Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On
Developer: VSTG Project
Release Date: July 30, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: Bandai Namco
It took me a while to get used to the unique fighting systems found in the Gundam Versus series, but after many matches, I’ve boiled it down to a four-button fighter, with a few added techniques. With the console release of Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On, I think the series has really found a decent balance in terms of gameplay mechanics and single-player offerings. However, the learning curve that we’ve all gone through is still present, which may make it overwhelming for newcomers.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On returns with dedicated 2v2 modes and a large roster of playable Gundams. Each Gundam is assigned a point value that reflects its power level in battle. However, there’s a catch since teams have a pool of 6,000 points that decrease each time your Gundam is destroyed. So if both team members have 3,000 point Gundams, they aren’t really allowed to make mistakes. Luckily, most Gundams are capable of holding their own in a battle, no matter their level, which makes matches more about skill.
What becomes the most difficult choice is choosing your favorite Gundam, and with a roster of over 180 models available, it’s not easy. I spent my first 3 hours playing around with various models until I discovered that I really enjoyed the maneuverability and loadout of Heavyarms Custom from Gundam W Endless Waltz. However, your Gundam of choice is ultimately up to you, but I assure you that there is a model that fits your playstyle, you just gotta find it.
By only focusing on the battle system, players will use a series of ranged and melee attacks to take down opponents. Understanding your Gundam’s moveset and paying attention to their ammo will go a long way in a match. This is not a game where you want to attempt to button mash your way to victory. Piloting these Gundams involves a combination of navigating the battlefield, understanding your Gundam’s loadout, and assisting your teammate if they are in need. Sometimes, there’s so much going on that a battle can be over in less than a minute, depending on the skill level of the team.
Most of your time will be spent in online play, and luckily I haven’t had too much issue finding a match. Furthermore, there are plenty of stages available, and each of them represents an iconic battlefield from the series. I should note that some players take their rank very seriously in online play. Luckily, rage quitting is penalized with a ten-minute ban, which I appreciated since it’s totally possible that I pissed a lot of people off as I was trying to learn the controls of various Gundam models.
There are a few single-player modes available to players. These include Branch Battle, both online and offline, which is similar to an arcade mode. Players can pretty much fight there way through several encounters, which they have some control over until they reach a boss. There are eight stages total and a final boss. The more entertaining part of this mode is the ability to play through it with friends offline or online. As you win matches, points are earned, which also unlock additional bosses and hidden battles.
Alternatively, there’s also a Maxi Boost Missions mode, which is a single-player only mode. This acts sort of like an adventure mode where players make their way across a grid and earn points until they reach the final boss of the stage. Encounters award figures, upgrades, and equipment as well as GP, which can be used to unlock more content within the game.
I ended up really enjoying Maxi Boost Missions as it included new ways to experience a Gundam Versus title. Each stage has an objective that doesn’t merely require you to “destroy some enemies,” and having the opportunity to learn how to pilot Gundam models that I wouldn’t typically choose added to the experience.
This mode also acts as a tutorial, but sadly it isn’t one that will make learning the game easier. I think the tutorial fails in many ways, as it is pretty much condensed to a few text boxes. There really should be a step-by-step guide to the mechanics that have players learn a series of combos and moves for several characters. What is currently offered only really covers the surface level of the game’s systems, which could leave new players confused.
During gameplay, anything players do grant them GP, which is used to purchase alternative costumes, items, and even increase intimacy with Navi characters. The more you play, the more GP you earn, which makes your time playing feel rewarded across the various modes. I would say there is a fair amount to do, and I always had some goal that I was aiming for to unlock new items.
In terms of graphics, I think Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On is beautiful. Each Gundam is detailed with beautiful animations that display their very unique arsenal of attacks. There are elements that I’m glad the developer brought from the arcade to console as it didn’t feel like they held anything back with this port. Furthermore, the soundtrack is bursting with notable music from the Gundam series.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On may not be newcomer friendly, but it is one of the best Gundam gaming experiences available. It takes everything that makes the arcade version great and brings it to console players. The expanded roster of Mobile Suits with both online and offline modes makes every moment spent playing rewarding. The tutorial desperately needs some addressing, but this is the Versus game we’ve been waiting for.
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