Gundam Evolution is a cool game to get our hands on, let’s start with that. If you were a fan of the series from now until Mobile Suit Gundam’s release in 1979, you’ll be amazed by the loving recreations of your favorite suits, weapons, and the overall feel of these behemoth mechas shooting and banging into each other. However, does this game offer enough for those unfamiliar with the series’ legacy? From my impressions of this closed beta so far, it might have what it takes.
(All impressions are from playing the PC closed beta on the North American server from the UK.)
Let’s start with what the game actually is. Gundam Evolution is a 5v5 first-person shooter in the same vein as Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, in which each player takes on the role of a different Gundam, each with their own anime-accurate weapons and abilities. Once you’ve assembled a team, you’ll fight in a variety of game modes including Point Capture, Domination, and Destruction, which are similar to Search and Destroy game modes in other FPS titles.
On top of that, add all the trimmings of your modern live service title – like a seasonal battle pass and loot boxes full of skins and emotes – and you’ve got a standard “hero shooter” pack. Some of you out there will be more than happy to eat this type of game, myself included! I love a good team-based shooter, but if you’re looking for something that revolutionizes the genre (or adds an interesting twist to the process that really makes it stand out from the crowd), you’re going to leave a lot to be desired.
If you’re still keen then there’s a lot here to play around with. The closed beta offered a wide range of different Gundams to play with – 14 in total – each with their own unique appeal. The Pale Rider is the first suit you’ll play through the game’s tutorial, and it offers an option for those looking for an easy-to-use option with skills that don’t require practice to master. From there, manning only gets more exciting (and complex) with a variety of weapons and tools that fulfill important uses in a team composition.
I personally really liked the Marasai Gundam; This beautiful robot comes with a medium range single shot rifle that allows you to zoom in for better accuracy. However, what really makes it great is the grappling hook, which you can use to rip enemies away from the air or from checkpoints. It’s undoubtedly an archetype we’ve seen before – but it suits the cast in Gundam Evolution perfectly.
I’m also a big fan of the complex movement possibilities offered thanks to the universal Dashing system. All Gundams, no matter how big and lumbering, have a boost bar. This can be slowly released to sprint or float in the air, but it can be quickly tapped for a quick sprint in any horizontal direction. In one-on-one situations, this allows for quick chases through corridors while two players dash around corners and buildings, while in massive team fights this opens the doors to massive dashes toward objectives, quickly turning the tide from the back of a quick elimination. and so forth.
I was often the victim of a sniper who came for me – before he quickly fled to safety. As much as I hated her at the time, I have to admit, looking back, it was pretty gross. I can only imagine the kind of nonsense dedicated players can pull off with this one in-game after launch, and it’s a testament to how valuable it is to the overall quality of the experience. It could very well be a game changer! we have to see
I have an issue with the game and it’s difficult to address because it’s connected through the hip to arguably the game’s greatest strength. A decent chunk of guns in the game, basically anything that shoots lasers rather than kinetic ammo, lacks the punch that helps make kills feel exciting. Some Gundams avoid this to an extent, the Gundam Barbatos with his giant mace and the GM Sniper II all have that oomph, but even then it all feels a bit muted. Take the Marasai I mentioned earlier, for example. If you hook someone you can burn them in the face with a fast laser and that’s great and all but it feels limp. It lacks the bang you would get in a parallel situation with Roadhog in Overwatch.
It’s clear that this is a result of the developer’s intense commitment to replicating these Gundams from the original source material, and I would never suggest changing that. Last but not least, Gundam Evolution is a celebration of the franchise – I went back and watched some of the different shows these Gundams have appeared in and the team nailed it. I think maybe a little more tweaking of the visual and aural response – a little more pop when you hit someone or knock out an enemy – would do wonders.
As I sit back and think about Gundam Evolution and whether it can take off in Western markets, I can’t help but be a little optimistic. If you’re a Gundam fan it’s a must, but let’s be honest; You knew it was from the moment you saw it.
For the rest of us, there’s still a lot to like. If you don’t care for Gundam, you won’t have that love for the source material, but the actual game that the IP is built around is of enough quality to warrant at least an exploratory download. Especially with Overwatch 2 nowhere in sight, the skies are clear for Gundam Evolution to take off.
https://www.vg247.com/gundam-evolution-closed-beta-preview Gundam Evolution Preview: A loyal affair for fans, with room to level up for Overwatch breakaways