New Gundam Breaker is a game with some issues. When I first started the game, for example, it decided to just… not accept controller inputs when I was trying to go through the user agreement. I wish I could properly cancel moves, defend or dodge while in the middle of a battling barrage. I can not wait for the update the fixes the camera, which sometimes has me suddenly shoved into an opposing, giant Gundam’s leg. But while there is a lot in need of patches, there is one element that is good to go. The New Gundam Breaker story can be quite fun.
There is pattern to New Gundam Breaker’s campaign. You choose an episode. It begins with a story segment that sets up the world and catches you up with current events. Inevitably, you end up in some sort of fight against other builders’ models. Once you complete the extended battle and get your results, you are treated to a slightly smaller story segment. It then takes you back to the hub, where you can tweak your Gunpla with parts acquired in the last match, decorate it and choose whether to return to the campaign or take part in stand-alone battles. This division not only makes it seem like we are watching an anime set in a high school, but might give people motivation to fight through New Gundam Breaker’s battles.
This is because New Gundam Breaker’s story is one where we can make a difference in a world where there is a distinct lack of justice. Our avatar is a young man named Kyosuke. He is so good at Gunpla battling and building, he was able to transfer to Gunbre High School. This is an academy created by the city and designed to make the best and brightest battlers. Except, it is currently a horrible place to attend. As third year Yui explains, students named Yuki Shina and Daisuke Sena challenged the Student Council, which she was on, to a Gunpla Battle and completely wiped the floor with them. They then ran to become the next generation of the Student Council, with only Ryoko remaining from the original government. A “might makes right” approach was adopted and a school-wide ranking system instituted. This kept the strong in charge and powerful, with anyone not at the very top forced to obey those few elite and not getting any financial or part support from the school.
It is a kind of conflict common in many fictional and actual histories. But in New Gundam Breaker, players have the power to do something about it. They are Yui’s childhood friend and, not long after transferring to Gunbre, join her on a team that acts as a resistance. Even though it is against the rules to fight back, Kyosuke and his team does. They use the deserted fan club for the 08th Club as a base and rally. (Which is fitting, seeing as how the 08th MS Team found itself in Zeon-held territory in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team.) Our avatar and his team are the underdogs and fighting the good fight against a corrupt government that is abusing the people it should serve. We have a chance to bring justice to this world, which can be satisfying.
It is also great, because New Gundam Breaker plays up the fact that this is a game for people who love gunpla and breaks from the serious story with some levity. The heroines you meet will talk about their favorite Gundam series and the models they like best. They reference moments from various shows. Like when Kyosuke, Yui, Iori and Marika first found their resistance to the Student Council, Yui says she says she’ll call her plan “Operation Star One.” It is a reference to the One Year War’s last battle from Mobile Suit Gundam. Marika reminds her that Zabi used the Solar Ray to wipe out a third of the Earth Federation Forces, which makes Yui ditch the name and say she will name it later. We also have moments where character quirks shine through and people get silly. Not to mention, there are enemies like Shogo that are bullies with funny reactions when they are finally toppled.
Some games have growing pains, ones that may either take time to work out or could never be resolved. New Gundam Breaker is one that might be better to revisit around August 2018. But the one thing that is more than fine right now is the visual novel. The story has some interesting moments and worthwhile characters. It deals with inequality and a fight to restore a more fair order. It even knows when to tap into nostalgia and Gundam lore.
New Gundam Breaker is now available for the PlayStation 4. It will come to the PC in Summer 2018.