I love reruns. Who doesn’t? Next to first-time
experiences, there’s nothing better than re-playing your favorite game or
re-watching your favorite film or TV show.
There are times, however, when reruns don’t work.
We all know the moment: a new game is released, we take it home, tear off the
plastic, and pop it into the console. We pick up the controller, start to play
through the first few levels and start to wonder, “Did I put in the wrong disc?” We pick up the game box and read the text. “There’s a ‘2’ in the title. It’s got
to be the sequel.” We eject the disc and discover that it has a ‘2’ written on
the front as well. “Hmmm. Maybe they put the wrong game on the disc.”
After wondering what went wrong, the truth is
slowly revealed: this isn’t a rerun. It’s a rehash. The difference between the
two, of course, is that the former is already in your possession and can be
enjoyed whenever you please. The latter is packaged as a sequel and must be
purchased at full game price. By now, Dynasty Warriors fans have come to expect
that. The core games – those outside of the Gundam spin-off – haven’t evolved in
years. But with Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, the developers had finally taken a few
steps forward, starting with smoother controls, an improved frame rate, and
vastly superior enemy content (more enemies were crammed onto the screen than
ever before). Thus, it was only natural that we’d assume – or at the very least
hope – that DW: Gundam 2 would buck the rehash trend of its non-Gundam
predecessors and continue down the evolutionary path.
If more of the same is what you’re seeking,
Gundam 2 isn’t likely to disappoint. There aren’t any technical or gameplay
advancements, just a new set of battles that closely resemble those of the first
The mobile suit content seems to be about the
same as the first DW: Gundam. Two years later, that isn’t too impressive,
especially when other games have already pushed character integrations to their
limits. But the model details are still amusing, if not downright eye-catching,
and the attacks are still represented with anime-quality animations. It’s about
what you’d expect the Gundam series to look like in a 3D world, occasionally
surpassing the effects of Gundam’s other 3D outings.
Once again, battle engagements revolve around the
relentless hacking and slashing of nearby combatants. Dozens are dropped into
each area, and unlike the non-Gundam DW releases, these baddies aren’t ruined by
a lack of complexity or coherency. Not to say that these guys are smart – you
can launch a direct attack and they’ll very rarely know how to deal with it.
(That’s probably because there isn’t much they can do except take the hit and
hope they don’t die.) But the enemies won’t just stand there and wait to die –
they’ll launch a few attacks of their own, hoping that the whole “strength in
numbers” theory proves to be true. Boy, I sure hope they haven’t seen the movie
SP attacks (AKA those that are “special”) is
another returning feature. And just as before, it’s a superior, albeit limited,
attack that can give you a fighting edge when you need it most. Normal and
charge attacks, as well as the quick-moving boost feature, are also present in
Official Mode, the primary game type within DW:
Gundam 2, is not that different from the story-based content of the first game.
Choose a character from the original Gundam saga, read (and listen) to a few
story tidbits, and enter the battlefield for hours of button-mashing carnage.
Mission Mode provides another opportunity for
proving your hack-n-slash supremacy. As you can imagine, it involves a series of
individual missions and mission types (such as the collection of items). If you
want to battle with a friend, Versus mode lets you do that offline. If that’s
not enough – and it rarely is for gamers these days – the Dynasty Warriors
series has finally upped the ante by including an online mode where up to four
can compete simultaneously. It’s not an exquisite inclusion by any means, but
for DW fans that have been craving this sort of development, this gives them a
reason to play the Gundam sequel – even if the many rehashed elements turned
DW: Gundam 2 follows in the footsteps of the
other Dynasty Warriors games. It’s a sequel that is unavoidably more of the
same. You won’t find any significant gameplay changes or advancements. If you
enjoyed the last game – and have not yet had your share of the DW gameplay style
– this is worth renting. However, if you invested several hours in the first
release, and several additional hours in DW’s other iterations (offshoots
included), DW: Gundam 2 is somewhat of a drag. You’ll have fun for the first few
missions and spend the rest of the game wondering, “Is this it? All of
Review Scoring Details for
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2
Have you played any of the non-Gundam Dynasty Warriors games? This one is
just like them, minus the frame rate issues of the PS2 releases. And if you’ve
played the first DW: Gundam, this is essentially the same game all over again.
Still a good-looking game, but the improvements are minor and hard to spot.
The music is a little better this time around, but the voice-overs aren’t
too impressive. This game was another missed opportunity to improve upon and
evolve the many Gundam storylines.
Returning Dynasty Warriors players won’t be challenged by this offering.
Just like the first game: it’s Dynasty Warriors with Gundam characters. The
only difference now is that the merging of these two properties is no longer
An improvement over the last game but not by much.
Few button-mashing, kill-every-enemy-in-sight video games (typically known
as brawlers or beat-‘em-ups) have lasted as long as the Dynasty Warriors series.
DW: Gundam 2 isn’t the game-changing sequel it should have been, nor is it as
big of a step forward as the first DW: Gundam was two years ago.