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"Why can’t you see that you’re wasting your precious talents?" Char Aznable
In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3, there is no problem that cannot be solved with the careful application of X, X, X, Y. However, monotony isn’t the killer here. Instead, it’s the incoherent plot and the head-banging, laugh-out-loud dialogue the game insists upon you that will murder your soul long before monotony sets in.
"Only humans have a God. The power to transcend the now… the Inner God called possibility" Banagher Links
As the third game in the series, there is one thing that DW: Gundam 3 does exceedingly well, mobile suit fanservice. As a Gundam fan (especially of the U.C. universe), it’s nice to see some characters like Kou Uraki and Anavel Gato (both from 0083: Stardust Memory) who haven’t been in any Gundam games since the release of Encounters in Space for the PS2. Its also pretty cool to see characters and mobile suits that never made it into previous releases, or those from anime series that never made it to the US, like Duo Maxwell in the Gundam Deathscythe Hell (though sadly not the custom version from Endless Waltz), and Garrod Ran in the Double X (from After War Gundam X). Another nice touch is that most (though not all) of the English voice actors reprise their roles for the game (a feat that Bandai could not achieve for the dubbing of the Zeta Gundam anime series).
A graphical change also works in the game’s favor. Abandoning the more realistic style of previous Dynasty Warriors: Gundam games, Koei decided to utilize cel-shading, which greatly enhances the visual aesthetic by making a game based on a long running anime series actually look like its source material.
However, a facelift and fanservice cannot completely mask the stench of what is essentially an 11-year-old game.
Gameplay wise, DW: Gundam 3 isn’t all that different from DW: Gundam 2, which wasn’t that different from DW: Gundam, which wasn’t much different from Dynasty Warriors 6, which was very similar to Dynasty Warriors 5, which, when you really think about, didn’t change all that much from Dynasty Warriors 2, a game released as a launch title for the PS2 back in 2000. That’s 11 years of X, X, X, Y (or square, square, square, triangle)!
Enemy AI is still as brainless as ever. Enemies mostly just stand by idly waiting to be slaughtered. The other enemy pilots are slightly more aggressive, but most of their attacks will end up clashing with your own, triggering an easy QTE, which leaves them stunned.
That’s not to say that there isn’t anything new in DW: Gundam 3. Now, you can choose a partner who will come out to do a special attack, and you can choose an operator whose only function is to yell out ridiculous lines at inappropriate times.
Areas have also been slightly tweaked, as there are now areas with catapults that once captured can launch you into other select areas, while some areas boost your partner gauge.
While these changes are superficial at best, the biggest change to DW: Gundam 3, aside from the graphical overhaul, is the plot.
"The vitality of youth is cultivated in failure. I must taste failure someday!" Treize Khushrenada
Wait…This Game Has a Story?
Unlike previous games in the series, DW: Gundam 3 features an entirely original story line, where all of the mobile suit pilots are thrown onto an unknown planet, and have to work together to figure out what happened and how to go home. While this could have been a pretty cool multi-dimensional crossover that would appeal to fans’ never ending rumination to the esoteric question, “Who would win in a fight?”, the end result is just a bunch of talking heads, endless incoherent dialogue, and a lot of X, X, X, Y.
The original anime story lines aren’t completely gone however. You can still run through the entire U.C. timeline, and also the alternate universe timelines. Doing so will net you unlockable portraits, such as Char in his mask from the original series, or a dolled up Loran in a fancy green dress (and yes, Loran is a guy).
There are also a bunch of other mission types that have no plot at all, and only exist to provide some more X, X, X, Y action, and to kill my soul with the god-awful, incoherent dialogue the characters like to blurt out in the middle of battle.
"I believe in you. I felt a light emanating from your soul." Tiffa Adill
WTF Did You Just Say to Me?
If you haven’t noticed by now, all of the captions, including the quote at the top, are all actual quotes from the game. Also, these quotes actually make less sense in the context of the game, because they are only heard after clearing an area, or defeating an enemy pilot.
While all of the characters’ dialogue is necessarily terrible, I’d like to point out that Banagher Links has, by far, the worst dialogue in the entire game. With lines like, “No matter how much pain we feel, we can’t close our hearts to it,” or, “the beacon of possibility only requires a single ray of hope to keep burning,” Banagher is assaulting my brain with a brand of incoherence not seen in games since whatever happened at the end of Final Fantasy XIII.
However, what truly frightens me about the dialogue in this game, is that clearly, someone wrote it, a few people probably read it over, and someone in a booth said it, possibly multiple times, and at no point did anyone stop and say, “this makes no sense.”
With the same monotonous gameplay as every other Dynasty Warriors game, with it’s nonsensical story and incoherent ham-fisted dialogue Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 emerges as Koei’s diatribe against your soul. They want to hollow us out, so that we are as brain dead as the AI in this game, because that is the only way they can keep selling the same game since 2000 for another decade.