Review: I know you can dam a river, and I know you can damn someone in contempt. But, can you really dam a gun? Seems like if you stuff the barrel it explodes in your face.
Robots used to be envisioned as nothing more than a bucket of bolts and wires. Then we gave them eyes. We gave them feelings. Simulating our every whim, we gave them names and weapons to dismantle enemies. We gave them higher reflexes, and other super human characteristics we only wish we could do ourselves. Books, movies, games: They've all proven that robots are more than just machines. What happens when they treat us bad? We treat them even worse. Such is the way of life for Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire's own user-named and customized machine-done Zeon warrior, Robo Scum. Let's see if the heart of an AI can break just as much as the heart of any human can when they buy this pathetic excuse for a PlayStation 3 launch title.
War! The ultimate clashing of two or more sides. Some wars are fought for power, and others for political reasons. The One Year War in Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire's reason? No reason. No discernible reason, that is. It's the year U.C. 0079, of the Universal Century. The Principality of Zeon has invaded the Eastern half of Earth. Either you can defend it using the E.F.F. (Earth Federation Forces), or you can help guide the Zeon to achieve their goal for conquest.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire is unique in that it sucks. It sucks so badly that it makes awful games look less sucky than it does. This level of suckitude doesn't come along every day. But, what do you expect? It's a launch title. The PlayStation 3 is maturing now, growing out of its early days of infancy. Many say you shouldn't reflect upon a system by its launch alone. And you shouldn't. However, shouldn't a platform's launch period be made to be the best that it can anyway? Give reason to want, and owners will come about. Give reason to doubt, and owners will scream and shout. Based on the cult-favorite anime series Gundam, Namco Bandai's action game that's dropping players in the pits of a robot war only adds to the reason why console launches are given a bad rep.
What Crossfire has isn't anything close to a meaningful or original gameplay concept in itself, unless you don't already engage in many games with robots crushing other robots. Crossfire features what essentially boils down as an optional campaign. The game is set in turns from its pre-battle interface. One option from this preemptive war room is choosing to skip to the next day. Amongst other uses, this menu's primary purpose is to repair your damaged team of robots and soldiers who return injured from the games skirmishes. This is Crossfire's one curing method. While there's no harm in skipping days since the game usually allows for ample time before the next mission can begin, it's better not to linger too long. As each individual mission is labeled with an expiration date, wasting too many days healing or the like can lead to mission cancellations and loss of points at that. Finishing missions are what give you points. Game points are distributed amongst a variation of properties within the menu interlude. One such feature is customization for enhancing your army of robots' attacks, defenses, and even new weaponry statistics. Other priorities on the shopping list include purchasing new Mech Suit warriors and pilots to control them, as well as new missions to play. Yes, you'll have to buy the missions. This is the stuff that makes the game at least a little interesting by requiring you to play in order to slowly expand yourself and up to two AI-controlled allies you'll collaborate with.
This would be decent and all if Crossfire were feasibly playable. As game developers have over time learned to create robot games where the controls are less harsh and more fluent, Mobile Suit Gundam reverts back to a time when clunky gameplay ruled the scene. Somehow, enemies that consist of microscopic tanks and other building-sized machines apparently know something you don't: magic. They have super vision. They can lock onto your mecha and fire upon it from a mile away. You can do the same, only you have to shoot from a greater distance (a safe point so they can't use their immobile super sight to spot you). It's also impossible to lock on from this length where you'll have to stop, mechanically turn toward their direction, open the zoom command, start reeling your line of sight toward them, and try to manually fire bullets through a thick fog at vague objects using a crooked sight. This of course depends on if you're not already destroyed by then. Easily, death is certain to happen in just about every mission repeatedly. One interesting aspect that's made it into the game is its area-specific damage. Your mech's arms and head can be removed, and it's extremely rad that you can't shoot your gun anymore as an amputee. Right? Right?
As you start the game out with a basic pellet gun and laser sword as your only weapons, it's no fun when both your arms go missing at times and you have no option but to mindlessly walk around until whenever the enemy decides to finish off the rest of you. Missing parts or not, your mech's energy is quickly depleted anyhow if you're anywhere close at all to enemies that will always outnumber you. Pairing up outmoded controls with but two allies in tow, the game is hard enough defeating the first batch. When that's done, if you could ever get that done, it's always that reinforcements appear. Why do you mock me, God of Gundam?
Whether your objective is to crush an enemy base by destroying its surrounding enemies or to crush any and all enemies in order to advance the story forward, the instrumental goal of the game doesn't actually vary and this trash smells worse because of it. There are a lot more complaints where that came from, though. Like, why is it that you have to tap twice, or three times, or who knows how many just to get the lock-on command to work? Why is firing on a moving enemy so Gundam difficult? Like yourself, other huge robots have these boosters on their backs that let them zip around levels for short spurts of time. If you manually aim your gun in zoom mode right at them, you miss. If you aim ahead of their path, you miss. Why is everything in the game so unwieldy? Walking is sluggish. Using the booster pack only lasts for a few seconds long. Rocketing a distance of about 20 feet, you have to constantly allow the pack to recharge. Then there's the blade mechanics. Somehow, the laser sword is much more effective at killing than the gun is. However, its mechanics result in more blasphemy from its bumbling swipes that can only hit one direction. Imagine having to chase an enemy on the move with this thing. Slowly, you swipe the blade. It misses as they're boosting ahead of you. You catch up, swing again, and a miss! They make it to home plate and end your mission just by showing up at your base's vicinity. Not destroying it, but showing up. Why can't this happen for the player?
Just as console launches are plagued with bad games for their gameplay, the graphics very much contribute to this reason. As often as this happens, the game makers simply must rush a title to launch anyhow to meet with disastrous results like this ugly game. Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire is the most hideous PlayStation 3 game on the market. It doesn't look anything like a PlayStation 3 game should. Except for maybe the location damage that cuts of your Mobile Suit's arm to spring open its insides, and the suit's detail, in which visible definition brings to attention textured structure to every little spot around its mass. Otherwise, the graphics are far beyond incomplete. The battlefields take you to a few vacant terrain selections like a jungle and military base, these locations being sparingly surrounded by trees, shrubbery, mountains, rocks and rivers. Little work went into refining these rustic levels. A jump into the water produces a questionable effect that can only baffle the mind of players. While taking damage in first-person view, the screen pixilates largely with an orange mess that will absolutely blind you. In fact, outside the architecture of your mech suit, much of the game is jagged rubbish. The game looks like a replica of a PC game that was produced in 1999. Furthermore, the stilted motions of moving objects, from delayed blade slashes to lagging robotic twists and turns every which way is entirely too much deprivation to handle. The second you see this game in action is the first and last time you're ever going to shut it off.
It's getting redundant, but this must be said. The sounds of Crossfire do the game little to no justice. As a matter of fact, voice actors worsen the experience of the game. Within the nature of flatly exaggerated death screams and stupid vacuous briefings before each attack only add to Crossfire's nausea. In other news, audio doesn't do much but generate better for its uninspiring mechanical clanks and such or worse for weak spitting noises out of the machineguns. Orchestral filler lightly drifts through the background, as a dramatic score that gives the sound area its most appreciable element. Unfortunately, it's an attribute that doesn't get very far as the music isn't all that memorable enough to make anyone want to rush back to it.