Monday, 14 July 2014

Review: Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn


Dynasty Warriors is one of those series that won't light the gaming world with it's sales figures but it does however make a rather nice niche for itself on gaming systems worldwide.  The series has gone beyond it's traditional ancient Chinese war drama to warring Daimyo's of Japan, to post apocalyptic anime in Fist of the North Star, High sea's piracy in One piece and mecha series Gundam.

Gundam is probably the most successful B series of the 'Warriors' franchise with Gundam Reborn being the fourth entry in the series to date.  Like Dynasty Warriors 8 on PS3, this entry is a send off for the PS3 iteration of the Gundam Warriors before going to PS4 and other systems.  In essence the game has made very little in the way of gameplay changes from past iterations, Reborn instead puts it's focus on a revamped story mode and expanded roster of characters and Mobile Suits.

The meat of the game takes place in two modes.  Official mode is the main story mode that follows the series through the Universal Century time line from the original Gundam series up to Gundam: Unicorn.  Oddly a few series are skipped here as we don't get a Gundam ZZ story or any of the post Unicorn series such as Victory and F91.  Instead we get the story of Seed and Seed: Destiny replete with all of their main mobile suits and gundams.  Well nearly all, we don't get the Saviour Gundam for some odd reason and it isn't DLC.

http://www.koeitecmoeurope.com/media/image/3252/3252-Dynasty-Warriors:-Gundam-Reborn.png/The story scenes are mainly played out as talking heads on different backgrounds to expand on the events of each show with odd cutscene or tactical map.  It's not quite as good as Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 and it's more impressive in game scenes but it's nice to see the series played out in story mode again.  Most levels you will be playing as the hero of said show but on occasion you will be put into the suit of other characters for a brief time, sometimes too brief in my opinion but it's nice to see some levels from another characters perspective in the larger battles.  Probably my biggest gripe with the story mode though is the way Unicorn is handled, with the story just ending on a cliffhanger.  The only way to see the end events of the series is to pay a further £3.99 to download the Full armour Unicorn DLC to get that ending, which is complete bullshit in my opinion.

Outside of the story mode you will have Ultimate mode which is the series mash up mode with every character sharing the same universe and fighting each other.  This time the mode is broken down into operations that take place across multiple smaller levels with differing objectives.  Some operations are quite fun with challenging goals such as protecting a battleship across multiple levels with increasing difficulty and damage that transfers across to each level.  Others have you answering trivia questions via combat or collecting parts to reach a total before progressing further into the story.  Each battle also has a set of medals that are obtained by using a specific suit or completing it within a set time amongst other challenges.



You will spend most of your time in this mode and it's necessary to complete the medal challenges to unlock all of the games content.  Medals unlock cards that grant new characters, mobile suits or resources.  Like any Dynasty Warriors game it will demand plenty of your time to 100% complete but it's not such a slog that you will become burnt out within a month.  The medal challenges keep things varied and the cards make you play basically every suit to unlock them for play.

The game does have some multiplayer functionality.  Local splitscreen play is still available for every level in both story and ultimate mode.  You can send a S.O.S online if you're having trouble completing a level, which acts as a form of invite so another player can help you.  There is no competitive modes or four player mode this time around.  Personally I don't miss it but maybe some of you will.

The combat has a few new wrinkles now with a new charge attack that can be added to any combo.  Holding down triangle will charge this attack and give you a way to cancel out of a move into a new one similar to competitive fighting games.  All characters now have air musou's along with ground ones.  Certain characters also have rank two musou attacks that require a charge time by holding down circle at the cost of two musou bars.  An improved lock on system allows you to keep targets in sight at all times in the chaotic melee.  Finally the partner system allows battleships to be brought in to rain death on a large area killing virtually anything in the area. 

Mobile armours such as the Big Zam are now playable although their inclusion is somewhat lacklustre with an incredibly limited moveset, less than what the AI use when you fight them.  It's nice to see them added but they could have been better or at least have more than one charge attack to use.

http://www.koeitecmoeurope.com/media/image/3248/3248-Dynasty-Warriors:-Gundam-Reborn.png/Graphically the developers decided to go back to the original games graphic style and not use the previous games cell shaded design.  This works better in my opinion as the mobile suits look like animated model kits and have a lot of detail in them.  The animations are great and many suits have transformable modes or extra equipment seen during certain attacks.  A fair number of characters can be on screen at one time and the game only suffers frame loss when a mass of explosions take place but it's only for a split second.  The environments still looks quite ugly by comparison with plenty of low resolution textures but it's pretty much standard now for a DW title.  It's not distracting or anything and the main visuals i.e the combat and effects all look good.

Reborn only has Japanese voice over sadly, probably a sacrifice to allow for more content such as new suits and effects.  Obviously for some this is fine as the original voices will be preferable for some but it does make for a fair amount of background noise when you're playing.  Without stopping to read what was said or taking your eye off the action to read the text most of the well acted dialogue is missed sadly.  It would be nice to see an English dub DLC but that will be highly unlikely.  The combat effects are all true to the series with your beam rifles and sabres all making the right sounds.  It's the same level as previous titles which is great and any suit that had unique sounds has been added here too.  The music is OK, generally it's a mix of original pieces and some remixes of series themes but it's a marmite thing really.

In closing, Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn is a fun title, a love letter to the series on Playstation 3.  It has many hours of gameplay for the completionist out there, lots of mobile suits to unlock and play and if you're inclined there is a bunch of DLC adding more levels and new suits to play already out.  It doesn't blow away previous iterations of the series, but what it does have is solid and extremely fun to sink a few hours into.

SCORE: 7.0/10

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