Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Xbox 360 Review

One thing you can say about Koei, they really know how to milk a franchise, I’ve lost track of how many Dynasty Warriors games they’ve put out in the last year or two. The main problem with this is that there is very little difference between them all, the Empires games offered strategic elements, and Warriors Orochi tried to add a couple of twists to the gameplay, but ultimately there was very little to differentiate one from the other. Now they’ve teamed up with Namco/Bandai to try and throw a new twist on a tired formula by basing it all around their popular anime property, Gundam, but does it make enough of a difference to warrant a purchase?

Big in Japan

Well you can certainly see where they were coming from with this conglomeration, both Dynasty Warriors and Gundam are hot properties back in their homeland, combining the two has to be a sure thing, right? Well, maybe in Japan it is, but over here in the west they have more of a niche following, so there is definitely a market there for this game, but it’s not going to top any charts or anything. But, let’s say you have no knowledge of the anime, how does the game stand up on it’s own strengths? Well sadly it’s a case of; been there, done that. If you’ve played a Dynasty Warriors game before you’ll find it all very familiar, the only real difference is instead of fighting armies of samurai you’re now fighting armies of giant robots. They have changed the game’s format a little now. The single player is split into two modes, Official and Original, if you’re a fan of the anime you’ll know one follows the original series, whilst the other one is based around an alternate reality. Each of the modes can be played as three different characters, all with their own storyline and different missions, so there’s quite a bit of gameplay here if you can stomach playing the same game again. I have no idea how closely the game’s storylines stick to it’s source material, but they really did miss out on the opportunity to add cut scenes direct from the anime, instead they just use character models in bubbles, badly animated at that too, to tell the story. Considering this is a completely next-gen instalment to the franchise, being available on Xbox 360 and PS3 only, they really could’ve spruced it up a bit like that, instead what you get still looks like a PS2 game.

Hard as Nails

One thing that has definitely been changed from past Dynasty Warriors games is the difficulty level, and not in a good way, previously it’s been quite easy to breeze through the game on the easiest setting. But now the easiest setting is going to pose a challenge for even experienced Dynasty Warriors veterans, it’s not so much that everything is harder all round, because it isn’t, there are just some incredibly unfair boss battles. It is extremely frustrating to work your way to the end of a mission and then be faced by a boss with regenerating health when there aren’t any health pick ups anywhere to be seen. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there was any sort of mid mission save option, but there isn’t, I came so close to throwing my controller through the TV screen on more than one occasion, a point no game has ever frustrated me to until now. I’d even go as far as to say that some of these boss battles are actually impossible, I’m sure there’s some people out there who may be able to beat them, but these people were probably playing Dynasty Warriors in the womb, for your average gamer they are just annoying as hell. It just seems stupid to me for them to try and increase the appeal of the game by basing it on something like an anime, then increase the difficulty to the point that only the most hardened gamers can get the most out of it. Maybe it’s just me, maybe after thirty years of playing video games my reflexes have been dulled to the point of making me completely hopeless, but I don’t think so.

Head to Head

Something that is different to recent Dynasty Warriors games is the inclusion of a versus mode, the usual co-op mode is still present, but you also get to play against your friends as well as with them. You get three different game types in versus mode, your standard mode is just a simple one on one, pick your character and Gundam and go kick the crap out of each other. The other types involve your robotic minions, in one you actually fight each other and your armies, in the other you are each in a separate zone and the first to clear enough of the opposing minions wins. None of the game types are particularly inspiring, it might have been a better idea to stick with just the co-op mode, as that’s more fun than the versus mode, and it makes the single player game at least bearable playing it with a friend. Maybe if they’d made the versus mode online and made it more than a simple one on one, throwing several Gundam in to the arena to compete, it would have been worthwhile. As it is, it’s just a diversion from the single player, one that you may be happy to take considering the frustration the single player will give you, but to be honest this isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for long.

Only for Fans

There is a serious lesson to be learnt here, and that is how to make a mediocre game worse, I’m sure they were very well intentioned whilst making the game, but all the changes they’ve made have not improved anything, and have made several things worse. If you’re a fan of Gundam then there’s some appeal for you, but unless you are a pretty hardcore Dynasty Warriors fan too you’re more likely to find this game infuriating rather than fun. Everyone else should leave this well alone.

You’d have to be an obsessive fan to want this game.

4.3 out of 10