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Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force

Platform(s): PlayStation Vita
Genre: Action
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: July 12, 2016


PS Vita Preview - 'Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 18, 2016 @ 1:45 a.m. PDT

Pilot legendary Mobile Suits and take on missions from incredible scenarios from Mobile Suit Gundam to Mobile Suit Gundam Universal Century in fast-paced 2vs2 gameplay to larger and more strategic team battles.

Gundam Versus is a long-running series of arcade fighters that are, by and large, released exclusively in Japan. They're fast-paced fighters built largely around two teams of giant robots trying to crush one another with a variety of special attacks and moves. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Versus Force is one of the only Versus games created originally for a non-arcade system. It's also the first Gundam game to be released in English in an extremely long time. Fans of the franchise have been clamoring for the games to be released overseas, and Gundam Extreme Versus Force may be the beginning.

In Gundam Extreme Versus Force, players can build a team of Gundam pilots from characters from every single Gundam series, from the original to the new Iron Blooded Orphans. The bulk of the available units is either the protagonist or main antagonist of these series, but you get a few smaller choices as well. A particularly obscure choice I noted in the list was an orange variant of the Destiny Gundam that belonged to a minor character who dies early in the Gundam SEED Destiny series. Each unit has an associated cost, which is a rough measurement of power. Lower-cost units tend to be weaker, but they also can be deployed more easily.

For the most part, each unit is designed around a set of strengths and weaknesses. Most of the units revolve around having a variety of moves that can limit enemy movement, catch foes off guard, or do serious damage. Rather than a traditional fighting game with combos, Versus titles are built around trying to force an enemy into running into a high-damage attack. In Versus Extreme Force, many of the units play nearly identically to their variants in Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost, though they've been somewhat simplified for handheld play.

There's still a lot of variety to the units. In our test game, we tried out a few of them. The Mack Knife from Gundam: Reconguista in G is a high-mobility unit that takes advantage of its ability to transform to launch hard-to-read attacks. It can attack and dodge at the same time or use finger-lasers that are almost indistinguishable from its melee attack. The G-Self from the same series can transform between its flight pack and Reflector pack modes, giving it a wider variety of attacks and flexibility. The Barbatos Fourth Form from Iron Blooded Orphans is all about the brute force and bludgeons enemies with high-speed mace attacks. Every unit has moves taken directly from its respective anime or manga, and fans should enjoy seeing many of them in action.

There does appear to be a strategic element involved to the combat. Players control a single unit, but they are able to go to a Command mode that allows them to issue commands to both AI allies and giant battleships that need to be protected. While we only got a little glimpse of this mode in the gameplay, it seems fairly important. One of the first missions involves protecting the iconic White Base against oncoming enemy attacks; leaving it to its own devices meant it would get pounded from all sides and die. 

From what we saw in the demo, the single-player campaign in Extreme Versus Force is based on some sort of artificial program that is using combat data from Gundam pilots across the multiverse as a plan to further human evolution. However, in the missions we played, there seemed to be little in the way of actual plot. Instead, each mission boiled down to a fight between your chosen team of Gundam pilots and various enemies. In our demo, there didn't seem to be any particular character interaction, but there was a theme to most of the fights, such as a fight against protagonists from the same series, protagonists who pilot similar Gundams, or the antagonist and protagonist of a same series being teamed up.

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Versus Force is the first Gundam game to see a North American release in a long time, but fans should be quite happy with the experience. It has a huge cast of characters from every Gundam show, and each is represented in all of its bombastic glory. While the title is obviously created with a handheld in mind, it looks like there's a lot of potential for fun, especially with the multiplayer mode allowing more traditional Versus fights against friends. Gundam Extreme Versus Force will come out exclusively for the PlayStation Vita on July 12, 2016.

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