In the year 2000, Dynasty Warriors 2 was released and introduced the world to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and gameplay where one player controlled a hero and obliterated entire armies in epic “historical” warfare. So successful was this idea of gameplay that it was then adapted to the Gundam anime series in 2007.
Enter Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn, the fourth such iteration in the series and a complete reworking of the previous games. Featuring tons of modes, styles, Gundam, and gameplay, it’s a solid action game with great features and an epic scope.
Gundam Reborn is best suited for Gundam fans, first and foremost. As an action game it has all the elements of Dynasty Warriors combat; simply replace all the heroes of the Three Kingdoms with the pilots and Mobile Suits of Gundam and you’ve got a spin-off.
And this is where a major rift develops between action game fans and those who will like this game. Gundam Reborn is heavily stylized. Going from early Gundam anime all the way to Gundam Unicorn and beyond, it is actually an understatement to say Gundam Reborn is Gundam anime in video game form.
Which, if a player is into giant robots beating the crap out of each other as a baseline, is perfect. The characters and scenarios are all taken directly from the Gundam series and movies, so if you’ve ever been a fan then you’ll recognize a lot of the plots, characters, and Mobile Suits.
Setting-wise, this makes for a less than cohesive over-arching narrative, but gives each world its own unique feel and story. Each of the Original Modes also faithfully replicates the style of the different anime, right back to the 80s and into the 2000s for the later series.
Each Original Mode plays out the story of that particular anime, complete with the pilots and Mobile Suits. In total there are over 120 different Gundam to experiment with, as well as an intimidating multitude of customization options centered around Upgrade Plans, which add features and stat boosts to your favorite Mobile Suits.
Ultimate Mode is a grab bag of features. After selecting an operation the player must then successfully complete each Area’s objective in a spider web of paths, unlocking the next operation upon completion. It’s a fun way to play with the different pilots and Mobile Suits across the many series included in Gundam Reborn as well as see the juxtaposition of the old pilots with the new.
Once on the battlefield, however, there isn’t much difference between the modes except the story events that interrupt the fight in Original Mode. The player takes control of a pilot and a Mobile Suit and sets about completing the mission objectives, which usually change as the fight progresses.
Those familiar with the Dynasty Warriors games will quickly adapt to the flow of battle. Capturing areas by defeating a certain number of units, fighting field commanders and heroes with caution, and annihilating armies while looting the power-ups on the field are all staples of the franchise; Gundam Reborn makes no changes here. Better yet, the offline splitscreen play has survived even in this online world, and while online multiplayer is available the joy of destroying armies side-by-side with a buddy remains.
What separates Gundam Reborn from other games is the ability to change the plane of battle by flying about the field for short periods of time. Whether on land or in space all three dimensions are fair game for the player and enemies to zip about. While it is slightly jarring to see massive amounts of Mobile Suits all on the same level in space, the effect is unnoticeable once the bullets and blades start flying.
Gundam Reborn, unlike the other titles in its spin-off franchise, does not feature an English audio track but simply subtitles the original Japanese dialogue. It fits well, and the background music is perfect for a space opera. Graphically the game is sound, with high-definition cutscenes interspersed throughout the gameplay which is also smooth, crisp, and flashy.
Gundam Reborn’s biggest selling points are threefold: it’s a game replica of the Gundam universe, it features classic Dynasty Warriors gameplay but with giant robots, and its sheer volume of variability in the Mobile Suits, pilots, upgrades, levels, and gameplay modes. It blends these together perfectly, and the overall effect is a fun and enjoyable one if not incredibly impactful.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn is an excellent action game. Mixing together great action gameplay with a well-established franchise and leaving almost nothing out, Gundam Reborn is a great way to pass a few hours… and then a few more.
[+Great action gameplay] [+True to Dynasty Warriors look’n’feel] [+Incredible array of Gundam and pilots] [+Huge amount of content] [-Fails to make a huge impact] [-Heavy Gundam themes potential turn-off for non-fans]