We tried. We really, really tried to get to grips with the notion of these sorts of games being massively popular in Japan, where this one, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, is called Gundam Musou 2 %26ndash; loads sexier. It%26rsquo;s based on an anime series featuring androgynous pilots fighting each other and accidentally dying/falling in love/wearing sunglasses in space. In theory, it should be the best thing you%26rsquo;ll ever slip into your console. That theory was last seen trapped in a single plane of repetitive movement in deep space.
Stylistically then, Gundam 2 can%26rsquo;t fail to grab you. If you%26rsquo;ve ever watched classic %26lsquo;80s cartoons %26ndash; this will appeal. Overblown mechs in space (and sometimes on arid planets), kicking one another right in the ball bearings, all presented in lovely clashing colours in a vision of space which lends a pleasant purple glow to everything.
If you play videogames %26ndash; chances are the prospect of intergalactic war and mechs will be close to irresistible. Technically it%26rsquo;s no Metal Gear Solid 4 or Killzone 2, but it has its own charm. There%26rsquo;s no question it%26rsquo;s packed with options %26ndash; or at least lots of submenus %26ndash; but the actual gameplay, the bit that sees you pressing buttons (so, so many buttons), doesn%26rsquo;t change one bit.
There%26rsquo;s no subtlety to it. It%26rsquo;s not simply that you can rely on a single button to get you through the missions; it%26rsquo;s that it makes little difference when you press it, how you press it, or indeed why you press it. What generally happens is this: you jump into a smart space suit (unless you%26rsquo;re Char, who pilots his mech in what looks like Napoleonic uniform) then strap yourself into a smart mech and then jet out into the middle of a teeming mass of incredibly stupid enemy mechs and robots. The sheer quantity of them on screen at any one time is impressive. It%26rsquo;s as though you%26rsquo;re up against a futuristic Terracotta Army, for all the threat they possess as you calmly jet among them.
This means the plan of attack varies not a jot from mission to mission. You boost straight into the center of a cluster of enemies (the boost bar has been extended from the first game%26rsquo;s). Send enough of them flying to fill up your special move bar and then unleash a flurry of unholy metallic fury.
There are seven options in Mission mode, though if you can differentiate between each without being aware of its name you are obviously a greater Gundam aficionado than we are. Story mode lets you choose a single pilot and play through events in his story by mashing like a madman. The new Friendship mode works by, what else, smashing robots; while Free mode lets you swat as many mechs as you like, but it%26rsquo;s just more of the same - hammer attack buttons; repeat over and over.
Apr 21, 2009