Replay Value: 1
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Number Of Players: 1-6
Editor's Note - As Gundam Versus itself is a work in progress, PSXE will be revisiting this title in the weeks to come to assess any future changes to core aspects such as online gameplay. If you are interested in this title, please stay tuned for more updates in the following weeks.
The Gundam series is always one that interested me, but the barrier to entry was generally too high, given that almost none of the games were ever released in North America. I was particularly interested in Gundam Versus specifically because it is one of only two games in the franchise to get a western release, and the only one this generation. High speed online mech action? What more could you ask for!? My anticipation quickly turned to disappointment, however, upon realizing that this game is basically unplayable.in its current state.
"Sychronizing Connection" might seem like a cool sci-fi term the game uses, but the decidedly less cool reality is that it's one of only two terms you need to know in order to understand this game's most fundamental problem. Gundam Versus is built almost entirely around online play of various modes, and the online play simply does not work, most of the time. This game released late last month, and I've tried countless times over the past two weeks to run the game through its paces, or simply make it work at all. It doesn't, because the underlying netcode the game uses is broken. Of the 25 or so matches I attempted, I was able to complete only two, and even those matches were riddled with gameplay-breaking lag. The other 95% of the time, the game simply informed me that it was trying to "synchronize connection" over and over before dumping me out of the match and claiming that some unspecified communication error had occurred.
So I would go play some Destiny 2 with friends for awhile, without incident, and go back to Gundam Versus and receive the same error. The next day I'd try again, get booted again, play something else online, only to try Gundam Versus again and receive the same error. I spent time online looking for troubleshooting tips, but none of the generic suggestions helped and there is nothing specific about this game, only complaints from all over the internet seeking the same answers I was.
Gundam Versus has an almost staggering number of mech 'suits' to choose from, to the point that picking one initially is almost intimidating, especially since you're given little in the way of useful information to differentiate between them all and what they can do. You have ranged attacks, melee attacks, dash attacks, and aerial options. Once you find one that seems to suit your play style and personal aesthetic choices (as at least 20% of this game is about choosing the suit that suits your style best), you can select from myriad online battle options, including 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 3 vs 3, Casual, Ranked, and more. Of course, none of these modes work, so the bevy of options is symbolic at best.
There is a single player component, but it is remarkably bare bones, offering little motivation to play through as it's nothing but a series of quick battles against the CPU in limited arenas, most of which are over before they even really get going. Given the variety of options in the various suits, battles were often over before I even figured out what I could do with my current suit. There is no narrative, no exposition, no purpose. I imagine it mostly exists to hone your skills before taking new suits with new abilities into battle online. With the online component being fundamentally broken, though, there's nothing the single player can do to salvage this mess.
A Communication Error Occurred
These repetitive images are not an accident; they are designed to illustrate just how frustrating it is to see, over and over, the fatal flaw in an otherwise potentially great game.
It really is a shame that Gundam Versus has so many technical problems. It's obvious that there's a lot of content here that a true mech action fan could spend dozens of hours exploring, and as one of those true mech action fans who never got enough of the Zone of Enders, I am beyond disappointed at my inability to dig in and see just how deep the game might be. More than that, I have a feeling that the game's poor critical reception and limited commercial success will spell doom for any future attempts to bring this franchise to western audiences, which is a shame, because it probably deserved better.