Gundam Musou 3 Review: Robots + Hack n Slash in style!
Gundam Musou 3 Review (PS3 version played)
Three years ago, Koei released a title that not many people would have suspected to have ever come. It was the first Musou game that featured neither Dynasty nor Samurai. That game is called Gundam Musou. Yes, it was a crossover between Mobile Suit Gundam and the Dynasty Warriors series. Three years forward, the third game of the franchise finally hit stores this past week in Japan. How does this fare compared to the previous two and on its own? Check it out below!
Staple to the series, you take a character and then use the various attacks it has and defeat as many enemies as possible. For Gundam Musou’s case, you take a character and a mobile suit along. Usually you are tasked to reach a certain point of the map and defeat the commanding officer who is much stronger than the others on the field.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, what can fans of the series expect from this that they have yet to see in GM2? Well, there’s actually quite a number of things that have changed. First of all, the most obvious change to the franchise is the graphics design. Gone is the realistic sleek looking mechas from GM1-2. In place is the more cartoonish, cel shaded mechas you would see in the anime. I guess it’s a nice design change as a fan of the anime. Well it’s not entirely like the anime but it’s the closest you’ll get to what that is seen there. Also, I am fan of cel shading so this definitely gets a thumbs up from me!
Nice cel-shading no?
Next up is the gameplay changes. Similar to the boost charge attack (where you press X after a charge combo to execute a string of attacks) is the Emergency Dash. Just like the name, you can use it in an emergency, like when you are attacked or when you decide not to continue a normal string. It works just like the boost dash in that your suit dashes forward and you are allowed to do a boost charge. Quite convenient when you’re swarmed by enemies which can and will happen in this game a lot. I was really glad they added this as now you can cancel from any move you do. I just wish that they expanded on the dash charges or even added a different combo set for air attacks. Robots can fly after all no?
Maps wise, this game has an overhaul over them too. Every single stage you saw in GM1 and 2 have not made a return. Fear not, they just had a map redesign! The art style of the maps is still very realistic-looking like in GM1 and 2 though. The maps however seem to be more generic now as compared to the older ones design wise. Majority of them just have you moving from one area to the next killing enemies inside the areas, similar to Sengoku Basara. However, most of the areas on the map have some strategic value to you if you take over them. Things like partner assist (allows you to call your ally to help you), rockets (takes over an enemy base) or launch platform (fast travel to another area on the map) and so on. Also these strategic points appear at random for every mission. I kinda like this system since you don’t end up going the same route everytime you play that map.
From Gundam vs Gundam series is the resapwn feature. Yep, directly ripped from there! Now, if you die, you have a chance of respawning! I liked that feature from the GvG series so its nice to borrow a good concept once in a while haha. Only problem is that some missions totally drain your respawn gauge at the start but not for the enemy L! But its ok, as you progress through, your suit will be so powerful you won’t even need it anymore.
I think most of the people who want to play this game would want to know who are in this round of the series. Wing series fans are in for a treat. Gundam Deathscythe finally makes his appearance in GM3 along with Heavyarms and Tallgeese II. It’s a pity that Sandrock and Altron aren’t in though, would’ve completed the Wing team. Other additions would be 00 Raiser and Reborns from 00, Gundam DX from X, Unicorn and Sinanju from Unicorn and last but not least GP01FB and my personal favorite GP02A from 0083. (GATO!) . Those choices alone made me very excited for the game as they finally put in my favorite series into this game. Other series have some additions too, in the form of Class 2s and otherwise like Kapool, Gedlav, Schwarz etc. However I still feel that a little something is still missing from the games. They added Schwarz in but not the Gundam Spiegel. CCA characters were removed from GM3. No more Bright?! WHAT? Odd choices (minus Bright, his seiyuu has passed away 😦 )….Also, 0083 without Cima and Burning and X without the Frost brothers also feels a little underwhelming but I guess its just BanNam keeping them back for GM4 haha! Regardless they still made some good choices with the character/suits additions this time round…
There are 2 main modes when it comes to this game: Story Mode and Online Mode. To put it simply: Official Mode+ Original Mode (GM1) + Mission Mode (GM2) + Free mode. They took all the main modes from past games and combined it into a super mode if you will. The main story this time round is similar to GM1 where a group of people fight other groups in a crossover story couple with one superboss at the end. With the large roster this time round, characters are split into 4 factions similar to what you’d see in Musou Orochi and Kingdom mode in DW4. As you will expect, some characters have a lot of the spotlight and others barely appear.
As much as I dislike this, it’s the standard for this kind of kingdom style story mode. I would say the story is the standard decent one for a crossover game. Also as I said this is Kingdom styled, when you complete a mission for one character in that mode, everyone in that particular faction would have cleared it as well. This kind of takes away from the replayability of the game. Other non story missions just require one person to play it to clear for all characters.
Official Mode now takes the form of Historical Missions. These are simple missions covering some events from the Gundam canon. I didn’t particularly like how some of them are basically rehashes from each other and very simple. Honestly I’d prefer if they were still Official Mode and not just a set of missions. But I can understand with this approach because Official Mode only caters to UC and we want everyone to have some of the historical pie no?
Too much manly may cause explosions
Even with the reduced replayability, the Story Mode was pretty well done in general. They did away with the negative relationship in the relation chart. I know many had problem unlocking missions or characters with that in GM2 so I’m glad its gone in GM3 at least. Development wise, its gotten a little simpler. All you need is blueprints to use a suit. No parts, just blueprints. It cuts me the stress from grinding so much. Also, leveling/upgrading a blueprint is instantaneous compared to the one mission wait in GM2, thanks Astonaige!
Online mode is also much simpler than in GM2 also. Instead of playing from a set of 3 mission types, you now play a set mission with friends. While waiting for people to join your online team, you can play an offline mission in the meantime, cool huh? Battles wise, you just need to clear the mission. Its more co-op than competitive in the previous title. Also, as you play more and rank up, the enemies hit harder too, that’s sorta nice I guess. You can also get super powerful blueprints online too, it sweetens the deal to play online too but the blueprints are not always guaranteed.
Plenty of Zaku II blueprints waiting for you…
Music in this game had a big overhaul too. Only one theme remained in this game from the other 2 games (sans victory, defeat and death of course). In their place is a set of mood-changing tunes that alter base on how well you’re performing. If your respawn gauge is lower than the enemy’s a disadvantageous version of the theme will be playing. Likewise for when yours is higher and an advantageous version will play. It’s a nice feature, altering the tune base on the situation. I can understand why they removed the older music now. Also the new set of themes are pretty well done compared to the older ones that you mind as well forget those old tunes are listen to these only. A number of anime themes were remixed too. Some were well done but others were just downright terrible. Unfortunately, one of those happens to be Men of Destiny. Now, as a 0083 fan, I am totally disgusted at how they remixed the theme. A friend of mine, an X fan was not happy how Dreams was done either. I hope to see better remixes in the future eh BanNam? 😉
As DLCs have been released at the time of this posting, I’ll go on a bit about them. In the credits, BanNam listen the DLC characters for the game and it seems to be Kshatriya from Unicorn, and Susanowo and the rest of Celestial Being from 00. I’d have preferred to see something like Cima’s Gelgoog or Gundam Spiegel as DLC but eh, maybe GM4. They’re probably targeting the 00 and Unicorn fanbase this time round. They seem as a bit of a scam (typical of BanNam) but at least the characters were only developed post game release so I might get those. I most probably will skip the DLC missions as they should’ve been in the game to begin with.
Definitely one DLC you must get!
In the end, Gundam Musou 3 did a number of things in the right direction and a good number in the wrong too. But in the end, I would still think Gundam and Musou fans would have a kick out of this game. Its much more fast paced than the previous title, with a large roster of characters to play as and some great music to hear while all this is going on. It has a few faults I am concerned of but I think it should be solved come the sequel at least. I would recommend this title to all hack n slash fans, Gundam fans and Musou fans in general. Though I would say to wait on for the English release (Whenever it comes, if it ever come) if you want to understand the game better.
Review Score: 8.5/10