Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is every bit as half-hearted a game as its unimaginative title suggests. This mash-up of franchises is ultimately little more than a lame cash-grab, an excuse to put two fairly popular brand names--Koei's Dynasty Warriors beat-em-up series that lets you play as ancient Chinese warlords fighting hordes of enemy soldiers, and Gundam, a long-running Japanese anime and toy line that stars giant mechs and the space jockeys that pilot them--on a box and extract dump trucks full of cash in the process. In Japan it clearly worked, since the game hung out atop the country's sales charts for a good long time. Now Dynasty Warriors: Gundam has hit North America; thus, a whole new audience can experience its limp, repetitive action, its insufferable characters and storylines, and its unflinching dedication to mediocrity.
As much as Dynasty Warriors: Gundam seems like it ought to be aimed squarely at the audiences of both franchises, in reality, the scale tilts toward the hardcore Gundam fan. The game draws several of its storylines from a wide variety of Gundam animes and pretty much expects you to know who all these characters are, as well as what's going on, without even a hint of explanation. If you don't already know a whole bunch about the Universal Century timeline, Elpeo Puru's relationship with Judau Ashita, or what the significance of some guy repeatedly calling himself the "King of Hearts" is, turn around and run screaming away from Dynasty Warriors: Gundam because this game is not for you.
That sound you hear when playing Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, the pesky noise in the back of your head that sounds a bit like jingling change mixed with giddy laughter, is the sound of Namco-Bandai and Koei swimming in piles of money.
On the flipside, anyone who is nuts for the various Gundam anime series will probably cackle with glee at all the crazy suits, characters and stories tossed into this game. Even some non-Gundam fans might be able to just ignore the barely coherent storylines and grating voice work (thankfully, you can turn the Japanese language track on, which makes the storylines only slightly more incomprehensible than they are in English) simply for the promise of being able to take control of a giant mobile suit to wreck a gaggle of enemy Gundams. However, regardless of which camp you fall into, once you actually get your hands on the controls and bust through a few missions, that promise is quickly broken.
Save for the swapping of ancient warriors for future warriors, this might as well be any of the dozen or so previous Dynasty Warriors sequels from the past several years. Combat is practically untouched, except now, every playable character can fire guns. Too bad they're worthless. Guns almost never seem to hit anything or do significant enough damage even when powered up over time. Beyond that, you're left to mash on the same two attack buttons over and over again against hordes of mostly ineffectual enemies, periodically tossing in a special attack. Though none of the playable characters play identically to one another, the combat is similar enough among all of them that you pretty much end up with the same boring experience time and time again.
Mission objectives don't help. They rarely extend far beyond the scope of beating up everyone in an area, beating up a specific enemy, rescuing a friend from getting beat up, or getting from one part of the map to the other in a set amount of time while beating up enemies along the way. Combat is a bit flashier visually than any of the previous Dynasty Warriors games, specifically the effects that fly from the various guns and swords of each mobile suit. But the character models aren't remarkably detailed, and the battle arenas are the same sort of barren, poorly textured wastelands as in all the previous Dynasty Warriors games. The one wrinkle is that periodically you find yourself battling in space, but the space levels are even more pathetic, as all you do in them is float around on a flat plane while some ships sit still in the background. Without much visual pizzazz to make up for the painfully simplistic combat, it doesn't take long for the proceedings to get old.