Welcome to a future world where gigantic mobile suits and their human pilots wage a hi-tech winner-take-all war. Your fighting skills will be put to the ultimate test, as you challenge other pilots for the right to be called the best. As Burning Gundam, you’re a martial arts specialist in search of your brother. Then as Heero Yuy in Gundam Wing, attempt to destroy Trieze Khushrenada. Finally, use Gundam RX-78 to wage war against the Principality of Zeon. Based on “Mobile Suit Gundam,” the hugely popular Japanese anime series, and also seen on TV and available on DVD, Gundam Battle Assault 2 proves once and for all that the bigger they are, the harder they brawl!
Gundam Battle Assault came out for the Playstation in the US a few years back, and the game was basically just a compilation of Gundam the Battle Master 1 and 2 (Japanese release only). However, the game was quite disappointing, in that in only had 2 modes of play really (story mode, and V.S. mode). Bandai tried to ”localize” the game by adding in Wing Gundam (just a Zeta Gundam clone), and making Heero the only character in Story Mode. It was fairly fun, but it had many, many problems.
However, if there is one thing Bandai excels at, it’s business sense. Since Gundam Battle Assault came out, Cartoon Network has aired many, many more Gundam series other than simply just Gundam Wing. So Bandai can take their old animations from previous games, rework them, add a few more Gundams to the mix, and release the game for a bargain price. With Gundam’s popularity in the US, and the PSX’s massive installed user base, it’s guaranteed million-seller. But the question is, how good is this game?
Graphics: Wow, Bandai, Pat yourself on the back
Well it’s certainly nice to see that the Playstation is still quite alive and kicking, even though it’s hardware is more than 7 years old now, and it sure isn’t getting any younger. The graphics are about the best you’re going to find for a PSX game. All of the Gundams are animated in ”chunks” (various parts of arms and legs), so they move around very fluidly and convincingly. The animation is just awesome, using techniques which probably wouldn’t work for other games such as Street Fighter.
The backgrounds are animated and partially 3D, which is better than the bland backgrounds in the first game. However, the 3D backgrounds are pretty ugly by today’s standards, but remember, this is a PSX game we’re talking about here, running on 7-year-old hardware. Heck, the computer I’m using is way to slow for me, and it’s ONLY 2 years old! Ha! So my congratulations to Bandai for doing a really great job in this department.
Gundam Selection: Softcore, US-only oriented stuff
Bandai made the Gundam selection mostly from G Gundam, Gundam Wing, and MS Gundam (the original), since those are basically the only series which have been shown in the US (and a few Gundams from 0080, and 0083). So other (superior) series, such as Z Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Turn-A Gundam, F91 Gundam, or X Gundam (to name a few), are almost completely ignored (ok, so they ARE completely ignored…). Fortunately they included some Gundams which most US ”fans” wouldn’t easily recognize (such as Nu Gundam, and… yes, Sazabi, my favorite! Go Char!). Although for some reason or another, Qubeley, The-O, and Zeta Gundam weren’t put in, even though they were in the last one! Well whatever… at least the game has an intro this time (albeit a very weak one. Heck, I’ve seen SD Gundam games with cooler intros…).
The biggest addition would be the Wing Gundam lineup, and the G Gundam lineup. Sure, God Gundam is now ”Burning Gundam”, and Devil Gundam is now ”Dark Gundam” (darn US censorship, yes, we can’t let our little children hear evil works like, ”God”, or ”Devil”…), but I suppose I can live with it. I’m certainly very glad to see Tallgeese and Epyon (which I haven’t got a chance to play as since back on the SNES!) made it into the final version, but how about Mercurius or Vayeate? The Endless Waltz versions of the Gundams are just down-right awesome, with some pretty darn good attack and special attack animations.
On the down side however, you’ll notice that G Gundam and Gundam W Mobile Suits don’t have battle damage (pieces get knocked off during battle). Probably because Bandai didn’t bother to animate this, hoping no one would notice. Oh well, at least the Gundams are IN there! Plus that, and with a massive 30 Gundams in all, there shouldn’t be to much for me to complain about!
Extras and Multi-Player
There are a lot of things to unlock from the get-go on Gundam Battle Assault 2. However, the game proves rather unbalanced in that area. For example, one time I set it on easy and beat it as a Gundam in Street (Story) Mode, and I was rewarded with 3 MS and 2 other extra things. Then I beat it as another MS on Hard in Story Mode, only to be rewarded with… nothing at all. You see, some times you win tons of stuff, and other times you win nothing. Sure, it’s nice to win 3 new Gundams after only playing for about 10 minutes, but I wish they’d stretch it out a bit, making unlocking that last Mobile Suit a bit more elusive.
Most of the CD is not being used, so I wish Bandai would’ve filled up that extra space with stuff, like, say, cutscenes from the show, or galleries of images from many of the different shows. Or perhaps bios, character designs, or info on the series, characters, and Gundams for hard-core fans like myself? Nope. Oh well, at least we have 2 Time Attack Modes and a Survival Mode this time around (instead of just Story and V.S. Modes).
The levels are larger now (an improvement which I was looking forward to), but the Mobile Armors are still just as cheap. Come on, they can still kick from almost one end of the screen to the other, and deal absurd amounts of damage. Ever try playing as Ball and trying to beat your brother as Big-Zam or Devil Gundam (er.. excuse me, I mean, ”Dark Gundam”)? I rest my case…
Music and Sound Effects
Well the announcer still says WAY to much in the battles (like in the last one, he calls out stuff like ”You can’t Block!”, or ”Out of Ammo!”, rather than simply having your characters call out when they attack (as they do sometimes).), but now there is some character voice during the battles (such as ”Burning Finger!”). The character voices are mostly directly from the show’s voice actors (which is a mixed blessing), but I’ll admit it’s not their best performance. Man, where’s the option to switch to original Japanese dialogue with subtitles? What’s that, you DON’T HAVE ONE?! Argh!
The music is ok, although I believe they’re all original tracks (rather than being taken from the show, as they should have been). Not like YOU care afterall…
|Gundam: Battle Assault 2|
|Release date(s)||Jul 17, 2002|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
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