New Gundam Breaker – Review
Follow Genre: action, hack n slash
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Available on: PS4, PC
Tested on: PS4

New Gundam Breaker – Review

Site Score
4.5
Good: Cool concept that fans would be into for sure
Bad: Terrible execution with poor controls and chaotic repetitive battles.
User Score
3.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 3.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Gundam has been around since 1979, making it a lasting and very popular series. Gundam is not only a series of anime but became a symbol of Japan in a certain way, with giant ”real” size Gundams as a figurehead symbol even. It’s also a popular business when dealing with Gunpla, which are plastic models that you can build yourself. Gunpla is mainly what New Gundam Breaker is about, and bringing it to life, ready to take on other models to define which is the best.

Story

You are a new student at a school that specifies in building Gundam robots and fighting with them. Other than the weird fact that this is everything students at your school do, there’s still some classic high-school drama going on. You got your popular people, bullies, and quickly also some friends. According to your friends, the student council is full of arrogant bastards who made sure their own rules and people run the school. Bullies are hogging all the good robot parts, the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker. You and your friends quickly decide to not stand for it any longer and fight back. The way this story is being brought, however, is rather boring and timid. Every time you get a bit of visual novel to read through and then you can fight the person involved in that piece of story, during which they will also have a few lines of text. The preliminary set-up of the story is already a bit weird by making kids battling with toys look like a real education, but every fight feels like it needs a forced story conflict before you can actually start playing another round. And the combination of forced high-school conflicts with a story that just doesn’t grip you from the start isn’t that great of a combination.

Graphics

The graphics are neat, no complaints there. The visual novel looks like an average visual novel with high-school people such as cute girls and mad guys involved. The gameplay itself shows Gundam models that are about the real model-at-home scale amidst i.e. an office area, allowing you to jump between pc monitors and administrative clutter. It’s a cool impression that has a straight connection to playing with toys as a kid, and it fits what the game is going for. The animations are alright but a bit messy. They often overlap and the fights themselves can be rather chaotic.

Sound

The sound is what you expect from a game with Japanese roots. If you played a Final Fantasy game or any other game with a similar background, you know what’s the difference between the calm and the action bits. The visual novel has a lot of piano background, the battles a bit more rock music and battle-like. The sound effects are just fine, and the voice acting is present in practically every sentence there is to be said, which is probably the best the sound has to offer.

Gameplay

Oh man, where to even start? New Gundam Breaker is an action game with hack and slash elements. It plays like Dark Souls if your feet were covered in cement and you tried to run around while getting slapped with a tentacle (because hey, it’s from Japanese origin) by a boss. That’s how bad the flow during the gameplay is. Sure you can run around, hover a bit after boosting yourself in the air, shoot and smash enemies, but the mechanics’ design is just SO bad. The worst frustration is that you can’t strafe, which is the dumbest design choice ever. If an enemy is coming to you, you can block his attacks, and you can even lock-on to one, a system that also doesn’t go smoothly if you want to switch targets. Yet as soon as you move backward, your Gundam will turn towards the camera, leaving your back completely exposed and vulnerable. In a world where so many comparable fighting systems are created, it’s insane to think something like this is allowed to exist.

It’s not just the camera that’s sluggish. The flow is missing while trying to chain commands together, and also when simply trying to move towards a certain point. Your Gundam is sluggish, which is not only degrading towards an old and popular franchise as Gundam itself, but also towards the player who will automatically feel like an incapable fool, especially since the gameplay is the same every new round you start up. The flow is that you get a piece of the story like a classic visual novel in anime style. After that, you will start a fight that’s mostly 2vs2 or 3vs3. There are containers to smash which will give you experience points to level up, neutral enemies that are fair game to kill for each team and drop parts, and enemy team players that will mostly be good to kill if you want them to get a penalty or lose gathered items. During your fight, both teams will get quests. The one who completes the quest first will gain the number of stars the quest completion promises. How many stars you have in the end decides what rank you get and also which reward items belonging to that rank you might receive. This gameplay flow doesn’t change, and frankly, it gets repetitive very fast.

And that’s basically it! You can pick up body parts from defeated enemies and run to your team’s lockbox to make sure you will get them after the fight, and use those parts and others you buy to build what in your eyes is a cool Gundam, but there are two problems with this. For one: The parts have clear statistics, meaning you will probably always connect the arms, legs, and weapons that are better to your model. This more or less neglects the sense of creating your own Gundam with your own creativity. The other thing is that, because the gameplay sucks, none of it really matters. This is the big frustration about the New Gundam Breaker concept. It’s like putting an effort into making an awesome movie with many details, just to put it on youtube in 120P quality. It sucks. A game such as Gotcha Force (Gamecube) already did the same concept, did it well, and made it great. The way New Gundam Breaker is right now, it will be forgotten by history.

Conclusion

New Gundam Breaker could have been great, really. It’s a type of game that has everything in it to be fun, with a concept that has already proven itself in the past, yet the developers managed to royally screw it up the way the game is right now. With clunky controls and gameplay that is more of a mini-game with not that much of a proper story, the game really falls to pieces if you try to enjoy it longer than say, 30 minutes. There is already a patch in progress based on negative feedback from players, but whether it can save the game? Doubtful.

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Rating: 3.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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New Gundam Breaker - Review, 3.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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