I’m a huge sci-fi anime fan, so any excuse to play a Mobile Suit Gundam game where I can play as my favorite robots from the series sounds fantastic. But my excitement is quickly lost when playing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force on the PlayStation Vita. I was looking forward to fun space battles with fast paced action, but what I found was a frustrating tactical action game with inconsistent difficulty spikes and choppy frame rate. Anime fans might be happy to see a new game based on Mobile Suit Gundam, but this won’t bring others on board with the series.
Extreme VS-Force mashes together the giant robots from throughout the Gundam universe, including mobile suits from the original Gundam anime and the more recent Universal Century, as well as Iron-Blood Orphans. This happens via a mediocre story involving the collection of data from historical events from the Gundam universe. The main plot is very confusing, and its the two main characters, Aire and Tereno, are very forgettable and offer nothing of value to the game.
Extreme Force mode is where the story unfolds, with missions based on a different time period in Gundam series history. Characters speak in Japanese, which can get annoying since there are no subtitles to show what they are saying. Those who watch the Gundam anime might know each of character as they appear, but everyone else will be left in the dark since there are no explanations for who they are. Missions have small descriptions, and there is Database with every mobile suit in the game, but you still aren’t given much info if you don’t follow the Gundam anime.
Mobile suit battles are the main attraction, but end up becoming a real disappointment. Missions are 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 battles with primary objectives to complete. While you have a team of computer allies to fight alongside you, they aren’t as effective as you think. Allies are easily destroyed and redeploy far away from objectives, leaving you to defend against an onslaught of attacks from enemy mobile suits.
This is made worse by enemies that are overpowered with attacks that have poor hit detection. During one mission that took place in the events of Char’s Counterattack, I was hit by a laser blast from the Sazabi mobile suit that never actually touched my mobile suit. The damage took a huge chunk out of my health bar, causing me to fail the mission.
This is a huge problem for escort mission objectives requiring you to protect a specific unit or location. Overpowered enemies and poor hit detection make these missions nearly impossible, since what you have to protect is so easily destroyed. Missions got very annoying for me when my objective was suddenly destroyed and I failed the mission, despite me having control of the majority of the map. It felt like a cheap loss for me every time.
Outside of Extreme VS mode, there is VS Extend and Ad-Hoc multiplayer. VS Extend offers different courses in an arcade mode similar to traditional fighting games. Missions are similar to those found in the story, but instead randomly feature the different mobile suits. Each successive course is longer and more difficult than the previous, featuring all the mobile suits in the game. Ad-Hoc multiplayer is local team battles against other players, but is difficult to get started if you don’t have friends that also own the game on PlayStation Vita. No online multiplayer is a huge missed opportunity.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force is a game strictly for die-hard Gundam fans willing to look pass its glaring issues. Anyone without a vast knowledge of the Gundam anime won’t have much enthusiasm seeing all of the mobile suits fighting each other. With multiplayer being limited to local ad-hoc matches, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force is primarily a single player game. A mediocre story and unbalanced fighting prevent this new Gundam game from being a solid recommendation for any PlayStation Vita owner.
This review is based on a digital review copy of Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS-Force for the PlayStation Vita provided by Bandai Namco.