Well, to start things off, you should be aware of some things, since NEW GUNDAM BREAKER brought so much mixed feelings and confusion to me.
Heads up: things will be bluntly said on this text.
I’m a HUGE Gundam fan, and that probably would’ve compromised this text. So, having this in mind, I’ve divided this text in two parts: The 100% impartial for non-Gundam fans and a brief, yet 100% biased, for Gundam fans
FOR NON-GUNDAM FANS.
What a… strange game.
Based on the popular hobby in Japan, NEW GUNDAM BREAKER is about building the Gunpla (Gundam Plastic or something like that) and pitting them against other gunplas so you can break them and get their parts. Feels familiar? Good.
It sure is beautiful, with some nice, well-polished graphics. The light effects – which you can get a grasp on the well design stages – are awesome, and some of the soundtrack is well arranged… but, wow. What a strange game. Let’s start by actually measuring how much strange this game is. Everything felt so off on it that for some moments it was possible to swear that NEW GUNDAM BREAKER was a fan-made translation that Bandai Namco actually took for themselves and said: “hey, this could be fun”. The menus, and how the game is organized, the whole UI and atmosphere seem so out of place that anybody can think this game has a whole strange, funky and amateur vibe on it. The amateur feel keeps getting stronger when you access the single player mode, with a skippable Japanese high school story showed to us like a visual novel with a forgettable cast full of crazy dudes and waifu-material standard anime girls with some branching paths that opens more and more gunpla parts. Completely useless and shallow as hell, but keeps you distracted for some time.
But that shouldn’t be reason enough to keep you away from the game, right?
Yeah. That shouldn’t because that isn’t why you’re going to keep away from this game.
There are some kinds of game: ye ole deathmatch, points and yaddayadda. But, the nicest mode – and the craziest one – is the G-Cube (the one you play on the scenario/single player mode): the teams (3-on-3) battle against each other in a war of strange objectives, such as “Destroy a specific Gundam model X times” or ”Open a given number of containers on the map” or “locate the key part”. Each of these objectives awards you with a specific amount of points and, the team with more points wins the match. Although repetitive, it has a huge amount of strategy on it and forces you to think a little bit on how o approach the battle. That’d be perfectly fine, if it wasn’t for a simple detail.
The gameplay is… argh. How to define it without offending?
The controls are clunky and, even if you attain high levels on how responsive your Gunpla is (believe, THERE IS AN ATTRIBUTE FOR THAT). The camera is funny, to say the least, and every time you’re given the impression that every bit of action ISN’T controlled by you. Remember the dog in the lab meme? That’s it. It’s easy to get lost when almost 20 gunplas are wrecking each other and the choppy and terrible – oh, so terrible – framerate, which is the biggest problem in this game, suffers to delivers all the action smoothly. Problems apart, the amount of customization options is ridiculous. With over 500 different Gundam parts (not including the optional parts that work as accessories on RPGs), you can basically build whatever you fashion. Coloring your gunplay is simply amazing, with different visual textures, types of paint and even gives you the possibility to add emblems to your gunplas and changing color to specific parts. If you ever had a garage kit, model or anything of sorts, you’re going to feel at home.
FOR GUNDAM FANS
MY. GOD. IT’S GUNDAM BONANZA!! Seriously? Over a HUNDRED AND TWENTY DIFFERENT MOBILE SUITS AND THE POSSIBILITY TO BUILD THEM WHATEVER WAY YOU WANT? HOLY CRAP!
WANNA FUSE WING, WITH V AND A ZEKE HEAD? YOU GOT IT!
DEATHSCYTHE’S WINGS IN A ZETA GUNDAM? STRANGE, BUT YOU GOT IT!
UNICORN’S HEAD IN A TALLGEESE USING V’S LASER FAN – I MEAN, LIGHT SABER? KEEP AWAY FROM THIS HOBBY PLEASE – BUT YEAH, YOU CAN!
Seriously, though. This game is a big fan service-flavored pie for Gundam fans. There are references, easter eggs and cameos EVERYWHERE. And this is such a nice thing that, even knowing that the game isn’t very good, I still insisted on playing. Tears of both joy and anger were rolling on my cheeks as I hacked and slashed my way through dozens of gunplas using special attacks that are direct references to the series (smiling about that), while simultaneously cursing the game for its terrible framerate and stuttering. And yet, I was tempted to give it another shot. And another shot, and another shot…
But, if you’re into Gunplas, here’s heaven for you. The attention to small, yet crucial, details is so nice. It really gives the impression of a digital version of the gunpla hobby, like the main menu being a workshop, full of paint bottles, tools and magazines.
Well. Mixed feelings. Frankly, this isn’t a well-tailored game. There are so many problems that they completely ruin the experience for any kind of newcomer to Gundam series. But NEW GUNDAM BREAKER, at the same time, isn’t that much for new fans. It’s clearly a (sloppy, but still) nice way deliver a somehow good-looking fan service, with lots and lots of customizing options, parts and gunplas. If you are into Gundam or the gunpla hobby, you’re in for the mobile suited treat of your life. If you’re not, just ignore it.
AUDIOVISUAL: 8 / 10
NARRATIVE: 4 / 10
MECHANIC: 5 /10