Based on the various Gundam anime series’, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 is KOEI’s second run at cashing in on the Gundam name. Like almost all other Dynasty Warriors titles, this game involves hacking, slashing, and little else. There are a lot of things to do in this game, but it all revolves around that one core style of game play and the constant repetition is too much after a while. A few new features are added to the game, but these features also become tedious and unwelcome. If you choose to play this game you will probably become bored with it before you finish half of the things there are to do.
The bulk of the game play is broken up into two parts: story mode and mission mode. The story mode revolves around a handful of pilots from a few different series of the many Gundam titles. A couple of them are Amuro Ray from Mobile Suit Gundam and Kamille Bidan of Zeta Gundam. If you have not seen any of the Gundam anime before playing this game, you will probably get lost trying to follow the story. The game tries to explain what’s going on via text before missions, but without knowing what any of it really means other than the fact that there are giant robots in space, this method of storytelling is ineffective. These are also the same storylines that are followed in the first Dynasty Warriors Gundam. Even though the story was mostly Greek to me, it was still disappointing to see the same characters in story mode rather than some new ones from a different series.
The story mode only has four characters. There are 40 characters in and 62 mobile suits for the characters to use in mission mode. Needless to say, this is where you spend most of your time. Each character has five main missions to complete and in between those they talk to other characters to further the original story fabricated for Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2. The problem with this story is parts from just about every Gundam anime are shoved down your throat in a convoluted mess that you can’t make heads or tails of. In addition to the story, all of the characters have extra missions. These include various things like beating a certain level with a low level grunt mobile suit, or unlocking more mobile suits for that specific character to use. These sound good at first, but your dreams are quickly dashed when you see that every character has the exact same extra missions.
One thing that bothers me about Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, and many other games in the Warriors series, is character and mission unlocking. It’s usually not a problem, but there are times when the in-game hints are so vague or not even present, so players are forced to look up how to unlock characters and extra missions online. I had to do this a few times and if I hadn’t I would have never figured out the methods used to unlock certain characters and missions in the game.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 looks like your average Dynasty Warriors game. The cut-scenes are nice and the graphics hold up well enough, but they don’t push the system’s hardware by any means. The XBOX 360 version looks like it can be played easily on the Playstation 2, and at this point, there isn’t really any excuse for a game to be that far behind graphically. Also, a lot of the text is not SDTV friendly, so if you’re not playing in HD you are going to experience some eye strain. The one thing I do like about the look of the game is they have drawn characters for the moments in mission mode when they interact with one another. It would have been nice to see them actively move instead of occasionally changing their stance, but overall it was a nice touch.
Unlike other Dynasty Warriors games, the music in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 actually fits to a certain degree. Composed mostly of orchestrated scores you expect to find in cheesy sci-fi anime and movies, especially during big space battles, the music fits the game rather well, even if it is somewhat uninspired.
Although the music is not terribly offensive to the ear, the voice acting will get on your nerves at times. Since you are unable to switch to the Japanese track in this installment, you get to listen to how much everyone hates fighting, and they will usually tell you that while they are fighting you. Although the voice actors don’t do a bad job, the script is filled with relentless whining and complaining about how war is pointless and how people shouldn’t have to fight. My favorite character from the game turned out to be Elpeo Puru just because she didn’t complain. Throughout the game all she wanted to do was finish the battle so she could go home and take a bath, and in the end, that’s how I was feeling near the end of the game as well.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 lives up to its Warriors name when it comes to game play. Throughout the entire game you lay waste to hordes of enemy mobile suits with your guns and energy swords. All of the old tricks are here including regular attacks, charge attacks, and special “musou” attacks. All of these are unique to each mobile suit and there are different variations of combos with each one as well. This style of game play is fun, but when you put 30+ hours into the massive amounts of missions available, the hacking and slashing becomes tedious and boring.
Also, the enemies are big fans of cheap shots, so you will be shot in the back many times causing you to fall over and when you try to do a quick recovery they will knock you down before you can recover. The only solution I found to this was taking the hit and doing the slow recovery and that broke the fast pace of the game and became annoying after a while.
In addition to the massive amounts of hacking and slashing, a couple of new features are added to Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2. However, after hours of playing they transform from fun new features to nuisances. The first new element of the game is the addition of giant Gundams. In addition to the normal enemy officers you fight, you will fight some mobile suits that dwarf yours and the key to beating them is to wait for them to attack and attack them while they are off balance. Since there are only a few giant mobile suits, you end up fighting the same ones over and over and the strategy to fighting them is always the same, so it just feels like you are wasting time fighting it. The worst thing about the giant mobile suits is you never get to pilot one!
The other new feature is the implementation of the friendship system. In mission mode, the pilots are all connected in their jumbled story. This means when you fight with them they like you more and when you fight against them they dislike you. This is fine until it starts interfering with unlocking missions. Many characters and missions you unlock require you to be friends with certain pilots and more often than not the only way to make better friends with them is to go into a random battle and hope they are fighting with you. This ends up adding hours onto the game play, but in the end it is just pointless grinding and repetition.
For example, the point where I finally stopped playing the game is when I got to the character Sleggar Law. I looked at his missions and found that none of them were unlocked. I researched them online and found out that I had to be friends with specific people to unlock each mission and that meant fighting with each of those pilots four or five times and hoping that they are not against me any of those times. In the end, I did not do it because all it would do is pave the way for more of the same game play I experienced for the last 20 hours or so.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 is only for the most hardcore of hardcore fans of either the Dynasty Warriors series or the Gundam anime. Average players will not be able to make heads or tails of the story, and the game play gets to be so repetitious its mind numbing. In the end, this game takes way too long to finish when all it has is mindless hacking and slashing. If you want a hack and slash title, I recommend you look into one of the other Warriors titles by KOEI, be it Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors or Warriors Orochi.
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