SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays has been released outside of Japan and, well, it is something of an event. While we have seen Gundam games localized, this strategic series hasn’t been given the sort of attention it deserves. The PC worldwide debut is an opportunity to experience something new to us and, while it might not always look like the Gundam game you’d expect, it captures the right sort of feeling.
The first thing to know about SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays is that it packs a lot of Gundam into it. When you head into the Story Mode for the first time and pick your starting series, familiar ones immediately greet you. You could go with Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Gundam Wing Dual Story: G-Unit, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Astray, Gundam SEED X Astray, Gundam SEED Destiny, Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Gundam 00F, Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, and Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Gekko. No Universal Century series appear in this installment, however, which could disappoint longtime fans.
Picking one takes you into battles that live out important moments in different series, only with you able to bring in characters and suits from different ones to assist with assaults. Gameplay is a standard, turn-based affair on a grid, though you do have unique features like the ability to Move All of a group’s units and have them all attack enemies around them when they stop.
Summarizing different series with the pilots and suits you remember is only one way in which SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays tries to capture the essence of different series. It also attempts to replicate the life-or-death, dramatic situations you’d expect from something related to Gundam. SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays makes you value your mobile suits. The pilots you pop into them will be fine after battles. Considering how things and stories go in the campaign, it would be awkward if they didn’t survive. But your mechs could be permanently destroyed, which lends a sense of severity to situations. It also means you want to pay attention to Capture situations when more mobile suits are deployed by a foe or the “GET” bar when defeating certain suits in the field, as you want to try and bolster your ranks with both options.
But the flare for dramatic doesn’t only apply to the danger that could come from losing your units if you are careless. The Tension system also plays a big part. As you do things like defeat enemies, a pilot’s Tension will raise in a fight. The rate at which this bar increases can be influenced by a character’s personality type. Once you get High Tension, all of your unit’s attacks will be critical hits and gives you access to certain special attacks. (There is even a Super High Tension option, which deals even more damage and could mean even more exclusive attacks.) Combine that with the innate ability to get to act again up to two times in one turn if you defeat the enemy you are facing, and it can feel like an episode in a series where a pilot gets into this zone and starts tearing through opponents.
SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays attempts to give people an opportunity to experience a lot of Gundam-related experiences at once. While it doesn’t have all the series and experiences you might anticipate, it covers a lot of ground to try and provide the atmosphere you expect. It also tries to provide a sense of excitement, with a tension system that can make characters and their suits feel more powerful and the fear that your mistakes could result in losing a mobile suit permanently. It can help lend more emotional weight to a tactical game already filled with lots of menus and plenty of concepts to learn.
SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays is available for the PC worldwide. It can also be found on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in Japan.