Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On is the exact title we needed from the Gundam franchise after the foundations put in place by Mobile Suit Gundam Versus and the PS1 predecessor Gundam: Battle Assault. Now, let’s find out just where the game succeeds and where it seems to stumble in our review.
+Impressive amounts of single-player content
+Local multiplayer is an option, includes offline and online co-op
+One of the largest rosters fo mobile suits to date in any Gundam game
-Tutorials are desperately needed
When it comes to being one of the longest-running franchises in entertainment media, Mobile Suit Gundam isn’t shy about how old it is and you know what? That’s okay. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, it seems that Bandai Namco isn’t shy about making it known. They’ve recently had a massive anniversary event for all forms of fandom including Gunpla, games, and more.
To take things one step further, we are given our latest arcade fighting game entry, which for Japanese players, has been around for quite some time and it seems we’re just now getting our dose of the 2016 arcade title. It’s an intricately designed game, one that requires a moderate amount of basic fighting game comprehension, and the ability to take time to learn the game, and even remember how one of the 100+ mobile suits actually works.
For Dissidia Final Fantasy NT fans, you’ll be right at home, which is part of what’s nice about this very game. You won’t have much trouble fitting in and getting things sorted out by any means of getting things sorted out. After all, this is an arena-based action game, one that’s focused on multiple elements from melee fighting to mid-ranged and long-ranged combat depending on the mobile suit you opt for.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON is the very pinnacle of the long-run arcade series
On the surface, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON is an arcade fighter, one that uses well-designed arenas as a source of its primary focus, bringing to life the long-run struggle between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon.
You’ll find that the game itself highlights specific elements, which includes familiar sets from across the entirety of the franchise, giving players a sincere showing of love for the 40 years and beyond of Mobile Suit Gundam. Now, there is something to know about the game before we get started: It’s a competitive title. Period. There is no exception to this rule.
Rookie pilots, you should be prepared to struggle, the stakes are high, the learning curve even higher, but the sense of success when you begin to climb the ranks? Amazing, but we’ll talk about this learning curve here shortly, as this is one of the drawbacks about the game, which honestly, kinda sucks for newcomers.
New players might feel a bit overwhelmed when trying to choose one of the hundred-plus mobile suits to use. For the sake of the review, I tended to stick with Providence, Psycho Zaku, Banshee Norn, and the Hi-Nu Gundam. For me, they were simple go-to’s as I’d been using them since the original Network Test.
Let’s talk about gameplay itself and why that learning curve is steep
Now, one of the issues, which is the only issue I’ve really encountered with the game since we got our copy is the learning curve. When first-starting, you aren’t going to find the introductory moments to be memorable what-so-ever.
Truth be told, those beginning hours will be hard, they will be difficult, and you’ll find yourself spending quite a bit of time in the single-player content adjusting to the mobile suits you opt to use. For beginners, you can’t go wrong with the RX-78-2 aka Gundam or even any of the other older suits, but truth-be-told, it’s just best to find one that fits your style.
Melee combat fans will feel right at home with suits such as the Master Gundam and the Astray’s from Gundam Seed as they ALL take full advantage of the games Extreme Fighting Burst, which enhances their melee combat capabilities. Many of the suits will come with your standard rifle, beam rifle, or ranged weapon of some sort or another.
Unlike those others, the Hi-Nu is something a bit different seeing as it is one of the highest cost mobile suits in the game. Your team, as you might expect, is given a life gauge that determines just how many times you can be knocked out of the match. If you exceed that bar, your mobile suit will have dramatically less health when you revive, making it so the match could be lost even easier.
However, if you opt for a lower cost mobile suit, you have fewer tools at your disposal, making it so you have to consider what you are doing a bit more than before. Against some suits, you’ll be an easy target, making it so they pick you off before moving tot he larger guy on your team.
Let’s talk combat in Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON
Now, combat, as you read about, is based on a “health gauge” for you and your team. You will have limited revives available to you regardless of if you play singleplayer content or not. You can only die so many times and it’s game over. It’s a basic principle of combat in Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON.
You’ll want to pay attention to this gauge as well as your opponent’s health gauges themselves. You’ll find that health bars are there as well and it is important that you work with your teammate to discourage an enemy from tag-teaming them with their teammate and help bring the combat into a team-based brawl.
For me, this meant using the Hi-Nu Gundam’s ability to shoot funnels about, shooting enemies from a distance and engaging them. You’ll find its full artillery is available whether or not you use the funnels on its back, the chaingun on its wrist, its beam swords, or even its Hyper Bazooka system, which also come as part of its overall package. Oh, also, you can initiate its Psycho Frame itself and make it an absolutely devastating opponent for your enemies to face off against.
Its ability to fight in all ranges is a major feat as it shows the consistency of how Amuro Ray used the Hi-Nu Gundam in Gundam anime series. It’s not a far cry neither are any of the others you will use. You’ll find that as you take damage and dish it out, you’ll also accumulate your Burst gauge, which will allow you to unleash Shooting, Extend, and Fighting Burst.
Each of these amplifies a specific aspect of your mobile suit. For Shooting Burst, you’ll find that your ranged recharge rates are drastically decreased, making them more readily available when you need them while Extend saves your team from imminent decimation and gives you a chance to come back from the cusp of defeat.
Knowing what to use and when makes combat a bit trickier due to a lack of tutorials
Now, where the game does struggle is the fact of knowing when and where to use your abilities begins to show. There’s a lack of tutorials, which for newcomers, is a bit discouraging unless you go back to Mobile Suit Gundam Versus in order to really learn the basics of the franchise. While it is slightly different than this one, it’ll give you some basics ideas of how the game actually plays.
The game could benefit from it as the Hi-Nu, for example, has multiple controls (as pictured above), which leads to a completely different playstyle based on what you do and don’t know what to do. While some of the button configurations say to just “press this button,” it doesn’t always work that way and you’ll find that one button may do several different things based on whether or not you push back on the thumbstick, forward or another direction.
It’s slightly confusing, even as a seasoned veteran to the franchises fighting games and it leaves a bit of room for improvement to be desired. That also goes with online connectivity. Even with a 200mbps/25mbps connection (almost all games, an average between 20-30ms ping, only a few as high as 50-60ms ping), our connection is often yellow to the core servers themselves, leaving room for lag to be encountered, which honestly, does happen.
It is an issue we’ve pointed out in the past with Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation 2 as well as it seems they both use the same server source for connectivity. As someone who truly loves to play these games, it’s more of a small nitpick than it is an actual issue. You’ll find that the game does a great job at compensating for any lag experienced and offers a rather fluid experience unless the connections are absolutely horrific.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON is a diamond in the rough and it shows in graphics and performance
Now, I normally don’t sit here and try to discuss audio-visual design elements when it comes to fighting games. I try to avoid it as even retro-fighting games have aged rather graciously and still offer some nostalgic experiences whether you are a seasoned veteran or a new kid on the block.
You’ll still find that Gundam: Battle Assault plays great, offers a great roster to enjoy, and somehow defies the test of time just as any Mortal Kombat, Samurai Shodown, or Street Fighter title does. When it comes to a stylized experience, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON is right up there with the rest.
It’s gorgeous, I mean drop-dead gorgeous and it offers the exact experience an arcade machine would. Top-notch graphics, a soundtrack that pulls music directly from the anime franchise depending on the events that unfold (usually single-player content). The performance is also one to brag about.
You won’t find stutter, you won’t find framerate dips, you won’t even see it hitch. This was impressive, especially in online gameplay where things can get a bit hectic with everyone executing moves against one another as well as all the explosions that will unfold as you play.
This includes all of those unlockables you can get including narrators, your NAVI, and even secondary profile outfits, tiles, titles, etc. There’s a lot to this game and it’s not a tiny package what-so-ever.
When it comes to fighting games, it’s hard to really stand out from the rest. Everyone is trying to keep an old formula alive without trying something new or taking any major risks. Here, Bandai Namco did that, they took a massive risk with an arcade arena-based fighter and decided to see just how well it would do.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO
Release Date: Available Now
With our original review having been scrapped for this newly-written one, it should say something about Mobile Suit Gundam Vs. Maxiboost ON stands out from the rest and it’s hard to really categorize it with the rest. If this isn’t one you thought about giving a chance due to a lack of a physical release, it’s one we highly suggest you give a shot, as we do see this one being around for a while, even as a possible PlayStation 5 compatible title.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.