Mobile suits, mobile suits everywhere.
There isn’t much that needs to be said about Gundam.
It’s one of the oldest and most popular anime series, and it has spawned more media over the decades than I care to list.
As long-running and coveted as the franchise might be, there haven’t been too many excellent games sharing the Gundam moniker. That in itself seems odd, as giant robots duking it out with laser swords, missiles, psychic energy and more seems like a natural fit for a video game.
In fact, most of the time, Gundam games have generally been more about the fan service over satisfying gameplay, and in the case of Extreme VS-Force, this rings true once more.
When it comes to franchises spanning as many different universes as Gundam, there’s usually two ways to handle the story.
One is a simple retelling of the various arcs with their respective characters, and the other is to just throw all of that in the air and just mash everything together in a giant mashed potato bowl of Gundam content.
Either way can work just fine depending on the execution, and Extreme VS-Force takes the latter approach with less than spectacular effect.
The missions themselves are spread out in a branch interface. More missions are unlocked as the player progresses, many of them being optional side adventures that reward the player with more points to throw around.
The points are used to buy temporary buffs that can be activated during tougher challenges, as well as for simple maintenance to keep the suits in top shape, along with being the paid currency to enter special challenges that reward new mobile suits to pilot.
The combat is something reminiscent of Armored Core to some degree, with boosts that run out with use and a balance of ranged/melee attack available depending on the mobile suit in question.
The lock-on system is simply proximity based, and once a target is chosen they won’t be able to escape the lock as long as they’re relatively close to the player.
Each mobile suit comes equipped with its own signature moves like Master Gundam’s “DARKNESS FINGER”, and it was a blast to see them in action. Given that there were well over 30 different Gundams to unlock, I found going into missions with a different suit every time to see its move set to be one of my favorite activities.
Unfortunately, the missions themselves were all quite dull, with the same kind of objectives like escorting X to Y, capturing C points while defending Y or destroying X in Y amount of time.
The way the lock-on worked made fighting multiple enemies at once quite a hassle, especially when a bunch of insignificant drones started shooting lasers from outside the screen when I was in a heated duel against another Gundam.
The missions involving simple 2 vs 2 or 1 vs 1 were my favorites, and luckily there was an arcade mode that was entirely made up of only that, which I spent a few hours in until that too became tiresome.
The issues with the campaign aside, this could’ve been a fun multiplayer game if it actually included more than just ad-hoc play, and the lack of net play for this title hurts its value and enjoyment immensely.
Lastly, there were many spoken lines during the game when a new foe entered the fray that simply weren’t translated at all, and this also applied to the music selection which was just left in Japanese for some reason.
As a fan of the Gundam series, seeing all the different mobile suits with their signature moves duking it out should have been a dream come true. However, a dull single player campaign and a complete lack of online multiplayer makes Extreme VS-Force very difficult to recommend.
Fun Tidbit – I think over the years, I’ve seen about four Gundam anime series to completion and of the bunch, my favorite is the 08th Team.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.