Gundam Battle Assault 2 (PlayStation) review
"A Gundam battle is about fast-paced combat, on land, under sea, in the air. It is about incredible acrobatics, intense gunfights, heated duels. Itís about firing away with beams and bullets from afar, then closing the distance and hacking the enemy to pieces with a few slashes of the beam saber. "
A Gundam battle is about fast-paced combat, on land, under sea, in the air. It is about incredible acrobatics, intense gunfights, heated duels. Itís about firing away with beams and bullets from afar, then closing the distance and hacking the enemy to pieces with a few slashes of the beam saber.
A Gundam battle isnít about hand-to-hand combat. It isnít about multi-hit combos or performing counters or executing throws or anything like that. As a matter of fact, with the exception of the G Gundam series, itís rare to even see a Gundam throwing a punch.
Thatís why Gundam Battle Assault 2 makes so little sense to me. Itís like it was made for the sole purpose of proving that a 2-D Gundam fighting game would suck.
The fighting system would be fine for a normal fighting game; itís got everything youíd expect. Strong punch, weak punch, strong kick, weak kick, the standard arcade setup. Even the special attacks come out in traditional style; the button combinations are familiar to anyone whoís ever launched a Hadouken, almost identical to Street Fighter.
But thatís the problem; itís a little too identical. It doesnít feel like youíre controlling a fifty-ton, fifty-foot tall war machine, it feels more like Ryu found a damn good cosplay outfit and doesnít know how to get out.
The models lumber around, walking at a sluggish pace, not even capable of upgrading to a run. The only sense of agility you can get is by tapping on the boost button and giving the thrusters a quick burst, letting your character go skyward for a short time. I put an emphasis on Ďshortí, because the minute you realize how to use the boost and you start to get some hope for those daring aerial battles the series is known for, you also realize that the gameís putting limits on just how much you can fly around; you can only tap the boost up to three time before you burn out and have to charge up again.
And, as if the gameís just looking to rub it in, the AI takes advantage of your slowness and uses it to turn things on the cheap side. Its favorite tactic is making you run from one side of the stage to another, waiting until you can manage to walk over to the end and then boosting away, forcing you to turn around give chase. Yeah, you could activate the boost yourself and get there much faster, but you canít exactly block when youíre soaring through the air, just asking for someone to unleash a beam in your face.
And when the AI isnít playing a game of tag with you, itís demolishing you with one of the gameís cheesy mini-bosses. Take the Big Zam for instance; a walking fortress that gave Amuro Ray quite a time in the original Gundam series. It doesnít have the ability to block your attacks because...well, it doesnít have arms. But then again, when you take up 2/3s of the screen and all you need to do to knock off half an energy bar is walk into your enemy, blocking isnít all that needed. Because of the gameís silly focus on hand-to-hand combat, the only real way to engage him is by throwing blows. You barely even come up to his knees, he can literally walk you to death, and youíre trading blows with him. Right.
And to top that off, it doesnít even look right. On the back of the case it proudly claims: Amazing Hand-Drawn 2D Graphics!. The graphics are a sight, Iíll give it that; the same styles youíd know from the show, with a little depth to push them out of the background and make them stand out. Pixilated, but not the worst youíd find on a PS game.
But then you see the models in motion. Not only do the Gundams fight like Ryu in a metal case, they move like it, too. They donít seem like one whole unit, they walk in sections; when you move, itís more like a bunch of barely joined pieces moving together, seamed. Gundams are supposed to be well-tuned weapon of wars, as mobile as the humans that pilot them. Battle Assault 2 doesnít even begin to capture that.
To be fair, despite having a few models from the Gundam Wing and Universal Century shows, the main focus is on G Gundam, a series that pitted Gundams against each other in a glorified street tournament; fighting techniques used on a colossal scale. But thatís not really an excuse. G Gundam was a bad series for the same reason this is a bad game: Itís just not what Gundam is supposed to be.
Iíd like to tag the standard Ďfor fans of the series onlyí line here, but if youíve got a Gundam itch that needs scratching, there are many better games for it. If this game featured a headband wearing martial arts master and a police detective with the worldís largest legs, it might not be so bad. But with Gundams? Nah.
Community review by lasthero (September 15, 2005)
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