I’m starting to think that it was a bad idea to get Gundam Battle Universe. It’s like handing a junkie a pound of China White and saying, “Enjoy!” Only, instead of China White, it’s Gundam. And it’s me who’s strung-out on the couch at 4:30 in the morning, eyes glued to my PSP as I try to take down Amuro in a Zaku. (Protip: Don’t get anywhere near him. Seriously.)
Ahead of me stretches a game that spans both sides of three full television series, two OVA series, and a theatrical movie. The only equivalent I can think of is LucasArts losing their heads and making a starfighter combat game that encompasses not just the original trilogy, but pretty much everything up to the Yuuzhong Vong invasion. Oh, and every single character and fighter that has ever had so much as a cameo in anything would be unlockable. That’s Gundam Battle Universe, and it does almost everything right. They even thought to make the mission titles like episode title cards — complete with the music chime that came from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Never underestimate the importance of tiny details like these for a nutcase such as myself. They’re important, damnit.
Of course, Gundam Battle Unvierse also happens to embody a Namco Bandai trait that’s both admirable and infuriating. It’s infuriating because they’re perfectly content to throw shit at the wall and hope something sticks. When it does stick, as it occasionally does when you make five Gundam games a year, sequels are guaranteed. Lots of them. But while they mostly only make iterative changes to their sequels, they do often manage to avoid making the same mistake twice, which is actually more than can be said for quite a few instances of Resident Evil. The net result is Gundam Battle Universe, which is so superior to the first iteration of the series that they’re barely the same game. That, in case you were wondering, is the admirable part.
On the other hand, what this basically means is that if you want value for your money when buying from Namco Bandai, you just have to be patient enough to wait for the inevitable “universe” edition. Unless, of course, you’re a Tales fans, in which case, good luck to you. As for me, I’ll call the wait I didn’t even know I had a fair trade-off, because right now I feel like the luckiest junkie in the universe. Star Wars fans wish they had it this good.