Like many children of the 90’s, I grew up watching Gundam anime shows. The drama, the action, the wicked awesome mobile suit designs, it was hard not to get hooked in on it all.
So, naturally, I was pretty hyped to get a chance to mess with OGPlanet’s SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, the western localization of the eastern F2P third-person shooter MMO game based off of the legendary franchise. From what I was able to gather, the game is pretty much the same as its original rendition that is popular over in the Asian territories.
Players will be able to choose from a constantly growing lineup of mobile suits, all of them shrunk down to chibi-size, and hailing from just about every Gundam series to date. From the original Gundam show, to modern airings such as Gundam Seed, and everything else in between, there’s a mobile suit version for everyone that’s a fan of the iconic franchise. Even better, the studio plans on releasing a steady flow of monthly content updates that add additional mobile suit options.
SDGCFO also allows for some pretty in depth customization options. Not only can you level up your units and boost their stats, you can also place decals to their bodies and add custom paint jobs to help you stand out from the rest. Players can also utilize blueprints to create rarer, more powerful versions of the standard Gundams. The regular updates are also planned to include additional customization options, so players should be able to have a bountiful supply of ways to create their unique mobile suit.
In combat, each mobile suit falls under three different categories in a Rock-Paper-Scissors system, which determines their individual playstyle. Rock types are melee proficient, Paper are long-ranged units, and Scissors are a balance of the two. Each of these counters another, creating a unique type of balance amongst units, and also helps players find a specific playstyle.
Playing as Shining Gundam, a melee-type unit from the incredibly awesome G Gundam series (seriously, go watch that, it’s over-the-top action at its finest), I was able to use simple punch attacks to wreck enemies, while using machine gun and blaster fire to pick off targets from afar. Each Gundam also has access to a devastating special attack that is related to that mobile suit, and Shining Gundam is no different, utilizing the iconic Shining Finger attack. Landing the attack initiates a cutscene that shows the attack, adding a bit of a “Gotcha bitch!” factor in PvP. Both the attacker and receiver also can’t be attacked by outside forces during this, so the person that gets hit is forced to suck up the damage, and it keeps unwanted ganking to a minimum.
The game boasts both PvE solo and co-op modes, along with several different PvP oriented formats. Our co-op sessions involved myself and two other journalists taking out three humongous Psycho Gundams for one mission, while another had use defending a cylinder tower. Both of these scenarios are based off of various events and locations from Gundam history, the former being a scene from Zeta Gundam. As we figured out really quick, teamwork is required for these missions, especially in the higher difficulty levels, where the enemy AI is faster to respond to attacks, and is more aggressive.
For the people that want to bash on human opponents, PvP is where it’s at. There are several different modes, including the obligatory deathmatch and team deathmatch modes. Boss mode, I found, was definitely one of the more enjoyable ones, in which one person on each team is designated as the “Boss”, and has boosted stats. Killing the boss grants the team additional points, and transfers the title over to another random player. The underlying strategy here is to help defend your own Boss, while attacking the enemy’s in turn. It creates a really dynamic gameplay scenario, as we all enjoyed our momentary moments as the Boss character before getting gained up on by the smaller units.
While our online gameplay sessions didn't really have any issues with lag, signifying a pretty strong network code, at least for pre-release, the game wasn’t without its share of quirks. Several cases occurred where one of our guys ended up not being able to connect to a game for whatever reason, forcing a restart of his program and sending everyone else back to the lobby. It was one of the few oddities we encountered during our entire playtime, and it should hopefully be ironed out by the game’s release for NA.
SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online was a success over in the east, and it’s looking to have a strong showing for its western release as well. The audience is most definitely there, and the team is working on making sure as many people can enjoy it as possible. Look for it to go live in early December.