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Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force Review

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force Review

Despite the long title, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force is a Vita exclusive, meaning the title is longer than the box it comes in. Although in a third-person action strategy game about various giant mechanised robot suits fighting each other, you would kinda expect things to err the big side!

BIG robots

As someone who has long enjoyed animated giant robots who battle one another, I’ve admittedly not seen many of the various Gundam animes. I watched the heck out of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing back in the late 90s and played the first Dynasty Warriors Gundam -- but most of what I know has been picked up through cultural osmosis.

That said, from the very first mobile suit you see the game is a love letter to the whole Gundam franchise. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, but still want to check it out, let me tell you about the General-purpose Utility, Non Discontinuity Augmentation Maneuvering weapon system (GUNDAM). Yes, that’s really why it was originally called that.

The Gundam franchise takes place in various war-torn futures, and began with the anime Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979. From there it branched into 13 more (main) series with a bunch of movies and various manga (plus spin-off and parody anime series’ and one-offs). Each series takes place in one of ten timelines, helping you categorize which comes before or after the other. Usually, a bunch of kids get into some special mobile suits, and put it to the establishment for various reasons.

Heero Yuy, protagonist of Gundam Wing and pilot of the Wing Zero

And so we come to Extreme VS-Force, or ExVS for short. There’s the choice of both the Extreme Force mode, which is the main story mode, and Vs. Extend mode, which allows single battles like an arcade mode. You can choose whichever mobile suit you want to fight as, who you want to fight and where you want to do it. You can also take on Course Battles, which works as a sort of challenge or survival mode -- take one Gundam through multiple missions at various difficulties. Your Course score can be exchanged for GP in Extreme Force.

The story of Extreme Force mode is that you are an AI program that has to gather information from all of the Gundam timelines, creating links between all of the main characters in the process in order to help humanity evolve. You do this by taking part in some iconic battles from throughout the 14 series across four areas. You're doing this at the behest of some other AIs known as Aire and Tereno, who are there to guide you. There are a handful of missions in each timeline, taking place as either a Vs mission, or a Force mission.

Vs missions pit you against several opponents, and Force missions have you in command of two groups of units. The Vs missions are pretty simple, but you’re given optional objectives to complete to earn you more points, and your main objective may also change during the mission. This is usually mentioned, but not exactly what your new objective is. For instance, in one mission I was told to destroy the enemy forces. So I was battling them, until there was a mini cutscene -- and the enemy just kept coming. By chance I hit the command menu (I’ll talk about that in a minute), and noticed the objective was now to take control of Site A. I’d been wasting my time...

You'll fight bad guys, and some missions see you fight good guys

Some missions differ by giving you a Battle Gauge, which empties the more times you have to respawn, as theirs empties the more times you kill them - first one to empty the gauge loses. Others also have a countdown that you have to keep in mind in the top right of the screen. It will warn you as time is running out, but you have to be looking at the middle of the screen. I kept losing track whilst trying to keep an eye on enemy mobile suits...

Force missions are a lot more tactical, as you have to command two other sets of units, and sometimes a mobile base. Some missions allow you to choose which mobile suits which will join you (as well as choosing your own), others will have a locked selection. Once in a battle, feel free to take on the objectives yourself -- but you won’t last long. Your suit (whichever you choose) is more than a match for some Zaku II’s, but if there’s also a named character or turret on the enemy team you’re in trouble.

That means you have to go to ExVS’ command menu, which allows you to tell your subordinates where to go, either targeting specific enemy units or a position on the map. It takes some getting used to, and early on I kept forgetting to tell them to go anywhere at all!

Above is Charr, antagonist for a good part of the UC 0079 universe

The bit I enjoyed the most, were the levels that changed the past. I do like alternate fictional history, such as some of the Dragon Ball Z games - you play as a villain, and have a mini storyline all to that character such as Frieza killing Goku on Namek. There are also other special levels that are really just an excuse to unlock another one of the 90 or so mobile suits available. Well, that’s 90 if you include the mobile bases.

Due to the weaponry, each mobile suit handles differently -- some are melee only, others have a special attack that is a roundhouse kick instead of a giant cannon… There are four attacks; gun (on most suits), melee, and the two special attacks that vary by Gundam. It’s a simple system, but it’s made more challenging by having a cooldown on the special attacks. Each weapon also reacts differently depending on how far you are from your target.

That said, the targeting system is a challenge by itself, as I found it would rarely be an easy job to select the enemy unit I wanted to blast… It would often select the wrong enemy, making me waste ammunition on an enemy boosting away from me, instead of the one behind me that I could totally do with slashing right about… Never mind…

Most missions allow you to respawn at the closest base -- which unless it’s a mission that allows you to capture the enemy's bases, will be the furthest point from the action. If you find yourself dying too often, you can spend GP on specials before the mission - such as upping your attack or defence power. These are one-time deals, however, so don’t waste your points indiscriminately.

I said earlier that this is a love letter to the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, and it really is. That said, it’s not going to be the most accessible thing for newcomers to the series. It’s been a long time since we had a Gundam game in the west, and if only fans end up picking this up, it might be a long time until we get another… If you’re looking for a pretty challenging fighting game, with lots of missions lasting less than ten minutes each, then you’ll probably get a kick out of this. If you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into, and really get into the storyline, then unfortunately I hope you already liked Gundam or you’re not going to like this.

7.00/10 7

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force (Reviewed on PlayStation Vita)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

If you’re looking for a pretty challenging fighting game, with lots of missions lasting less than ten minutes each, then you’ll probably get a kick out of this.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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