When I first heard of Dynasty Warriors Gundam, I thought I had misheard the title. When I think of Dynasty Warriors, I think of people with swords fighting in ancient lands. Adding mechs to the scenery seemed anachronistic, but now that I've had the chance to spend some time with the newest addition to the franchise, it makes a lot of sense.
Instead of controlling a general, players can choose from a handful of pilots each with their own pros and cons in different stats like defense (armor) and shot (attack). I usually jump into game without reading its manual since most games come with lengthy tutorials so it was refreshing to see Dynasty Warriors Gundam dive straight into the action. Sure, I was lost for a few minutes, but after I browsed through the manual and figured out what button did what, I was on my way to demolishing waves of flying tin cans.
The game progresses through different missions. Each mission is made up of a main objective such as landing safely on Earth. The main objectives are then broken down into smaller objectives, such as secure airspace in order to ensure a safe landing, that need to be accomplished under a time limit (don't worry, they give you plenty of time) in order to reach the main objective.
Securing areas are the key to winning most missions. The battlefield is divided into areas called fields. In a map on the top left, players can easily see which fields are friendly (blue) and which ones are under the enemy's control (red). Players can then secure an enemy field by moving to it and beating the crap out of enemies in there until the Field Vitality meter (I like to think of it as the field's HP) reaches zero. In a special type of field, called a Strategic Field, Guards may appear, which are stronger than the peon enemies that litter the battlefield. Only by destroying the guards can a player secure the field.
In addition to securing fields, players must also make sure the mission objectives are met. Some missions will be automatically lost if an ally falls in battle, so coming to the rescue of allies who call for help is a good idea.
During my first couple of minutes in battle, I was just button mashing. It seemed to do an okay job, but I eventually found that button mashing isn't as effective as unleashing combos and special attacks which can be used once the special attack meter has been filled up. There's also a long range attack, but the lack of cross hair makes it useless unless the enemy is right up 'in your flavor' as they say and by that time why not just use a melee attack?
Hacking and slashing through hoards of enemies is satisfying and all especially with the fancy graphical flares, but one thing that annoyed me to no end during fights was the camera. The camera is free, which is good because I can control it with the right thumb-stick, but it's awkward trying to control the camera while moving and attacking since I only have two thumbs. There's also no option to reverse the camera so I always end up looking right when I'm trying to look left.
Despite the camera annoyances, Dynasty Warriors Gundam scratches the urge I have to destroy expensive heavy machinery. The first couple of missions didn't play too differently from each other and it's nice that they threw in a few enemy boss Gundams to spice things up, but hopefully the rest of the missions vary a bit more to keep things moving at an interesting pace.