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Gundam Seed: Battle Assault Review

Developer: Bandai Publisher: Bandai
Release Date: August 10, 2004 Also On: None

Japan’s Star Wars is the Gundam series. The people can’t get enough of it, but I never actually liked it. Give me anime like Astro Boy, Rurouni Kenshin, or Dragonball Z. Each Gundam series tries to show some politics, but I feel that the creators fail to display the message they want to send. In a nutshell, I think the Gundam series is overrated. But I do give the creators props for giving the watchers tons of mech action. Who couldn’t love two giant robots fighting while the city is being destroyed in the process? Gundam Seed is the latest Gundam series, and Bandai has taken the liberty to create fans a fighting game based on the series for the GBA. How does it play?

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In the Cosmic Era, something happens, then something else happens, moose, and then something else happens. Okay, I didn’t pay attention to the storyline. I’ll try my best to explain the irksome storyline in one sentence. Tensions are increasing between the Earth and space colonies called Plants, and war happens to be the last diplomatic solution. Great excuse for the creators to add action. Fans of the series should enjoy it because it remains similar to the series (some of my friends watch the series, and they say it’s accurate).

The game plays like an ordinary 2D fighter, just like Gundam Wing: Endless Duel for the SNES and the decent Gundam Battle Assault for the PS1. Use the D-Pad to move your fighter in all four directions. The A button is used for long range attacks. The B button is used for short-ranged attacks. The L and R buttons are used for speed bursts and some attacks by using your thrusters. The control scheme is pretty easy to get used to, so I commend Bandai for this.

There are 8 mechs in the game. You get to unlock two more mechs later on. While this does sound annoying because there are so few fighters, the customization feature really solves any problem (see next paragraph).

The best feature in this entire game is the customization feature. Right before a battle, the player has a choice of modifying his Gundam. A player can increase the mech’s HP, PS armor, or thrusters. Increasing any one of those three categories will compromise the other two categories. Increasing HP increases your life. Increasing PS armor will lessen the damage when you get hit. Finally, increasing your thrusters’ capacity allows you to perform more speed bursts. In short, you have the choice of increasing your life, defense, and speed. Very simplistic, but it saves the game from being a flop by adding a ton of originality to the game.

There are multiple modes such as the normal mode, which is the mode where you fight a number of enemies while learning the story. There is a survival mode, where you can see how long you last. There is a free battle mode where you can fight with anyone you feel like. There is a time limit mode, where you have a limited amount of time to defeat your opponent. There is a multiplayer mode, where two players can fight it out to see who the better player is. Lastly, there is a password mode where you can put in your favorite passwords.

The real problem with the game is the lack of strategy in the battle. The stages are so small; it’s hard to dodge lots of attacks. This does get annoying, and stops the game from achieving perfection. The arenas are so small, that it doesn’t resemble how the battles in the series are fought. Come on Bandai, Gundams get to fight in huge cities. They don’t fight in 5-foot long strips of grass. Close, but no cigar I guess.

For the graphics, I say they are pretty good. They closely resemble the entire Gundam series, so Gundam fans can’t go wrong here. Backgrounds are well done, but I would have liked to better animation for the attacks. If you watched the series, you’ll know that every time they shoot a missile, it looks pretty awesome.

As far as the audio goes, it is nothing really that amazing. I wish Bandai fixed this problem, because it would have probably been one of the easiest ones to solve. I want a soundtrack that is as mesmerizing as the ones on the Mega Man games for the NES (which is sad, because the GBA is more powerful than the NES).

Replay value is pretty good in this game. There is a good amount to do in the single player, considering the good amount of modes to play in. The real key to this game is the multiplayer. If you have one or more friends that also have this game, then you’re in luck. Expect a good 15+ hours with this game if you do have friends to play it with. Expect a good 7 hours if you don’t.

Bandai should realize that a good pilot makes the Gundam fit him, and should know how to pilot the mech efficiently. Bandai added a lot of strategy right before each battle starts, but sadly forgot to put strategy during each battle. That means they did the former well, but forgot to do the latter well. On a positive note, I do agree with the statement that Bandai’s customization feature is probably one of the biggest advancements to the fighting genre this year. I suggest you get this game if you’re a fan of the Gundam series and if you have friends to play it with. If you don’t, you might seek your mech action thrills somewhere else.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 8.2
Written by Simon Review Guide