Gundam Extreme Vs.
Most anime games are ass. Aside from cult classics like Hokuto no Ken, Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure and Budokai 3, most either fail to capture the spirit of the show, were cheaply thrown together hoping to cash in on the show, or both. Even Gundam has been guilty of such games as many of which (namely Dynasty Warriors) involve raping the Square or X button’s as much as you can with barely any of the soul or spirit of the shows.
Well those days are numbered, as Gundam Extreme Vs. is not only the best Gundam game ever made, but one of the best anime games out there, and though my recommendations have backfired with Life is Money pissing me off, I’ve had Gundam Extreme Vs. for about half a year and love every moment of it, going as far as to selling any of my crappy games to spend more time with it. Allow me to elaborate in this post in a number of reasons why it’s made of awesome!
1. The Combat
Gundam Extreme Vs. is a 2 on 2 fighting game that makes you feel like you’re actually piloting a Mobile Suit, especially if you got a fight stick like a boss. You’ve got your X button as air boost, your O button as a lock-on, your L1/L2 as your commands, pressing your joystick twice makes you charge, and the rest of your buttons are completely different weapons depending on your pilot.
You choose from two pilots (one to control and one to assist) and face off against two other pilots with the goal of draining the other side of their Team Gauge with 6000 points by defeating their mobile suits. These 6000 points are indicated through your pilots who’s suits have up to 3000 points depending on their power (A Zaku II would have a weak 1000 but could die more times than a higher leveled suit, while Unicorn would have a powerful 3000 yet would have to avoid dying more than once or risk losing), allowing you to mix and match for different battle experiences.
2. The Characters
Rather than just giving you the main characters of the popular shows and not much else, Gundam Extreme Vs. gives you the main characters from ALL the Gundam series’ from Mobile Suit Gundam to Gundam Unicorn and even those obscure spin-offs like Crossbone, Seed Astray, and IGLOO. And this isn’t just a case of Quantity over Quality as each Mobile Suit has attention to detail in it that is not only canonical to their respective shows but also has their own strengths and weaknesses based on their weapons and armor so not all Gundam’s pilot alike (for instance, Kamille has an average set-up with a balance of beam sword and gun attacks that are good for straight up melee, while Trowa Barton has only guns as his weapons so he’s a better support character for gunning from a distance).
3. The Fanservice
If you’ve ever found yourself in love with a Gundam series, they will roll out the Red Carpet just for you when it comes to this game. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been too invested into Gundam in my past years (watched some old Mobile Suit episodes on Cartoon Network here and there and watched Gundam 00 which was just OKish), but have fallen in love with the series after marathoning Turn A Gundam around Christmas time. Turn A wasn’t the most popular Gundam series in Japan, but playing through this game, I couldn’t tell because they got all of my favorite ticks down to a T with adding in the 2nd theme song “Century Color”, having the three big characters, having Romi Park and Tetsu Inada shout “UUUUUUUNIVEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRSE!” off the top of their lungs, using “the nuke” as a charged attack, and being able to summon the supporting cast like Sochie, Poe, and Merrybell to battle.
Allow me to elaborate: each character is not only very faithful to their counterparts in their show, but adds little motifs to their person such as their catchphrases and weapons, being able to summon minor characters with some of the characters, retaining the same voice actors for each pilot (even Daisuke Namikawa who voiced Alfred from War in the Pocket as a little boy and Reddhe from Unicorn today), and even adding themesongs, which leads tooooooooooooooo-
4. The Music
As I mentioned in the Fanservice section, this game has theme songs from every Gundam series known to man, save for AGE. However, if you aren’t a fan of hearing some of these themes or music in the soundtrack, you can replace some of the songs with your own Custom Songlist so you can have that Andrew WK Gundam soundtrack if you really wanna get meta on us (I ended up putting in a mix of Turn A, Daft Punk, Genki Rockets, and Crystal Castles to get that futuristic combat feel). This may very depending on your mileage but you could be excited to know that Linkin Park provided “The Catalyst” as the game’s theme song with the main menu being graced with Chester Bennington’s smooth as sandpaper vocals. The pros outweigh the cons here.
5. The Modes
You’ll get your Arcade missions which all have differing paths depending on how much of a badass mofo you are in the battlefield. However, there are a crapton of other modes to go along with it with a Free Play Versus mode, an Online mode, and a Trial mode which in itself has several bracket containing a crapton of missions and achievable emblems depending on the difficulty level. Through Trial mode, you can get experience so that you can level up your favorite Mobile Suits so that they suck less against tough battles which leads toooooo-
6. The Challenge
Elvis Presley once said “If you’re looking for trouble, you came to the right place”. In short, you want to put it on the normal/upper difficulties, this game will kick your ass. And hard. I guarantee you if you’re looking for a challenge, you will have to apply KY to the anus first or the tearing will be immensely painful. There are easier difficulties that do help you get the hang of your surroundings, but as this is a port of an arcade game, it’s hard levels are the kind of hard designed to make you put a 2nd mortgage on your house due to the amount of quarters you pump into the machine. Nonetheless, it makes beating each hard level all the more fulfilling and the challenge provides a motivation to get accustomed to your character to the point of making it fun to pick apart your once daunting enemies with the greatest of ease.
7. The Final Boss
Once you’ve made it through the hardships of the Arcade Mode, you have one more entity that you must defeat: an embodiment of evil voiced by none other than the former lead singer of Malice Mizer, the true star of Sket Dance, and that one guy you secretly fap to, Gackt Kamui. It’s a challenge to fight him with his auditory sex flooding your ear canals, but the payoff is immense as you get to be showered in a blaze of glory and finally obtain vengeance for Gackt stealing your old highschool girlfriend/boyfriend. Bonus points if your custom soundtrack played “Mizerable” or “Longing” during his fight.
8. It’s Tourney-Approved
If you were paying attention to Evo 2012 this year, you probably noticed three things: Daigo playing Super Street Fighter IV AE, the preview of Persona 4 Arena, and the fact that one of the playable games at the tournament was Gundam Extreme Vs. This game is one that was created with a great competitive scene in mind with enough ways to play and fight to keep each round fresh with different strengths and weaknesses in each match-up or pairing.
As great as the game is, there are a few things you should know before you go ahead and buy it as precaution:
1. It’s Only Available in Japan
This one is a bit Captain Obvious, but because of this, you have to import the game from Play-Asia or eBay at prices that range from $66 to $100 (note that the Japan and Asian copies of the game are all the same game except the boxart and instruction book for the Asian ones are in their country’s respective language; Mines in Korean). While this is no problem with PS3 since all of the games except P4A are region-free, you should know some basic Japanese (knowing Katakana is good enough) or be familiar with online menu translation guides if you want to decode everything.
2. Full Boost
Earlier in 2012, the Arcade version received an update to Gundam Extreme Vs. called Full Boost which had the DLC characters plus Nena, Corin, characters from Exa and Stargazer, some new characters played by Nobuhiko Okamoto and Ayana Taketatsu, swappable costumes, and some other fun stuff. There are no plans as of yet of porting Full Boost to consoles, but with Tokyo Game Show around the corner, it could happen.
That’s just about all I have to say about it. Overall, Gundam Extreme Vs. is a fun, addictive fighting game that fits well in any Gundam fan’s game collection. Whether you want it right away or could hold off and see if Full Boost has a port, it’s a game that deserves to be played by anyone who’s ever had the desire to pilot some Gundams.