As a huge Dynasty Warriors fan and a selectively huge Gundam fan (Wing and 0079 are my favorites — yes, that combination makes me a freak), I was disappointed by the original Dynasty Warriors Gundam. The story mode didn’t feature enough characters, physical attacks lacked the impact I expect from manly giant robot brawls, and dull space battles were shoe-horned between the ground combat scenes.
Surprise! Even though every reviewer on the planet complained about all of those things, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 repeats the same mistakes! I suppose that’s Koei’s way of saying they don’t care what we think . . . and I can’t blame them. It’s not like critics ever give the Warriors games a chance. “Repetitive button-masher, killing hordes of enemies is boring” and all the rest. Repetitive button-mashing slaughter normally excites me, but this one doesn’t. It’s hard to stay excited when energy blade battles don’t end with booming, controller-rumbling explosions. The ground-shaking special attacks from Sengoku Basara or Warriors Orochi would decimate these aluminum-armored namby-pambys. As in the first Gundam, the space battles in particular lack crunch: you’ll float around in space and use your hot energy blade to cut through buttery opponents who are also listlessly floating around. Not fun.
This second episode does include a lot of unlockable characters and mecha, many unlocked through an elaborate “friendship” system. “Friends” are those pilots who you don’t want to send silently screaming into the vacuum of space, condemned to burst into a cloud of bloody flotsam.
Unlocking additional pilots unfortunately means very little. Milliardo Peacecraft pilots the badass Epyon the same way that Heero pilots the badass Epyon, which is the same way that original gangsta’ Char Aznable pilots the badass Epyon. Even if movesets were 90% identical, an extra 10% dash of personality would have justified putting charismatic characters inside unusual suits. But that’s not what happened; in this world, it’s all about the mech. All that time spent unlocking uber-cutie Paraya Quess, wasted!
The best thing about Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 are the giant mobile suits that sometimes showed up, each of which needs to be torn apart piece-by-piece. Those things have nothing to do with the actual TV shows, but they sure looked . . . big.
The worst thing about Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 is that it’s so easy. “Improvement” is less about becoming skilled and more about abusing degenerate powers to earn points to improve stats, thus creating an artificial sense of increased ability. Some of the suits’ attacks are devastatingly stupid — they look cool and leave opponents quivering like clubbed seals, but abusing an effective weapon will never be confused with genuine talent. For guys like me who play videogames to attract all the hot bitches, showing off talent is important.
Is this second episode better than the original Dynasty Warriors Gundam? Yeah. Is it worth playing for Gundam fans? Well, I obsessively clocked around 70 hours before giving up, so I guess my answer is a reluctant “yes”. But don’t expect any substantial reward — those 70 hours only earned me 75 achievement points and a heart full of despair. Aside from the Hot Gimmick chick’s little sister*, I don’t think anyone would be impressed.
* She had a thing for Gundam nerds.