Thursday, January 13, 2011
Giant Robot On: Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2
So, lately, I've been playing this. Like, a lot. I am an avid fan of the Warriors franchise and have been for some time because when you get right down to it, sometimes you're just in the mood to cause carnage on a wide scale. Few games manage to do that while still giving you character variety like the Warriors games do.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam (referred to as DWG from here on out) is a bit of a weird one for me, however. I loved Gundam growing up, but never really saw that much. I saw a good bit of Gundam Wing (as anyone who was 13 when Toonami was around did) and I partook of a few other series installments, but never more than bite-sizes, something I've long sought to rectify but never really got around to.
It's a bit weird, playing it right after finishing a mini-marathon of the first DWG. A lot of things are changed; some for the better, some, I'm kind of iffy on. I don't want to say the combat in DWG was 'restrictive' or that it wasn't unique, character to character, because it wasn't and it was (respectively), but every character, even if they sucked (See: The O) could fall back on the Charge-Dash combo. You attack, do a charge attack, and interrupt with a dash that does damage, on top of allowing three hits and a shot. In DWG2, this is changed a bit; it's executed the same, but every final shot is a charge now. Which, on one hand, allows for chaining of this combo, but on the other hand, slightly wrecks the flow created by the first game. It's disorienting, to say the least, and some of the charge attacks simply aren't worth it. (See: Gundam Mark II. Yes, that's an impressive bazooka, but not when you have to lug it out, boy-o.)
Another big difference being the, essentially, two story modes in DWG. Every character that you could play, got an Original Mode story. Only a select few were eligible for an Official Mode, which pulled right from their respective series. Among them: Amuro Ray, Char Aznable, Judau Ashta, Kamille Bidan, Haman Karn, and Paptimus Scirocco. Only three of those were available from the start, with the remaining three as unlocks. A couple of them were also, in fact, fairly short, consisting of only two or three missions. In contrast, DWG2 also only features six official modes, but two of them are simply Amuro Ray and Char Aznable versions of Char's Counterattack which is all of two missions. However, the four remaining Official modes were roughly the same in length; each of them being as long as the longest in DWG (from what I remember)
So, that part is mostly a wash. What's less approachable for me at this point, however, is DWG2's lack of Original Mode, featuring, instead, "Mission Mode" which I have admittedly not gone too deep into. At first, I didn't think it would be quite an adequate replacement; but the inclusion of (to my reckoning) around two dozen more robots to pilot quelled any qualms I had with it. And even after a cursory go with it, I'm not prepared to write it off yet, as the 'story' missions do seem to be catered specifically to the characters. My only complaint is that it seems set up poorly for what is essentially another storyline, if that's their intent. Especially since there's five(?) categories of missions; it's easy to move on to the more Simulation-like ones (dealing with Pilot friendships and with parts and the acquiring/upgrading thereof) or simply move on to another character because you don't quite grasp how to unlock your story missions. (Hint: Check the terminal for messages).
What you end up is one of those situations where there's a really strong pull to both titles, which, at its core, simply says that both games are fairly good. And they are, provided you're into this sort of thing. I just hope DWG3 takes the short-comings of both games (DWGs: lack of a great number of Gundams/Pilots, DWG2s: lack of properly copying DWG1, still missing Gundams/Pilots) and improves on them, along with all the rest of the good things they're doing. (Namely, Online Co-Op and a very, very nice art style that likens it more to the series of which the games are based, rather than the style they've had for the first two, which wasn't bad either.)
I don't believe I've finished with DWG2, as I've said, so I can't offer a full verdict, but I hope when I'm ready that I can call it, more or less, a complete improvement over the first. Because it's honestly close, they just really need to convince me with Mission Mode. So we'll see!
After spending a good portion of the day on Heero's Mission Mode, I am prepared to say that Mission Mode adds a depth to the game that I couldn't even consider it would. A few hours today, and I didn't even play one story mission; I simply went through all sorts of Free, License and Friendship missions. While a storyline in all of it is paper-thin at best, I've got a few friends, I joined a faction (The Titans, which, initially, I was like "Ew, Scirocco" but then I remembered that Kamille is part of the AUEG, so it means I get so smash him a lot. This is good.