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Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire - hands-on

On paper, it's a recipe for hotness: take a bunch of photorealistic giant robots, arm them with laser swords, huge axes and big guns, and let them bash each other to pieces on big, open battlefields. Somehow, though, what we've seen so far of Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire falls short of being awesome.

To be fair, though, we haven't seen very much of it. Adapting Japan's best-loved giant-robot anime series, Gundam will tell the story of a war between Earth and its space colonists, who've decided they want to take over the planet. In the game's single-player campaign mode, you'll be able to pick a side, which affects the story, your missions and which of the "mobile suits" you get to drive.

Series fans can be forgiven for not wanting to drive one of the colonists' one-eyed Zakus - those things get mowed down like stormtroopers, after all. But each side's mechs have their own strengths, and the Zakus' seems to be that they're a little tougher than their Earth counterparts. They've also got these big nasty spiky things on their shoulders, which we're told players will be able to use as weapons later on.

Meanwhile, the Earth side starts off in the skinner, more attractive GM, which can use a riot shield and a laser sword for ultra-effectiveness at close range. Playing on Earth's side is also the only way you'll eventually get to drive the series' gleaming namesake, the super-powerful Gundam.

 We're told that, when it's finished, Gundam will be a deep, strategic game that enables you to command your own squads of upgradeable mechs as you go toe-to-toe with the opposing army. However, what we played during the Tokyo Game Show felt like a slow, average third-person shooter. While stomping through watery jungles and desert canyons, we continually ran into little enemy choppers, tanks and other giant robots, which were easy to destroy just by locking on with our massive rifle and riddling them with bullets.

For even easier kills, we were able to zoom in close with a sniper scope and open up with well-aimed volleys from miles away. We had a little more fun whipping out our Gundam's laser sword, using its jetpack to rocket up close to our enemies and tearing them apart with a few clumsy slashes.

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