A mecha-oriented franchise that has spawned over 80 video games since its release in 1979, Gundam has solidified the image of giant robot battles in the imagination of society.
The game already had a cult following in Japan and when it reached western shores, there were very few who weren’t won over.
Gundam has successfully crossed over to several mediums, including toys and anime. It has also inspired a new generation of mecha designs and games.
With this list we’ll look at the top five Gundam games in order to find the best PS2 Gundam game.
5. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
|28 February 2008
|PS2, PS3, Xbox 360
Fans of the frenetic battlefields of Dynasty Warriors instantly fell in love with this crossover title.
Released in Japan as Gundam Musou, it followed the Universal Century timeline. Although the PS2 got a port it did include new mobile suits and scenarios.
Following the Dynasty Warriors gameplay formula, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam drew inspiration from the various Gundam anime.
This was great news for anime fans, as it now gave them an additional way to interact with and explore the Gundam universe.
With the Official and Original Modes to choose from, players can either play stories directly related to the anime or follow a brand-new storyline unique to the game.
Gundam units have their own unique attributes with melee and ranged combat abilities. There are also hidden characters to unlock and this greatly adds to the replay value.
Some might find the battles chaotic as there can be so much going on at once. The split-screen mode also limits one’s view and blind-sided attacks happen quite often.
The strategic options are a little too simplistic for those looking for a challenge. All in all, it’s a fun 2-player button masher that does not require much thought to enjoy.
4. MS Saga: A New Dawn
|30 June 2005
Another interesting addition to the Gundam series, MS Saga: A New Dawn added some role-playing elements and was made for an audience unfamiliar with the franchise.
It included turn-based combat similar to that found in the original Final Fantasy series.
It also has a story element with Tristan (Trush in Japan) and his best friend Fritz going on a revenge mission to avenge their destroyed orphanage in order to defeat Vladi Zarth from the Dark Alliance.
Role-playing elements work well in a Gundam game where the player is allowed to collect and swap out parts to customize units. Nothing is off limits and players are free to customize units to their heart’s content.
Weapons are also interchangeable, but bear in mind that for certain moves or specials to be executed, specific weapons must be used.
The plot is not groundbreaking, but the story certainly adds a few interesting twists and introduces new characters to the Gundam universe.
The combat does tend to be slow when compared to your typical Gundam game, on account of the turn-based combat system.
This may be off-putting to those not used to this style of gameplay and if you’re not a fan of Final Fantasy, you may want to give this a pass. The deformed versions of the mobile suits may also not be appealing to some fans.
3. Mobile Suit Gundam: Lost War Chronicles
|1 August 2002
The game that went on to inspire a manga series allows players to take on the role of a soldier in either the EFSF or Principality of Zeon and focuses on the One Year War timeline.
Main characters from the Gundam series make appearances and the player is able to unlock famous mobile suits as the game progresses.
The graphics may not be the best in a Gundam game, but it does the job and doesn’t interfere with the action too much.
The missions are suitably challenging and the terrain makes for some great exploring. Players are also treated to some great in-game anime visuals and the voice-acting is on point.
Controls tend to feel sluggish at times and certain mobile suits may not move as one would expect them to.
The pre-rendered cutscenes are straight out of an anime, but then one is faced with the harsh reality of the sometimes-choppy gameplay graphics.
Talking heads popping up in the top right portion of the screen can also become distracting, especially if one is engaged in a heated combat situation.
The overall color scheme is also somewhat depressing and can sometimes diminish a hard-fought victory.
2. Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo
|21 December 2000
Set in the time period of the One Year War, we follow the stories of the crew of White Base.
The third-person view gameplay has the player lead a mobile suit into battle against multiple enemies in various terrain types. The game also introduces hand drawn animated cutscenes that showcase events from the television series.
In the game you play as Amuro Ray as he is tasked with fending off the onslaught of The Red Comet himself, Char Aznable.
Fans of the series can expect the same kind of gameplay as in previous games with only slight tweaks to the game itself.
The most notable addition is the Tactics Battle mode that becomes available once the main story is completed. This allows the player to comprise the role of a soldier on either side with extra missions and mobile suits to unlock.
As with previous games, the Gundam series could be criticized for its lack of innovation. The gameplay is so similar to previous games that one could be forgiven for mistaking it to be any of the previous titles.
Graphically it doesn’t leave much of an impression as the environments just bleed into this big lumpy mess.
That being said, it is a plus to take part in what is essentially an anime and the game is worth the play through for that aspect alone.
1: Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon
|6 December 2001
|PS2, Dreamcast, Arcade (NAOMI)
Yet another Gundam game with a lengthy title, Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon is considered to be the best PS2 Gundam game in the series.
It follows the Universal Century timeline and chronicles the events of the One Year War. With three gaming modes: Arcade, Versus and Campaign the player can choose between the different characters from the anime.
The game is packed with bonuses, one such is Extra Mode becoming available once the main campaign is completed.
Extra Mode gives the player access to all the best mobile suits on both sides and in addition these mobile suits are also unlocked in Versus and Arcade Modes.
The story is also complete enough to make you feel like you’re inside an episode of Gundam with some of the best voice acting in the series. Dreamcast owners were also in for a treat with one of the best-looking Gundam games in recent years.
While the game may experience the same issues that plagued previous Gundam games such as inferior graphics and repetitive gameplay elements, it is still our top pick for the best PS2 Gundam game and one of the main reasons to own Sony’s machine.
The story pulls you in and your actions have consequences as to how it unfolds. A dream come true for any Gundam or giant robot fan.