GAME REVIEW: SD Gundam G-Generation Genesis — A Tactical Gundam Game Down Memory Lane
I remember hurrying home from school to catch Mobile Suit Gundam Wing on television and the time I saved up to build my first ‘Gunpla'; something I still collect to this day. The Gundam franchise stood the test of time, spawning countless works in various formats over the years. SD Gundam G-Generation Genesis takes you down a historical journey of the Gundam franchise whilst providing a deep tactical role-playing game experience in all it’s ‘super deformed’ glory.
STORY – The Gundam Universal Century
SDGG-GG’s (That’s a whole lot of Gs) story is set around the Universal Century timeline; Starting from Amuro’s for-‘ray’ (sorry) as the titular pilot of the Mobile Suit Gundam RX-78-2 all the way down to Banagher Links’ adventures in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. All the eras are available from the start, and you can choose to play them in any order.
The overall presentation of the stories lack any kind of luster, usually starting in a brief synopsis of the stage and some occasional pre-rendered scenes. The rest are almost entirely interpreted in-game, which, as you can see, isn’t very winsome. Despite all this, I found myself engaged in what was happening. I’ve not seen any of the Gundam series prior to After War Gundam X, and at this point, I doubt I ever will, so the brief and simplistic nature of the storytelling ended up as a convenient way for me to experience the Gundam history I otherwise would’ve missed out on.
There’s an overwhelming amount of story content in the game, with dozens of Gundam stages and featuring over 600 mobile suits. You’re looking at hundreds of potential gameplay hours. All dialog is Japanese but the game is 100% translated in English. If anything, this only added to it’s charm.
GAMEPLAY – Gundam Sortie!
SD G-Generation Genesis is, first and foremost, a tactical turn-based roleplaying game. You manage a growing fleet of mobile suits, crew members, and warships to partake in some of the most iconic battles in Gundam history. You can also develop units, modifications, and even upgrades to transform your mobile suit to stronger, more capable units. The pilots, along with the rest of your crew gain levels as well.
The strategy primarily revolves around proper management of your units. Mobile Suits rely on energy(EN) to perform any kind of attack. Your pretty much a sitting duck without EN, so it pays to monitor each units capacity to fight, making sure to return to your ships to refuel and perform some maintenance to regenerate health.
Proper formation is also key, it allows for all kinds of support from your other units when attacking or defending. There is no shortage of strategy, and each stage can take a long time to complete, specially when you decide to take the event conditions. It’s worth mentioning that you can save anytime during your turn; handy for the lengthy skirmishes your bound to have.
These event conditions are part of your ‘Quest’. These are optional objectives that you can pursue as you play. They act as meta-challenges that, if certain conditions are met, can reward you with all sorts of goodies like unique characters, mobile suits, and warships. It’s good to keep these in mind as they can prove to be vital as the game can be quite challenging early-on.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE – Press ‘O’ to Play Battle Animation
Visually, Genesis looks a bit dated. Units are flat sprites placed on an minimally animated, flat grid. The simplistic chessboard design is convenient as it can get quite messy considering how large scale battles tend to be in. That said, the game is not without it’s flair. Unlike most tactical RPGs like the Disgaea series where animations are performed by the in-game sprites themselves, Genesis goes a different route.
When an attack is performed, the game shifts into a dynamic 3D battle scene. Seeing my super deformed units perform incredibly stylish attacks was rather entertaining. Like a weird blend of cool and adorable that was just a delight to watch. After a dozen or so hours, it can get a bit repetitive, and since the game evoked a lot of grinding, I found myself just skipping the animation and only using it whenever there’s a new unit or skill I have yet seen.
Genesis’ visuals was never a problem. The game just never used the full capacity of what the PS4 has to offer, and a huge part of it, I think, is because the game is cross-platform with the PlayStation Vita. The longer I played, the more I realized that this was a Vita game. Everything it had to offer just made more sense on a handheld. So it’s unfortunate that the game isn’t cross-buy. You’d have to purchase both games which seems excessive considering the only real benefit is cross-saving.
Bandai Namco wastes no time in releasing a cornucopia of Gundam games for this generation, and SD Gundam G-Generation Genesis is one that caters to fans of the series looking for an ideal tactical role-playing experience. If that description fits your bill, Genesis offers an explosive amount of content that won’t disappoint. Although, if you have a PlayStation Vita, I recommend getting that version. Not just because handhelds have proven to be the perfect avenue for tactical RPGs, but also because despite the overwhelming number of ‘G’s it takes to abbreviate this game, SDGG-GG on the PlayStation 4 can be a bit underwhelming.
Special thanks to Bandai Namco Entertainment Asia for making this review happen. For more game reviews, news, and updates, keep it here on FlipGeeks!