Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 Xbox 360
Published by: Koei
Developed by: Omega Force
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam was essentially Dynasty Warriors with a Gundam veneer. Whilst it was great to see a sci-fi look, the game played more or less in the same fashion as many of the other Dynasty Warriors games we've seen over the years. Naturally, whether you saw this as a good thing or a bad thing really depends on how much you enjoyed the Dynasty Warriors games and to a lesser extent how much you wanted a game based on the Gundam universe. If Dynasty Warriors: Gundam really did it for you and you don't mind essentially more of the same then Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 will definitely be your thing. Everyone else might not be quite so impressed.
Those who do like their Dynasty Warriors and all things Gundam will definitely find a lot that appeals here. The game offers an Official mode which offers missions that generally follow the anime series. Initially you can choose from four characters to play as: Amuro Ray, Char Azanable, Kamille Bidan and Judau Asta. Whilst each of the characters' storylines will be of huge interest to Gundam enthusiasts, it should be noted that things are not really explained well enough if you aren't into the whole Gundam universe. Once you're done with those you'll want to take on the Mission mode which offers plenty more missions which are based around original storylines rather than being based on the anime. For your multiplayer needs you have the Versus mode and Xbox Live support allowing up to four players to take part.
As we've already mentioned, what you're getting here is pretty much a typical Dynasty Warriors experience with a Gundam theme. Your character will fight in their mobile suit and will have a variety of attacks and combo moves at their disposal. Characters begin at level one and will level-up the more you use them in battles so there's definitely an incentive to plough your time and effort into your favoured characters. The missions, which are played out either on a 2D plane in space or on a variety of terrains, mostly involve you hacking at a crazy amount of enemies. In addition to defeating the seemingly countless hoards and their commanders you'll also have certain goals such as making sure specific allies are protected and so forth. The battle maps are divided up into zones that you'll attempt to capture. Playing the game on its easiest difficulty setting essentially means you'll face enemies that are pretty much asleep and even though no single enemy is particularly challenging on the higher difficulty settings, they can pose a problem because of the sheer number of them.
How much value you get from the single-player game really depends on how much you appreciate the Dynasty Warriors series. Some will find it a tedious button-basher and will probably expect more from the game. Those who still appreciate the series' style of play will definitely find more of the same and will probably enjoy the change of theme. As a Dynasty Warriors game Gundam 2 definitely compares rather favourably. Personally I do wish the combat was the same as in Bladestorm: The Hundred Year's War (a game which showed that Omega Force can create a more elaborate battle system) but this is a Dynasty Warriors game and whilst games reviewers are always looking for things to evolve or go off onto a different track, most gamers probably wouldn't appreciate any wholesale changes to the Dynasty Warriors formula.
When it comes to the multiplayer experience you have three different game types. War mode allows players to compete in a given operation with players gaining advantages over their opponents for each of the objectives they complete. Sudden Death is a Deathmatch style game with points being earned for shooting opponents and points lost for being shot. Hunting sees players classified as "Hunters" or "Targets." Hunters earn points by shooting Targets whilst Targets earn points based on the length of time they can avoid being shot. War Mode is probably the best of the three modes you can play online but it's a shame you can't play the Official or Mission mode missions co-operatively over Xbox Live in the same way you can do in local multiplayer games.
The game's presentation is pretty much what you'd expect from a Dynasty Warriors title. The graphics don't really improve upon those in the first Gundam game and it certainly couldn't be argued that the game looks as good as it could on the Xbox 360. That said however, for most the graphics will be good enough and the game handles the large numbers of enemies without any performance issues. The game is subtitled and you'll be able to follow all of the game's important dialogue. Comments made on the character selection screen aren't subtitled but this certainly isn't a problem. Objectives are shown in text and you're notified when objectives change during a mission. You're always aware of how much time you have left to complete a mission too.
Assuming you're a fan of both Dynasty Warriors and Gundam, you'll appreciate what Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 has to offer although it's possible that you might feel it's not vastly different from the original Dynasty Warriors: Gundam game. Those who have never had a liking for the Dynasty Warriors series aren't going to find anything here that will change their mind. Those who don't appreciate the series will still see it as a mindless button-basher. Whilst it is disappointing that the game sticks so rigidly to the Dynasty Warriors formula and that little has been done to freshen up the series, it's hard to deny that this is still a solid mass combat action game and when played in short bursts can actually be quite enjoyable.