Remember how cool the original Megazord was from the first series of Power Rangers?
Imagine a game surrounded by a war where the main weapon of choice was a loose iteration of it and we have Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn developed and published by Tecmo Koei. It is the latest installment of the famous hack and slash series Dynasty Warriors carrying over the same engine and mechanics seen in previous games. It sports new features from the previous game Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 which released on PS3 and Xbox 360 3 years ago but it has scrapped the cel-shaded graphics in favour of more realism.
Gundam Reborn substitutes hacking and slashing through ancient China for hacking and slashing through space as gigantic robots as you are required, in the games Original Mode, to play through six of the famous Dundam anime’s story lines. Starting from the moment humans began to venture into the beyond and colonizing, things begin to kick off when a military organisation named the Principality of Zeon wages war on the Earth Federation for interstellar independence. The most striking characteristic of this game is the retro appearance of the Gundams. They look fresh from the G1 versions of the Transformers TV show which will surprise some but it actually gives the Gundam universe an unmatched charm. The story arcs featured in the games main mode is complex but easy to follow and the cut scenes which link the gameplay sections are great fun to watch as big robots battle pulling off some stylish moves. The dialogue sections which fit inbetween though are in Japanese throughout which may put some western players off but it’s entirely ignorable.
This game is pure Dynasty Warriors as you control your Gundam through large battlefield style stages of which you must fight, fight, fight and more fight. The entire gameplay sections require you to flog your guts from one area of the battlefield to the other whilst fighting enemies in a traditional Dynasty Warriors button bashing fashion. The repetitiveness becomes mundane very quickly, your Gundams special abilities and powerful moves and alternate forms do add a nice bit of variety to the tedious action but not enough to sustain long period of play time. You have light and heavy attacks which can be mixed up to form some nice looking combos as well as a chargeable laser attack and a Musou attack which is a super move that look fantastically stylish and rack up the kill count fast. New to Gundam Reborn is the Burst meter which allows your mobile suit to take on an alternate form. This opens up new abilities with varied effects whether you slow down time or gain more power. Although it’s an interesting concept, it only manages to dress up the fact that you’re just button bashing in a different form.
Upgrade parts can be found throughout missions which can be added to your suit to increase stats, these are mainly found after fighting the games many boss characters which can only really be identified by their names displayed above their heads which is extremely helpful considering the screen gets fairly hectic as it does with all Dynasty Warriors games. Other mobile armours can be unlocked by battling through Ultimate Mode which is a kind of build your own suit mode as you complete choice missions to earn plans which feels like a loot system. Whilst easy to complete on easier difficulties, the rewards aren’t as special urging you to ramp up the difficulty to reap better rewards although it requires a lot of time and a hell of a lot of patience.
Whilst Gundam Reborn impressively displays how much frantic action can be shown on the screen at once with the thousands of character models, it come with a hefty visual downgrade. Characters and environments look muddy and textureless and enemies walk around in large flocks which make them easy prey. The space oriented levels are nothing but a background as you can only fly around on what seems to be an invisible floor which ruins the space aesthetic. It all feels like a PS2 release.
Aside from the faults, Gundam Reborn is mindless fun for a short while with smooth fast paced action nicely portrayed onscreen albeit looking roughly presented and the story lacks depth but is pleasantly carried along with fun watchable cut scenes. The hack and slash gameplay like most Dynasty Warriors games does become grindy and tedious.
Story - 3/5
Graphics - 3/5
Gameplay - 3/5
Overall - 3/5
Version reviewed - PlayStation 3