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Gundam Versus

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Sept. 29, 2017


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PS4 Preview - 'Gundam Versus'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 23, 2017 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Take control of over 90 Mobile Suits spanning more than 35 years of the Mobile Suit Gundam universe In action-packed team battles.

Pre-order Gundam Versus

The Gundam franchise is pretty intimidating. With literally dozens of different series scattered across comics, cartoons and video games, it represents an absolutely massive investment of time. There are multiple universes with their own rules and timelines, complex and interwoven political plots, and numerous multicolored robots. That same variety of units makes it great for video games, offering an absurd amount of diversity while still feeling familiar for fans. Gundam Versus is the latest in the Gundam vs. Gundam franchise, and it's the most packed entry to date, featuring everything from classic Gundam to the brand-new Iron-Blooded Orphans and Gundam Thunderbolt.

At first blush, Gundam Versus probably looks like a traditional third-person shooter. After all, that's sort of what you'd expect from a Gundam game, isn't it? However, it's not a shooter, and it isn't quite a fighting game either, but it's a mix of both. The controls are simple and were designed for arcade play. You move around with the analog stick and can dash or boost by double-tapping buttons. You have a melee attack, a ranged attack, and a series of subweapons that depend on the Mobile Suit you're using.

For example, the G-Self from Reconquista of G is a standard unit that has a beam saber and beam rifle. It can also shoot a ghostly version of itself, or you could press a button to change to its reflector pack, which gives it a new move set and color scheme, so you're trading mobility for beam abilities. In comparison, the Freedom Gundam from Gundam SEED is an all-around unit that can fire rail-gun shots and shoulder beam cannons to give it unsurpassed firepower. The Gundam Barbatos from Iron-Blooded Orphans has poor range abilities, but its powerful mace means it can smash enemies.

Each character can also be customized with Strikers and super modes. Strikers are effectively assists that can be called in to help by performing a special attack. While some Strikers are other playable units, a lot of them are units that only appear as helper characters, such as the Skygrasper support plane or the Graze. Different Strikers have different benefits, and finding one that best fits your play style lets you make hits you normally wouldn't. Versus also allows players to choose either a Blaze or Lightning super mode; Blaze makes you more powerful, while Lightning makes you faster.

Gundam Versus is about mind games. Rather than focusing on long combos, it's a game almost entirely about positioning and smart resource usage. Weaponry isn't just for damaging enemies but controlling space. For example, a regular beam rifle shot from the G-Arcane Full Dress isn't great at hitting an enemy, but if you bait the enemy into a dodge with a beam rifle shot and quickly cancel into a beam cannon shot, you can leave them vulnerable and then hit them with your strongest weapon.

It gives Versus a play style unlike any other game, since it's a fast-paced arena fighter that demands a very different mindset. Resource conservation is a major factor, and the winner is often the person who plays the smartest. Controlling the environment and map is also important. Some levels have hills or buildings you can hide behind, and certain weapons are a lot less effective if the enemy can't get a lock on you.

Gundam Versus is a multiplayer fighter, so it has no dedicated story mode. Instead, it'll have a variety of single- or multiplayer competitive modes. There are the traditional versus and competitive play, and there's also a series of optional modes. Ultimate mode looks like it will be the most fun of the lot; it's a wave-based survival mode where you and another player (or AI partner) need to survive against increasingly larger waves of enemies. After finishing enough rounds, you can customize your mobile suit using points you've unlocked, which in turn allows you to fight stronger foes.

Gundam Versus is for the fans, but wow, what a game it is! With dozens of the most popular mobile suits from every Gundam series, it's difficult to imagine anyone with even a remote interest in Gundam not finding something to like here. Add to that the fact that it's shaping up to be a solid and fun competitive game, and it has a lot to offer. Gundam Versus will be coming exclusively to the PS4 later in 2017.

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