Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon (Giant Bomb|Wikipedia) is an early release for the Playstation 2. The game feels very arcadey, which makes sense since it was first released as an arcade game in Japan.The game is an arcade action game, and allows you to pilot a mobile suit and destroy other mobile suits in a variety of environments.
There are three modes to choose from off the bat: Arcade, Versus, and Campaign. Arcade allows you to select the mobile suit you want to use, then throws you into a series of missions. All the mobile suits in the game seem to be unlocked from the beginning in this mode. Versus I did not play, but this seems to be the multiplayer option. Finally, we have campaign. In this mode, you start by picking a side (Federation or Zeon) and selecting a mission based on a world map. The missions are color coded to show you their difficulty. Each mission has different objectives, but they all seem to be about destroying other mobile suits. Of the missions I played, there were several where you needed to defeat a set number of enemies and a single mission where you needed to defend some allied tanks from enemy mobile suits – by you guessed it, destroying the enemy mobile suits.
The game gives you two weapons, a ranged weapon (machine gun, laser, rocket launcher, etc.) and an energy sword. As far as I could tell, that’s it. Some of the mobile suits I tried in arcade mode had some slightly different melee attacks but it didn’t vary enough to be interesting. The game play was fairly boring for me, and while I could see where fans of the series might find a lot to love here, I was not impressed.
The graphics were acceptable for an early release PS2 game. The mobile suit models looked good and were fairly detailed, but some of the stages had some really bland and poor looking landscapes. I will say I did appreciate how clean and responsive the menus were.
Sound is a bit ugly in this one. While in combat you are constantly hearing the caution noise alerting you to enemies and attacks from off screen. Normally, this would be appreciated, but when you hear the alert noise for the 100th time on the first mission you will already be tired of it. The background music ranges from acceptable to grating – leaning more toward the grating side.
Verdict: Back on the shelf. While not a bad game, this one is very simplistic and has some hard to get used to controls. Since I’m not a fan of the series it’s based on I don’t see a reason to revisit.
Images courtesy of Giant Bomb