Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2

Gundam A-Go-Go-Go

It's a second outing for Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, but can it make as big a splash as the first?
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 1, 2009
I'm definitely the last remaining Dynasty Warriors fan in the office. When everyone else rolls their eyes, I secretly get a little giddily hopeful that for at least a dozen or so hours (nowhere near the dozens I used to spend with each one, but then I didn't play three or four of 'em a year) -- expectant that where others see rehashes, I see another chance to geek out with hack 'n slash fun. I don't claim to be objective about the whole thing, but then the only people reading this review are either those looking for the schadenfreude of me bagging on it or confirmation that, yes, there are still people out there that dig the games.


Though I definitely still fall on the latter side of the fence, it's not as glowing a verdict as I would have hoped to have written this time around. I would posit that Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 is the better of the two games that came out, and if you still count yourself among the Warriors faithful but didn't yet jump in, this is a fine game to do it with. The problem, and I realize I'm sounding like I'm falling in lock step with the haters here, is that the sequel isn't enough of a sequel.

It's not so much that the Gundam take changed the formula all that much, but the idea of fighting in little areas to claim them feels like gaining a bit more ground than just battling through open countrysides. Claiming capital ships (really just fighting enemies in their areas) only adds a semblance of variety, but taking down bigger armored suits by pinpointing their weaknesses and dashing at them at least mixes up the mash-mash-mash-charge-boost-mash-mash feel of the combat.

The game certainly isn't without stuff to collect. The original's reliance on leveling up pilots and mobile suits independently has been trimmed to just the pilots, and offing a certain number of enemies gains you parts for new suits. There's a ridiculous number of pilot-specific missions, anime series-based story-driven missions, tons of pilots to unlock, giving anyone willing to spend the tens of hours necessary to unlock everything (and bank some of the most time consuming Trophies ever created) weeks if not months of game to chew on.

The problem, of course, is that if someone already spent that time with the first game, they're going to be hard-pressed to want to do it all over again for largely the same rewards. I'm not saying they won't, because if nothing else Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is certainly a different feel from vanilla Dynasty Warriors, but a few off the additions from the Empires expansions, for instance, would have been more welcome here than the slight tweaks to things.

Some of the game's removals seem even more odd; the Japanese voices were lopped off (made all the more puzzling because of the tons of extra space afforded by Blu-ray in the PS3 version), as was, apparently, some of the original music from the series. I understand that multi-platform games have to be more or less 1:1 in features, but would a bunch audio really have made that much of a difference? Then again, it could have come down to licensing, who knows. The bottom line is that the game is lacking some features as a result of having that "2" tacked onto the title. It doesn't gain a whole lot more in the way of visual oomph, though. There's plenty of recycling of assets, and though the game runs pretty well, it still doesn't have the kind of pop that I would have hoped for.

I know it might sound a little disingenuous to claim I'm a fan of a series and then rail on it for the exact same reasons others poo-poo that series for, but in this case, the majority has it; Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 isn't enough of an improvement to justify the additional number in the title. I'm not saying it's a bad game -- and in fact it might be fresh enough for newcomers to get them back into the button mashing fun -- but as a so-called sequel, there could have been far, far more in place to bring vets back. As it stands, only the truly dedicated will be able to get enough mileage out of the asking price to justify a proper purchase (and possibly even a rental). By all means, jump in if you haven't already, but if you have, it's going to take more than this to bring you back.
The Verdict
6.0

I would love to say Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 is an improvement over the original, but it's honestly not -- at least not on the level of a numerically graduated title.

8.0Graphics:

Decent, but hardly amazing, Gundam 2 does a decent amount of crowd chaos, but it's not exactly awe-inspiring.

6.0Sound:

What voice acting is there is rather painful at times, something that could have been mitigated with the inclusion of Japanese voices. And really, axing the music that helped set the tone for the game you bought the license for? C'mon...

9.0Control:

Solid, just as the games always have been, and nicely varied once you learn the basics, but there's still plenty of mashing to be had here, for good or ill.

6.0Gameplay:

What was once a fresh new take on what many were calling a tired series is running dangerously close to getting tired itself after just two iterations. Time to mix things up more, Omega Force.