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SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online Review!
Mobile Suit Gundam exploded onto American shores in the early 2000’s. Models, figures, and video games were our first taste of this epic saga. Like the stock market though, Gundam’s popularity began to waver and Gundam merchandise seemed to disappear with it. In Japan though, Gundam had been going strong since the late 70’s! Gundam video games came in all shapes and sizes. From the early Nintendo Entertainment System all the way up to the current generation systems, Gundam has come in the form of fighting games, action games, and even some of the best strategy games I’ve ever played. Back in the good ol’ USA though, a new Gundam game after let’s say around 2005 was pretty unusual. That’s where SD Gundam Online comes in!
To many Gundam fans, the term “SD” should be pretty familiar. For new comers and those just generally curious though, I’ll explain just what makes a Gundam “SD”. SD refers to the style in which the game is presented; it stands for “Super Deformed”. General anime fans will also recognize this as “Chibi”. A super deformed anime character will have exaggerated features, namely a very small body and very large head. Even though you would usually find SD style games to be a tad on the cute side, some have been quite the opposite. Some SD Gundam games have recreated many of the shows climactic battles and even the deaths in which were the result.
SD Gundam Online offers players the chance to pilot their favorite mobile suits from Gundam’s very robust history and either aid other players in taking on missions or going head to head in player vs. player matches. In the beginning of the game you are given a brief tutorial on controlling your mobile suit; those used to third person shooters will adapt very quickly. After this, it’s time to get some action! Your first mobile suit is a training mobile suit which players will want to replace very quickly. There are several options for just starting out. Co-op missions will be the backbone of those just starting since it seems training mobile suits cannot do single player missions at all. After a few missions and earning some points, the player has the ability to go shopping or try their luck in the “Capsule” machine. Chance will be the biggest player here because much like a gumball machine it’s all random! The player must select which group of six mobile suits to try their luck at. Once the decision is made, the player will receive one of the six mobile suits from that group. Each group usually has two rare mobile suits and four common mobile suits. Each has a rank ranging from C to S; S being the top ranked suits. Aside from mobile suits, players can also purchase paint to customize their suits, stickers, and helpful in game items.
The missions are pretty good, and lets face it, they have to be since you’ll spend most of your time replaying them for experience to enhance your pilot and suit. Some are single mission based while others are divided into several objectives. A team of up to four players will put their skills to the test in these missions. A single person will be the master of a “Room” and have full control over what mission is played, what difficulty setting, and who is allowed to stay if someone is being less than helpful. One can join other players already waiting in rooms or create their own and invite friends to play alongside. As I stated before there are single player missions for those who just want to give it a go solo. There a far less to choose from in single player. As opposed to the five starting co-op missions there are only two starting single player missions. These missions are generally longer though and usually have a lot more enemies.
SD Gundam Online while not being the most impressive graphically game is still pretty to look at. The mobile suits are represented very well in model and color. The game has a very blocky and jagged look to it but since most mobile suits are blocky and jagged, it’s a style that fits the game very well.
The audio department is where the game falls flat. Gundam has had some very memorable music but what we are given is a very generic sound-alike type of music. While being upbeat and suited for the in-game battles, players are better off turning the music down and popping on some more preferred tunes. This brings us to the voice acting. From the droning voice of the default operator to the laughs of the eager female officer ( HA HA, that’s how she laughs. It’s even kinda spaced out, it’s awful!) ; one has to wonder if the actors and actresses were plucked off the street and told to mildly do an okay job. That aside, the sound effects actually save the audio… A little. Even though they are classic sounds ripped from the mobile suits and their weapons, it sounds exactly like that. The quality of these effects has a definite hint of “All we did was put the recorder to the speaker” to it.
Overall SD Gundam is a fantastic Gundam experience for hardcore fans and newcomers alike! It was released on Dec. 1st and is very obviously in it’s infancy. With undoubtedly more mobile suits to be added and more missions to embark on, it’s easy to be excited for the future of this little online game. Oh! I think I forgot to mention the best part about it. It’s a FREE online game! So if the idea of dueling robots online with friends even sounds the slightest bit entertaining, you have no excuse not to check out SD Gundam Online at www.sdgo.ogplanet.com!