Monday, 28 March 2016

SD Gundam Dimension War (Virtual Boy review)

Developer: Bandai Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Bandai Co., Ltd.
Released: 1995
 

SD Gundam Dimension War is a turn-based strategy game that was only released in Japan.

 
There's eight missions and the objective in each is to wipe out all enemy troops and destroy their two ships. The action starts on the map screen with your team-mates positioned closest to the camera and the opposition at the back. Using a grid you can either advance a few spaces using the Move command, Attack (engage in a real-time, close-quarters battle), Indirect (long-range automated attack), or Ambush (hide and wait behind a meteor or building). The Attack command is interesting as you fully control the combat in a one-on-one fight. These consist of two phases, with the first allowing you to freely fire at your opponent in the distance for ten seconds; for some reason the CPU never moves which seems like a real missed opportunity to have back and forth action. The second phase is a side-by-side battle where you both compete by shooting weapons, attacking with your sword or dodging projectiles by moving into the foreground, middle ground or background. Unfortunately, the combat is poor as it's never obvious if your shots have actually hit the intended target, and it's difficult to dodge bullets as you can't always see which plane they're coming from. I do love that each troop has multiple weapons to use though (some unique to a particular troop) as it allows you to mix up your attacks depending on the proximity. Weirdly, none of the eight missions are remotely challenging and defensive manoeuvres are rarely needed as you can basically just keep attacking. After a while the gameplay becomes highly repetitive and bland as you're essentially doing the same thing for eight long missions, with little to no variety. The system's 3D capabilities aren't put to good use but at least there's some good music and you can save your progress at any time during a battle.

SD Gundam Dimension War is a middle of the road strategy game that does little to offend or impress. The gameplay is too basic with no advancements to the opening mechanics, and even if you decide to grind through all eight missions they pose little challenge and provide minimal satisfaction.
 
 
 
Random trivia: Despite this being a Japanese exclusive, Benjamin Stevens and Greg Stevens from the Planet VB forums have done an excellent English translation.

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