Title: SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays
Developer: Tom Create
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Bandia Namco
Growing up in the ’90s was a difficult time for anime fans. It was challenging to get your hands on any anime that wasn’t copied poorly onto a home VHS. However, the Gundam series made it to the west and would define my love of the medium for years to come.
Later down the line, I’ve found a love for the video game adaptations for anything Gundam, but sadly, the trend of not getting many of the titles in the west would still reign true in my later years. This includes the SD Generation G series, which focuses on the characters and battles from the anime. Now, Bandai Namco is finally bringing one of the titles west with SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays, and thankfully, it is a remarkable representation of the series and franchise as a whole.
SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays allows players to play through multiple arcs of the Gundam series. Each arc plays out in episodes that feature iconic battles from the series. While playing, I was surprised by how closely the narrative stuck to the events of the anime. That said, there is a ton of story content here. Akin to what you’d find in a visual novel, each episode could feature anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes of story content before you’ll be able to touch the controller. This is great for anyone who needs a refresher for the titles, but it can feel rather lengthy. Still, I appreciated all the bits of story that the developers were able to include, as each episode filled me with nostalgia.
Newcomers are also in for a treat as they get a crash course in the series supplemented with some great voice over and action-filled battles. I was especially glad to be able to play through Iron-Blooded Orphans, which features some stand-out battles and characters. That’s not saying that every arc doesn’t have its moments, I just know what my favorites are, and I’m glad they’re included. For the series that aren’t included, they are still represented in a way as characters from across the Gundam library of pilots can join in on the battle to make battles a bit more unique.
Battles take a tactical RPG approach as players find themselves on grid-based maps facing enemies. Missions typically have the players destroy several targets or one particular target. Still, the game does mix things up a bit by having the player destroy objects on the field in several turns. Battles require skill and strategy, making players position their units to find the best advance towards the enemy.
Killing an enemy will net the player an additional turn, but this bonus also applies to the enemy. Enemies can be a bit predictable, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Several times during the game, I’ve underestimated them and ended up losing the match.
During a turn, players can move a unit and follow-up with an attack. Attacks vary depending on the Mobile Suit you are in control of at the time, but they are each capable of causing severe damage to the enemy. Understanding your units is crucial in harder difficulties and later levels, but a basic understanding of the turns will get you through most battles.
Additional attacks include group attacks along with group movements that can deal significant damage to the enemy and look visually brilliant. Each attack comes with a very cool animation of the battle, which can be skipped if you want. When on the defensive, players have the option to counter, defend, or evade. However, allies who are in the area can assist defensive if need be.
I was impressed by the amount of customization given to the player during matches. The game does its best to provide players with in-depth stats and options to assist with getting through some of the tougher battles and planning a strategy. After destroying an enemy, the player gains experience that can be used to level up the character and their Mobile Suit. Similarly, some units have special abilities that are received after they are destroyed.
Outside of the episodes, players have access to an almost endless list of side quests and modes that can provide a variety of different experiences. One of the reasons this review took me a while to get through is based on how much content there is in this game. If that wasn’t enough, players are even able to create their own character and bring them into battle. Unlocking content comes during each match, which makes it easy to feel a sense of progression after each mission, no matter the difficulty level.
Points earned during matches can be used to purchase new Mobile Suits and create different squids. It’s possible to build your dream team of characters within the game and then make them incredibly powerful. By using the Group Operations mode, you can unlock new materials and experience. This mode is updated regularly with new missions available to players.
Visually, SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays is perhaps the best entry in the series so far. The battle animations are brilliant, and the tactical gameplay is solid. While the Normal difficulty can be a bit too easy, there is a steady increase in complexity throughout the game, which makes you use all the skills and abilities available to you. The sound design is also fantastic as it features the iconic soundtracks from each of the respective series. However, the alarms and sirens going off during story scenarios can become a little annoying.
The biggest downside of the game would have to be the minimalistic save options. Playing through an episode can take over an hour, but the game sadly doesn’t feature a proper save feature that allows you to save and exit the game. Instead, you have to Quick Save and turn the game off, and even then, you won’t be able to begin a new episode until after you’ve finished that scenario. Sure, this was created so that your Mobile Suits show growth across every episode, but I feel there could be a better way to go about this.
SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays offers some fantastic moments of gameplay for fans of Gundam and strategy RPGs. There’s so much in terms of content here that the game feels endless. In the later hours of the game, I found myself focusing primarily on creating the strongest Mobile Suit, and there were plenty of options available for me to do just that. I enjoyed each episode included in this title and felt that it summed up some of the best moments from each of the series.
SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays is as over-the-top as you’d expect from a semi-political mech game where teen pilots bite off more than they can chew. Every mode and option is there for the player to immerse themselves into this experience, and I simply couldn’t get enough of it. I hope to see more of the SD Gundam G series come west, but for now, this is the perfect introduction for those who haven’t played it yet.
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