REVIEW: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3
Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 5:23PM
Ernie in dynasty warriors gundam 3, giveaway, koei, namco bandai games, ps3, reviews, xbox360

The Gundam series of anime was not one of the first stepping stones down my path of otaku, but it was one of the largest. It was a boon for housing many of the things I love: giant robots, high technology, futuristic weapons, outer space, and in some scenarios, powerful characters and a strong story. It's only logical that I would be drawn to a title that plays out the Gundam universe, be it skinned over Dynasty Warriors or otherwise. After enjoying the first entry in the series and skipping the second, does Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 have enough Minovsky particles to keep my interest bolstered?

Bonus: Win a copy of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 for PlayStation 3! Details below!

By default, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 starts you in a campaign mode where mobile suits and pilots across every imaginable Gundam universe come together under mysterious circumstances. Nothing is as you would expect, as you may find yourself working with classic enemies, battling against old allies, and maneuvering mobile suits with a pilot who existed in the timeline hundreds of years before his Gundanium alloy clad titan.

It's Dynasty Warriors, what are you expecting? You have a button for melee and one for a ranged shot. Follow any amount of melee attacks by a ranged attack and you'll punctuate your nifty little combo in style. If you really want to get wild, you can perform an entirely different combo by dashing before mashing your melee and ranged attacks. This is the game at its core. You slash through waves of classic fodder suits such as Zaku II, Geara Doga, and the always creepy Death Army. Seriously, what is with that single, soulless eye? In typical Musou fashion, your primary - and oft times only - objective is to secure fields from enemy control, coax out the enemy boss, and slash 'em 'til their limbs fall off.

As you cleave and blast your way through the unworthy masses, you build up both your special meter and partner meter, and when either is filled you can unleash a special attack. Each mobile suit has two special attacks; one performed on ground and one performed in air, and each increase in strength if you happen to be low on health. Partners are chosen before each sortie, from the wall of unlocked pilots available to you, and boy are there a lot. Different partners have different effects, some more useful than others. Don't expect a Ball to have the same effectiveness as Four Murasame in her Psycho Gundam.

For a DW spin-off, there are tons of things happening in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3. During missions you acquire various mobile suit plans which can be taken back to your lab and developed with the cash earned after each completed sortie. Different plans have different strengths and slots to allocate upgrades, and with four customization templates for each mobile suit, you can technically build hundreds of mecha to different specifications. Unfortunately, these changes do not affect your suits appearance, but it's still a nice option for those who add the extra tactical thought into an otherwise straightforward hack-and-slash.

If you somehow manage to complete each single player segment with every pilot, you really need to get out of the house more often. But if being social is not for you, try taking your beam sabers online to cooperatively cross swords alongside three other human players. These online challenges seem impossible to pull off alone, so don't plan on running out there by yourself, unless you can control three other mobile suits with your blossoming Newtype skills. Multiplayer should only be played by completionists and those who really want to beef up their MS and pilot skills, as it seems online is more generous with its cash-upon-completion than the single player modes. Being frank, you will not find a robust online community playing DW: Gundam 3, so it will take some searching and/or waiting until you're in a suitable four player game.

Art Design
The third installment has departed from the style of its predecessors by using cel-shaded models, which compliment the source material perfectly. While the art style of the past lent to the realism of the mobile suits, the game is based on an anime, so why not present it as such? This looks especially lovely during the cut scenes, which makes me wonder why the series didn't explore this style sooner. I know plenty of people who malign cel-shading for whatever reason, but in certain instances - such as this - it just works.

Sound Design
I can never understand these Musou spin-offs. A library as expansive as Gundam is full of excellent music ranging from 70s enka to 90s pop. For all of the series held within this game, there must be hundreds of official BGMs to lend both credibility and nostalgia to each scenario, yet Koei has continued to neglect music licensing. It may sound like a minor nitpick, but I loved the music from most every classic Gundam series I've watched. It would be awesome to hear Amuro's theme as he descends onto the battlefield, or something of the sort. I had the same problem with Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage, but I guess I'm the only one who's bothered by this.

Though they're never groundbreaking or overly impressive, the Dynasty Warriors games always bank. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 is more of the same. Nothing to rave over, but it's solid Musou action that appeals to a second niche in Gundam fans. Mobile suit enthusiasts will find much to enjoy in the bountiful amount of missions and custom-built machines. I wish some of the less mainstream side stories and pilots had found their way into this one, but alas, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed they expand onto other series (and add licensed music) come Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 4. With plenty of options and a deep and continually expanding history, this may be one of the best Musou games to date.

Buy it: if you're a fan of either Dynasty Warriors or Gundam
Don't buy it: if you lose interest in games easily
The Score: 6 outta 10 Blasters!

The lovely folks at Namco Bandai have given us a PlayStation 3 copy of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 that we're just dying to give away. Do you want some of this beam saber swinging, mobile suit collecting action? Entry is simple! Just leave a comment below. You can tell us what your favorite Gundam series is, which Musou game you enjoyed most, or just say "I want free shit." Please include your email address (how else will you know if you won?) and note you can only enter once per email address! The winner will be chosen at random in one weeks time, on Friday August 5. Good luck!

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