With their Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series, KOEI seems to keep us coming back for the same gameplay time after time; and Gundam Musou continues the trend. However, stylistically the company behind these best selling series is bringing us a big change for their first PS3 outing.
Not only has the series shifted from ancient Oriental battles to futuristic robot warfare, but Koei has pulled off a coup by acquiring the famed Gundam license. The anime is so well known in both the East and West, and the name is almost synonymous with the mech, or giant robot, theme.
At last Gundam seems to be getting the game it deserves. No longer must we make do with bog standard 2D fighters with mechs replacing Ryu and Ken, or the lacklustre efforts of the poorly received PS3 title Gundam Crossfire; Koei's new formula seems the most fitting.
Gundam and blast
The elaborate back story and setting should remain intact, placing you right in the middle of a giant mech war. What's more you'll be reaching the same massive, Dynasty Warriors-style kill count that the pilots from the anime themselves achieve. The concern to any Gundam fan at this point is surely that things must be somewhat static, the Dynasty Warriors engine applied to the infinitely more manoeuvrable war-machines? But worry not, because a number of the battles are set to take place in the freedom of outer space, still swarming with robots.
Early screens only hint at the possible range of playable Gundams to expect to have at your disposal, but there’s certainly a great deal for potential here. The early media makes it clear that you are to control multiple mechs from at least four of the different series settings; the original Mobile Suit Gundam, 'Zeta Gundam, 'Gundam ZZ and 'Gundam Wing. Early information also boasts 1 to 2 players, so expect a cooperative mode.
Land of the rising fun
If all is put together competently, Gundam Musou could be the big lure the PlayStation 3 is currently lacking in Japan. As for the West, the twin appeals are more niche, so it is hard to gauge how much weight the Dynasty Warriors legacy and the Gundam name alone will pull with home audiences.
This could be a huge hit, or just a vaguely re-skinned Dynasty Warriors clone. Koei's 'Warriors series have become somewhat stale: the all-action gameplay is still quite gratifying, but after so many incarnations players will be tiring of the same old fights just with a different skin. Hopefully both series win from the paiting, the anime series gains the epic videogame setting it's always deserved, and the 'Warriors games gain some much needed new genetic material to evolve upon.
Fans of Gundam are sure to be delighted, fans of Dynasty/Samurai Warriors are sure to expect the same fun they’re used to with the added big robot bonus. The epic scale of the whole thing may even be enough to attract gamers uninterested in either.
Check out videos from the official site here http://gundam-musou.jp/movie.html and try not to grin at those familiar 80’s anime sound effects.
Interestingly, the Gundam license was KOEI’s second choice after being denied the chance to shoehorn the Star Wars universe into their epic, button-bashing, battle game engine.