companions can’t present. There’s a excessive likelihood you’ll be attempting to dodge a flurry of assaults whereas your companions will consistently be left behind attempting to maintain up.
Alternatively, this does assist curry favour with the game’s 3-player co-op, which is nice. Whereas making sure missions an utter cakewalk, it helps to maintain the pacing excessive, even when the world design can allow you to down typically. Whether or not you’ve received 3 gamers readily available or not, boss fights like those in “Rubbish House” can solely serve to trigger huge frustration on account of busy backgrounds and no seen flooring.
Is that this a game that would introduce a novice into the Gundam universe? No, in all probability not. The pace at which 40 years of media is diluted down into exposition dumps mid-boss battle is tough to swallow, and except you’re a real fanatic, a number of the tales will bounce proper off you. That is one for the purists, in additional methods than one, because the game arms you a story that interprets to being a glorified Wikipedia editor ensuring headcanons don’t come to life. In a method.
Even then, the game tends to blue-ball on the worst of instances. Moments like Amuro Ray stopping Axis from destroying Earth, or Banagher Hyperlinks unleashing the Unicorn Gundam in full drive are shortly reduce off, with you again at base and Sakura explaining the aftermath. Whether or not it was budgetary restraints or simply due to how a lot is stuffed into Battle Alliance, a number of the magic is misplaced when a few of Gundam’s most necessary moments develop into footnotes.
It’s difficult to contemplate Battle Alliance, all issues thought-about. It’s indisputably a love letter to followers of the Gundam franchise, gunpla or in any other case, however more often than not, that’s all it may be. From a pure gameplay standpoint, it has the components to satiate comfortably, and a wide range of Cellular Fits to maintain you enjoying for some time, however astronomically misses the possibility to be an entry level. For the followers, and no person else, and y’know what? In some methods, that’s high quality.
TechRaptor reviewed SD Gundam Battle Alliance on Xbox One with a replica offered by the writer. Additionally it is accessible on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Sequence X|S, Nintendo Swap, and PC through Steam