Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On is the single best Gundam title I’ve played since Gundam Battle Assault 2.
I know I’ve missed a number of titles over the years since a lot of them never released outside of Japan, but it’s still a statement I feel comfortable saying. Not only is it the best Gundam game I’ve played since Battle Assault 2, but it’s also the most comprehensive, spanning three dozen Gundam series and compiling a huge roster of mech fighters into a very balanced experience.
Gundam Versus initially launched all the way back in 2010. That was in Japanese arcades. Fans have been clamoring for its release in the US for a long time. Luckily, Bandai Namco finally listened (after releasing a different, ill-received Gundam Versus a couple of years ago) with Maxiboost On. Even now, a sequel to Maxiboost On has been released in Japan, which will hopefully make its way to us sometime in the future.
Plenty of content and lots to learn
There are a handful of modes for players to dig into here with a wealth of content to get lost in. It’s probably important to check out the mission modes first because Maxiboost On is not a very forgiving game. At first glance, it’s relatively simple, but a lack of tutorials for more nuanced techniques means there is plenty to learn. Even after logging about ten hours I still felt like I had a lot to learn, so I ended up watching some videos online, which greatly helped.
This is something that most Gundam games have generally struggled with. There’s a steep learning curve here. Maxiboost On probably isn’t going to draw in a large number of new players, so most players will probably feel at home. Despite being familiar with most Gundam titles, I still felt like I was missing something without doing some extra research. Once it clicks into place though, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On is a great mech fighter – and a comprehensive one to boot.
Getting back to game modes, there are two single-player modes, in addition to strong online offerings. There is a more standard arcade mode where players pick an entry point and then between stages pick a path that takes them to a final fight. There are even hidden bosses to fight in arcade mode that only appear after performing well during the final fight and throughout the route you took. The other single-player mode is Maxi Boost Mission. This is where players get the most out of their single-player experience.
Maxi Boost Missions put players on a grid where you navigate through different types of fights until you reach the other end of the grid. There are bonus panels that reward you with in-game currency, but not all paths can reach those panels.
Since a lot of these fights can be varied, I often wound end up switching between a handful of different Gundam that I was using based on the type of fight or the type of enemies I was going up against. It often felt very overwhelming trying to decide which Gundam I was going to take into battle though because there are almost 200 different mechs to pick from. Again, it’s very comprehensive, but I kept finding myself torn between fighters I was familiar with and fighters that might be better for a situation.
Each panel on the grid rewards players with experience and in-game currency, while some award extra of both with additional equippable modifiers. In my experience, the modifiers don’t often make a difference between winning and losing, but they do help you do more damage or take less damage. Every bonus is helpful when the learning curve is so high. Even though I generally leaned toward certain Gundam, there are some missions where the game dictates which fighter you take into battle. This was a good way to help discover new mechs I may not have otherwise used.
The online modes fair really well too. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any friends playing Maxiboost On, so I didn’t get the chance to pair up with a buddy in the 2v2 multiplayer to take on other players. I do think it’s a great feature though in a 2v2 fighter to let another player take control of the other team mech, especially if you have friends who are into the franchise. There have been a lot of Bandai Namco games where I’ve had a tough time playing due to connection issues, but Maxiboost On performed really well in this department. I didn’t encounter any lost connections.
Honestly, Gundam Battle Assault 2 is still my favorite Gundam fighting game, but Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On really knocked it out of the park in terms of content, presentation, and playability. It’s a robust fighter with a high ceiling that only the most dedicated fighting game fans will probably ever hit. Luckily, there’s plenty of content for casual players with a large number of great single-player battles and local play options.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.