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Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

In theory, Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force should be awesome. After all, it's giant robots battling it out over ruined cities with bombs and lasers. While I've admittedly never seen the anime on which the game is based, I feel like the mere existence of giant fighting robots should, by itself, be enough to make any game worthwhile.

Turns out it's not even remotely close. I mean, maybe my experience with the game is severely limited by my lack of familiarity with the subject matter, but it feels like the entire Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force — which feels like it should have a much easier acronym — experience can be summed up with the adjectives "loud", "flashy", and "incomprehensible."

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Not too surprisingly, those three qualities are closely intertwined. Every level features people shouting at you through your headset for reasons that are never made clear; presumably what they're saying is related to the mission you're on, but since the voices are in untranslated, unsubtitled Japanese, that's entirely guesswork. Every level is a riot of exploding colours, but not in a good way; rather, it's because the game crams lots and lots of robots and explosions and lasers into each mission, but everything happens in such a haphazard manner it's not always clear what's going on. Like I said: loud, flashy, and incomprehensible.

Assaults on the senses might be forgivable if Mobile Suit Gundam at least managed to be fun despite those flaws. Sadly, it's not. In theory, the levels vary between escort missions, squad-based battles, and capture-the-flag-style fights. In practice, however, while the objectives may differ, the gameplay is all the same — lots of shooting missiles and clashing robot swords, repeated over and over again until you reach the mission's end.

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On top of that, the combat isn't even particularly fun. None of the robots move in anything close to a fluid manner, which means you're left with clunky giants moving around awkwardly. True to life, perhaps (if there were such a thing as giant fighting robots), but not all that enjoyable.

Again, maybe I'm missing something because I didn't go into Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force with a prior knowledge of what I was getting into. But it never felt like the game would be substantially better if I had an intimate knowledge of what was going on. It felt like it would be better if it was, you know, a better game.

Grade: D+