Gundam: Climax U.C.

September 7, 2008

I’ve got yet another little game review here. Mobile Suit Gundam: Climax U.C. came out in March ’06, as another entry in the long line of Gundam shooters on the PS2. I got it a few months after that, but never actually got around to playing it. The problem was, I also got A.C.E. 2 around that same time, and compared to it every other mecha shooter seemed disappointing. Looking for something to do recently, I dug it back out of my pile of PS2 games and decided to give it an actual play through.

The premise of the game is to allow you to play major events from throughout the Universal Century timeline. Missions start with the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and hit everything through Gundam F91. Each of the individual series are short, but all together there’s a lot to do in the main Chronicle Mode. After finishing each main character’s story, you’re also given the chance to replay missions from other pilots’ point of view. As it stands, the only Chronicle Mode mission I haven’t done is Sazabi vs. Nu Gundam. I mopped the floor with Sazabi when doing it as Amuro, and it goes the same way when I try to do it as Sazabi. There’s also an Extra Mode, unlocked after beating all the main stories of Chronicle Mode. This gives a number of standalone scenarios. One of the best ones I’ve played so far is one where you take out all of the kids from ZZ. Oh, is that ever satisfying. I hate them all.

The first thing that you notice about Climax U.C., and what threw me off at first, is its somewhat unique combat system. Rather than switch weapons, or assign them to different buttons, each MS has 3 attacks accessed by charging the square button to different levels. For example, Zeta has a rapid fire beam rifle at level 1, the wrist mounted missiles at level 2, and the hyper mega launcher at level 3. I’m not sure I like this style, as it removes a lot of the tactics involved in combat. Generally, you’re just trying to charge the strongest possible attack, rather than tactically use your weapons based on their strengths and weaknesses. The lock on system is also terrible, since it just flips through targets in some random order. The way it should work, and the way most competent games work, is to target the nearest enemy. That way, if something is pounding on you right in front of your face, you can target it and retaliate quickly rather than flip through every target in range. I also never did figure out how to move on the Z axis in space missions. Enemies can do it, but damned if I can figure out how.

Much as with A.C.E. 1, I did eventually get used to the controls and get into the game. However, this is also a case where I can’t recommend it when there are other, superior entries in the series. I’d suggest Encounters in Space or any of the VS. series games for your PS2 Gundam fix. This does represent some unique opportunities, however, like playing the Norris/Gouf Custom scenario from 08th MS, or getting to play as the F91 (mediocre movie, great mobile suit). Anyone who’s suffered through Gundam F91 on the Super Famicom can appreciate that. My question is, where the hell is V Gundam? It’s UC, it’s at least better than ZZ, so where’s the love? Is my only option to use the V2 in the series’ own lackluster Super Famicom game?

In summation, buy this if you’re dying to play some of the rarer scenarios/units present in it, or if you’re really dying for a simpler, more arcade like experience than the other PS2 games. Honestly though, EiS is better… or you should play A.C.E. 2 đŸ™‚

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