Gundam Breaker (PS Vita) - A Ryodo Review
Gundam has played a part in my childhood and while it did not make a huge impact like Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokemon did, it still served as a trigger to bring out the GunOta (short for Gundam Otaku) in me several years later.
Even though I did not follow the plot and the different universe each series is set in, what got me immersed into the fandom were the mesmerizing designs that each Mobile Suit had. A clever move Bandai made was to create a whole line of merchandise that allows everyone to unleash their creativity. I'm talking about Gunplas - or Gundam Plastic Model Kits, for short.
When I was in NS, I remembered being influenced by a fellow campmate to start building Gunplas again, and most of the model kits I have are in MG - or Master Grade. Gunplas are categorised by a grading system, denoting how detailed they are and the scale they are made in. Just to name a few, we have the No Grade (an unofficial name I came up with for Gunplas without a grade), which, as the name states, have no grading in particular. These Gunplas can range anywhere from a scale of 1/144 to 1/48 and are fairly simple to build.
HG or High Grade Gunplas are usually at a scale of 1/144 and require a lot of painting as the original parts, when built together, look flat as paper. These are the most affordable Gunplas that most builders who are starting out begin with. However, if you're looking for more of a challenge...
... then the MG - or Master Grade Gunplas are for you. These Gunplas boast a whopping 1/100 scale and have internal frames to support its large capability in posing. They do not need a lot of painting since most of the parts are already individually painted, but of course it's entirely up to the individual builder's discretion to put in some extra effort.
Next, we have the
beast of all Gunplas under the PG - or Perfect Grade. Coming in at a scale of
1/60, these Gunplas are the most detailed of its kind, and its high
articulation extends all the way down to even its individual finger joints.
These Gunplas also have additional gimmicks to them that make the experience in
building them unique (for example, the PG 00-Raiser has internal LED lights
that, when turned on, simulates the
Lastly, we have the recently added RG - Real Grade Gunplas. As an additional promotion to the 1/1 scale RX-78 Gundam in Odaiba at the time, a Real Grade was introduced to the already huge line of Gunplas. Even though Real Grade Gunplas come in at a scale of 1/144, its details and intricate designs are close to Master Grade Gunplas, if not more detailed. They are also simple to build and fun to work with.
So why am I talking about Gunplas? Because the game I'm going to review - Gundam Breaker, is a game that is based on this hobby!
Gundam Breaker is an Action game developed and published by Bandai Namco Games. It was first released on the Playstation 3 before it finally came to the Playstation Vita, which is the version I will be talking about.
Build a Gunpla, make it your very own, and send it out for battles. When it comes to Action games, control is of utmost importance, and in this game, you're fully in control, even right down to how your Gunpla looks. You are able to create your very own Mobile Suit with the parts that you've collected or bought, paint it, add decals and even include effects like airbrush and weathering.
Parts you win from missions come in different ratings. The more number of stars the part has, the better it will contribute to the overall performance of your Gunpla. There are lots of parts to choose from, all of which come straight from the original series. Do not let that restrict you though; there are many different ways you can build your Gunpla, so do not be alarmed if you find that your envisioned Strike Gundam works surprisingly well with Zaku legs or Z Gundam's backpack. As you build more parts, you gain EXP which increases your Builder Level, increasing the chances of building a better performance part. Mix and match to build your best Gunpla and make it exclusively yours!
When it comes to the actual missions, they play a lot like previous Gundam games. In addition to its standard arsenal as well as boosting and blocking, it can also use a wide array of EX Moves as well as Repair skills to increase your duration in battle. The difficulty curve for this game can be a little astounding at first, but you can replay previous missions over and over again to rack up parts as well as EXP for your OS Level in order to equip better part, so if you find yourself getting stuck in a certain mission, you can come back to it after you've gotten all the parts and experience you need.
The controls are very fluent and make you feel like you're operating the Mobile Suit yourself, but I feel that the lag time between boosts or attacks can be a bit crippling. This is usually the time where the enemy loves to strike you at, and you can't even do anything to prevent taking damage. No, not even blocking.
Another thing I would like to point out is that you can lose body parts which severely hinder your performance. Losing the head lose your lock-on capability, losing either of your arms will prevent you from attacking and blocking, and losing your legs will completely immobilize you. Thankfully, you are able to recover your lost parts either by going to where it dropped or via a magnetic force (if you are immobilized) so you can get back up and ready to do battle.
There are a lot of voice overs in this game, both in Japanese and English (though the latter isn't very well articulated). If you have played other Gundam games before, this should feel familiar to you. Throughout the game, you will be hearing your Chief and Operator's voices a lot, so make sure you get used to them. Even though they are considered extra details, they still enhance the gameplay experience nonetheless, once again making you feel like you're controlling the Mobile Suit yourself.
The BGMs are futuristic and certainly has the feel of a Gundam game, but if you're looking for well-known BGMs from previous Gundam series, you may have to look elsewhere. For the sound effects though, it definitely hits the spot where it spells "nostalgia". The sound of the beam rifle being fired, the sound of your beam saber slashing through the opposing Mobile Suits, the metallic "kling-klang" 's of your Mobile Suits and lots more are all used in the game in its full glory. It's like mixing the old and new aspects of the Gundam fandom and fusing it into this one game.
As expected from a Vita game, Gundam Breaker boasts impressive 3D models and environments, which are faithfully ported over from its PS3 counterpart. The opening cutscene where your Gunpla launches out from the base is amazing too, and it shows off your creation in its fullest capacity. There is a personal issue I have with the Vita's frame rate, but I'm okay with it since it doesn't hinder the game much. In fact, with so many things going on in the background, I'm surprised the frame rate did not drop at all. The game still ran quite smoothly, which allows me to immediately lock on to the next target without any awkward choppiness.
Gundam Breaker is a great game that caters to both Gundam VS fans and Gunpla fans alike. Its high level of customization allows for infinite possibilities, play style and uniqueness. As a casual gamer, the heavy Gundam theme may not appeal to you at first, but if you're going for just the gameplay and the experience, it's a definite must have.
Thank you all for reading my review, and may you Get Inspired Now!