Rise of the Robots. Part 3

After a long wait (the first part of this review was published here on October 17, 2013), I’m finally pleased to announce the release of the latest (and last?) article in the series. Writing these articles has been very difficult for me since I had to balance my fondness for raw Japanese games with the need of clearly illustrating and reviewing a “usable” products for the final reader.
The reasons why I have, every once in a while, to dig into raw stuff, can be found in the first part of this series, whilst part 2 will give you a better insight on my love for huge mechas.

A long wait it was for some of you (you know who you are), and so it was for me since family matters (and other games on the spot) were almost “forcing” me to turn my head towards something else. A promise is a promise though, so here is my review.

Gundam Musou 3, (also known as Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 in the western market) is the latest spin-off in the Dynasty Warriors saga. These series have proven to be very controversial among critics and players to the point that they are just either loved or hated. Commercials said that ” …by continuing all of the popular elements and losing unpopular elements of the previous installments this episode, With its newly added features, has evolved to increase the player’s sense of an authentic battlefield experience”, but the problem is that the extreme linearity of the gameplay coupled with the dullness of the environment can bore to death even the hardest core otaku out there. Believe me, I’m totally in love with manga, anime, and video games (especially those that features giant robots), but I see no point in basically fighting the same mission over and over (literally hundreds of times) until you reach the end.

I know some of you love these games even more than I do, and I don’t mean to turn you down nor to be offensive, but I have to report that this game just is not for everyone.

In case you haven’t played a Dynasty Warriors game before, I’ll tell you that usually players take control of ancient Chinese warlords and go to war, across huge battlefields (divided in smaller fields) and against uncountable masses (remember my Ken Musou review?).

Gundam Musou uses Gundams instead of old generals and robots (thousands of them) as soldiers. It sounds like fun, and indeed it is, but unfortunately, the first few minutes are nearly identical to the rest of the game (all of it). All you have to do, at least at the lower level of difficulty, is charging into a group of enemies and start mashing buttons until a final boss appears: once you dispatch him, the mission is cleared and you move on to another one. Ken Musou, at least, followed the original manga storyline; ACE-Episode R (already cited Part 1) while merging a lot of different sagas together, created its peculiar storyline in another universe, but GM3 doesn’t seem to work the same way. You just find enemies, smash them and then go in search of other enemies. New players might find a few hours of fun here, but old “customers” will probably be bored very quickly, even if I have to admit that playing a localized version instead of the Japanese one would have helped the cause in a much better way. In between missions, actually, you can (could) watch animated storyboards that explain the whole story. Static briefings throw you into mission objectives and the pre-battle menus allow for mechas/pilots customization.

So why did I keep playing this game up to now? Is it really so bad? It depends on who you are and what you are searching. The game itself can be boring in the long run, but for the time being, I’ll keep playing it because it has very nicely used license, with an incredible roster of mechas coming from the entire Gundam universe. The use of cell shading makes it look almost like a very well done anime…

… and, probably due to the not very detailed backgrounds, the game has an impressive framerate despite the hundreds of objects on the screen. Even the controls are, for once, very well designed (see my rant about this matter) and quickly usable to nearly any third person game fan.

Gundam Musou 3 also features online battles, which personally I could not test. Being the game Japanese, I have no way to know if it is a temporary connection error or if the servers closed down: it is a fairly “old” game, after all.
So TECMO/KOEI/BANDAI, why the hell you couldn’t improve the gameplay a little bit? Why do you keep turning us down like this? GM3 could have been an awesome game, “easy to use” for the casual gamer yet a masterpiece for the otakus!

Even though the article writer inside of me didn’t honestly like the final product that much, the otaku loved it to the bit and would have paid for a collector’s edition, which sadly does not exist (afaik). As a matter of fact, I could not resist having one anyway, so I made my own. Watch the unboxing video below, shot with the help of my son!

But, in the end, I guess the problem is just that: no matter how bad a game turns out to be, you will always have a hardcore gamer willing to cope with its flaws and pay for them.
I guess I have what I deserve! [The End (?)]

 

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