First-person shooters might thrust gamers into the thick of gaming action, but there is nothing quite like suiting up in a guise of majestic mecha and rushing towards hundreds of mechanised warriors with a giant, gleaming sword in your hands.
Based on the hugely popular Dynasty Warriors franchise, which sees lone characters fending off hordes of approaching enemies with giant spears and swords, this Gundam spin-off is actually the fourth in the series and one of the most fun in the entire franchise.
It likely has to do with the lack of under-clothed females and over-the- top heroes in the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, from which Dynasty Warriors borrows.
Instead, the title mines the rich Gundam anime and manga universe to allow gamers to pilot over 100 suits of the iconic giant robot.
It is filled with cutscenes modelled after the classic cartoons. Players can explore the genesis of the famed Mobile Suit Gundam from the original or suit up in a more modern iteration from the newer Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series.
I am no expert on everything Gundam, but there was little difficulty in getting wrapped up in the game, of fighting foes on the ground or in deep space, and finding plans and materials to upgrade my mobile suit.
The design of each different mecha is not just cosmetic though, as each robot has different abilities and weapons, even if each weapon is a variant of a giant sword backed by shoulder cannons.
While the series does tend to shift into the monotony of hacking and slashing a steady swathe of robot enemies, the game is anything but repetitive.
Each level has several objectives for players and these are only revealed at checkpoints.
So rather than simply moving ahead and cutting your way through deep space, you can be made to double back to assist your mecha-in-arms.
Failure to do so can mean the end of the level, even if you are at full health and ready to press on.
While each mecha is intricately rendered, the same cannot be said of the background. Space is denoted by simple darkness and giant spaceships look less detailed than a random sketch.
And the nature of the game, of fighting on a 2-D geometric plane, means that players cannot take advantage of the space environment, to fly under or over the enemy, to spring a surprise attack.
Instead, players can only move left, right, front and back.
All the exciting action from space battles is left to the cutscenes, which come on when a level is successfully completed.
$69.90 (PlayStation 3; version tested)
This article was published on Aug 20 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.
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