‘Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn’ Review

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So, here’s the problem with reviewing a game from the Dynasty Warriors franchise: it all depends what you’re looking for. With that in mind, let’s continue.

dynasty-warriors-gundam-reborn_051Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn is a fantastic piece of nostalgic work. I remember spending hours upon hours slaying enemies in ancient battle during my youth, as well as watching episode upon episode of any Gundam Series I could, looking forward to Cartoon Network’s Toonami afternoon airing. This is the strong suit for DW:GR and it plays to this strength extremely well. Players are immersed in the galactic struggle of the Federation played out with mobile suits and Gundams. The story mode stretches across multiple series of Gundam Wing, giving a rich and complete view of the Gundam universe.

Beyond that DW:GR plays to the strength of the classic Dynasty Warriors combat mechanics, which is as much of a strength as it is a weakness. While slashing through waves upon waves of enemy mobile suits, acquiring upgrades, and filling that precious special meter to execute devastating attacks is all good and well, after a few hours of play it becomes monotonous. I was hoping against hope there would be more variety beyond the easily executed combos needed to fill that special meter, and using those combos to slay the relatively stoic ranks of mobile suits. I feel as though there was so much room for expansion with the abilities of a Gundam, but most of those hopes went unfulfilled.

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So satisfying…until the 1,000th execution.

The game’s graphical presentation is clean enough, but nothing special. Gundams and mobile suits look sharp, but the environments are drab and lazily filled. Indoor areas are grey walls with generic “technological stuff,” colonial and planetary environments leave out most details, and the space battles are planar and empty feeling. Those awesome special attacks are fun to look at, but get stale when executed over the span of the entire game. AI actions and animations are limited, but without blemish. Often I felt as though I was a gardener hacking through green hedges (this is what it begins to look like when approaching clusters of mobile suits).

0d3f794d4b2320477f13346c3bb3d4631405311461_fullIf you feel nostalgia pulling at your wallet and heartstrings to jump into this game, here are the expectations I would have liked to have set: don’t let the fact Gundams fly and that battles take place in space allow you to think the battlefield won’t be flat; there are no english overdubs, only captions (it works for this series); it’s a great walk down memory lane; and don’t play for more than an hour at a time.

If you go in with these expectations, you’ll find an experience that is just fulfilling enough to quench that need to dive into the Gundam universe and raise some hell. Personally, I feel like Dynasty Warriors has been playing its one-string banjo for a long time now. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a dandy tune, but eventually they’ll need to add more than cross-franchise gimmicks to keep players engaged. I feel as though if more time, money, and imagination were to have gone into this project, it could have been amazing. But, as it stands, the game fills a Gundam shaped place in my childhood heart, while leaving more to be desired.

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