Review

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 Review (PS3)

Collection – it’s a concept that drives many a game. The agility orbs in Crackdown, the mini monsters in Pokémon, the number of bad reviews for Duke Nukem Forever. The same underlying theory acts as the base to Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 (DW:G3). With Gundam 3, it’s suits - high performance, ass-kicking mech-suits that every character wears.

But before we get to the ‘gotta-wear-them-all,’ it’s worth explaining the many hands at work with Gundam 3. Firstly it’s a sequel and a direct follow-up to the 2008 game of the same name. Secondly and as with its predecessor, it’s a merging of two popular Japanese franchises – Dynasty Warriors, that never-ending, third-person melee battlefield slasher; and Gundam, the immensely popular anime series.


Western players will see Gundam and think Transformers, but in essence it’s more than that. For one you’re controlling a pilotable suit – you’re not the suit itself. With the help of your Operator, you scour the futuristic battlefields slaying drone after drone ensuring that your team’s overall strategic aim is progressing unhindered.

In one sentence? DW:G3 is Pokémon meets Total War meets Dynasty Warriors meets Mech Warrior. The pocket monsters reference? Well as you win battle after battle, you acquire plans for bigger and better Gundam suits. There’s a huge roster to collect and the very best are only available online, across both competitive and coop modes. See the similarities?

This leads to an addictive subgame that successfully keeps the gamer playing. On the surface DW:G3 is actually fairly weak, relying on clone-opponents, stock battlegrounds and tired dialogue. It’s one of those games that you shouldn’t enjoy playing, but all of a sudden you’ve lost six hours of your afternoon. Maybe it’s because I’ve suddenly got a love of all things Japanese following a visit to the country. Maybe it just appeals to an addictive personality. Whatever it is, it’ll have you playing for many hours.

Driving forth the fragmented battles is an overarching story filled with anime clichés. Characters are particularly melodramatic and gasps of surprise as signposted plot points are revealed can wear thin. The voice acting is of a decent standard (although the repetitive battle cries can seriously grate after several hours with the same character) and the colourful art style matches the anime’s source material. Fans will definitely be pleased.

Leading the charge is Amuro, Kou, Setsuna, Tiffa, etc. It’s a game that non-fans will find confusing as characters come and go in between battles. Apart from that, the rest of the game does its very best at simplying the Dynasty Warriors experience. There are helpful tutorials that explain the strategic elements at play and plenty of on-screen hints pop up to ensure you’re never out of your depth.


However, and here’s the crux - at its core Gundam 3 is still a Dynasty Warriors game. You’re just trading feudal Japan for Gundam’s world. You get plopped on a battlefield with an assortment of battling companions and you have to make your way across the landscape, capturing sectors that offer different advantages, before cutting down the final boss. Sometimes it’s narrative driven, other times it’s just a standalone mission.

It does mix well with the Gundam licence and it plays to an equally competent standard. A simple yet deep combo system reveals itself as you become increase your playtime with characters and it’s not long before you’re swishing around the game, hacking down enemies with ease. A stylised graphics engine adds to the sense of excitement while the overarching aim to capture the enemy’s base keeps you moving towards an actual end aim. It’s a clever concept and while it can grow weary during extended sessions, overall it’s employed to an enjoyable effect. The Japan-rock soundtrack and anime inspiration isn’t for everyone, but overall it’s a successful combining of both franchises.

Once you’ve finished a battle you’ll be taken back to a menu that’s your jump off point into the ‘world’ of Gundam 3. Here you’ll develop completely new suits, upgrade existing ones, add special skills to your characters, receive messages via a transceiver and visit the shop to spend the game’s currency on training and upgrades. It’s customisation central and ensures that your Gundam 3 experience is different from everyone else’s.

Enjoy getting up close and personal? Spec a suit accordingly. Or maybe you’re a fan of the ranged, careful approach – that’s achievable as well. In fact, it’s one of the deepest systems that we’ve ever seen and it’s where the Pokemon reference comes into effect again. Simple to play, semi-cutesy in appearance, but extremely deep and complex once you dive beneath the surface.


Finally worth noting is that the game’s chock full of content, online and off. The selection of missions is borderline overwhelming and while they all follow the same suit, there’s subtle differences that keep them fresh. You’ve got Story, History, Collection, Training, Memorial, Challenge, Friendship, Relation and Special. Some are your standard battles, others are focussed boss battles in a closed off arena. Every single one has different character requirements and for some, suit requirements.

There’s no chance of you getting bored or running out of things to do. This is why Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is such a clever game. It gets its hooks into you prompting you to return in drips and drabs. Fans will love it as ever, but if you’ve never experienced the world of Gundam or Dynasty Warriors, this is the perfect game to bring you into the series. It might occasionally feel like a grind, but sense of progress offsets any sense of dull repetition.

Top Gaming Moment: Collecting those suits…

Comments

By PowerJack (SI Elite) on Jun 29, 2011
PowerJack
"relying on clone-opponents"
Well its Dynasty Warriors, and even if it wasn't the Gundam series always have a but-load of grunts to destroy.

"tired dialog"
Note original series dialogs.

"the repetitive battle cries"
Try playing the 2nd one (only has english voices) if that doesn't make you turn the sound off I don't know what will.

"overarching story filled with anime clichés"
I haven't tried it but on the the last 2 the stories (at least some of them) were the same as the series so being filled with anime clichés is normal.

"Amuro, Kou, Setsuna, Tiffa"
Check, Check, Check, Che... huh? Tiffa? wth I dont remember her piloting a mobile suit, maybe its like the 2nd game where Lacus gets to pilot one too even tough the most she does is sit in one.

"You’re just trading feudal Japan for Gundam’s world."
Awesome, what more could we want.

"The Japan-rock soundtrack and anime inspiration isn’t for everyone"
No, just for me and all the other cool guys.

"Or maybe you’re a fan of the ranged, careful approach – that’s achievable as well"
Does this mean we can finally just shoot instead of having to do a combo to use ranged weapons?

Top Gaming Moment: Collecting those suits…
Ware wa Gundam da!!!
By djole381 (SI Elite) on Jun 30, 2011
djole381
Too bad there's no Gundam for PC.
By steven101x1 (SI Member) on Jul 30, 2011
steven101x1
^ True that man