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Gundam Evolution PC Network Test preview: Things are off to a great start

Gundam Evolution recently held a PC Network Test; here's how it came out (Image via Bandai Namco)
Gundam Evolution recently held a PC Network Test; here's how it came out (Image via Bandai Namco)

Gundam Evolution is a 6v6 hero shooter, and a PC Network Test was recently held. The free-to-play shooter gave fans access to the full roster and a few game modes. They also teased how monetization will work. The developers have given access to some of the “pods”, essentially loot boxes.

Unfortunately, most of my footage was lost due to an error with Nvidia Shadowplay. However, that is likely not an issue with the game itself. While there’s still a way to go before the game is ready, I had a blast, despite losing quite a bit.

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Gundam Evolution offered the full cast and three game modes

I appreciate that Gundam Evolution’s developers gave everyone access to the whole cast, including the just-announced Gundam Exia and the Marasai (UC). Players were given the currency to unlock them, which was a positive.

As a casual shooter, the first-person shooter felt incredible. The game hit me with so much nostalgia as a Gundam fan. The attention to detail on the mobile suits was exceptional, and all of the mobile suits felt good in each of the three modes available so far.

Game Modes available in PC Network Test

  • Point Capture
  • Domination
  • Destruction

Point Capture has players claiming objectives with Attack/Defend rounds. Domination reminded me of Paladins’ Alpha test. Players capture points that randomly change, one by one. Destruction is also familiar to FPS fans, where players plant a Megacharge (bomb) on two points, and the defending team has to defuse them.

I was hoping for some Team Deathmatch! I appreciate the importance of these modes as classic FPS modes. They demand teamwork if players want to stack wins. But I am hoping for larger maps - or even these maps with TDM instead.

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Gameplay is solid on the controller and keyboard/mouse. The tutorial teaches you everything necessary to get into gameplay, and I appreciate that. Players can also use the firing range to get used to the various mobile suit’s actions.


The mobile suits themselves need some order in Gundam Evolution

As this is a Hero Shooter, the various mobile suits will all ultimately fulfill a role on the team. There are snipers, supports, close-range gunners, melee units, and some that can sort of tank damage. Damage comes in hot and heavy in Gundam Evolution, and it’s not uncommon for a mobile suit to get one shot (thanks, DOM Trooper Bazooka).

However, one change I sincerely hope comes to the game is that the various mobile suits require some organization. The “support” mobile suits should be grouped with snipers and other different hero shooter archetypes. At least all of the mobile suits were fun to play in, even those I couldn’t wrap my head around - primarily melee suits like Barbatos.

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I spent most of my time playing the Methuss, Gundam, and either Guntank or the Zaku II. I hope to see some organization of mobile suits in future tests/updates on the game.


How was the gameplay, though? Fast and furious

The most important part of the game is the actual combat. How was it? In one word: Intense! If players stay in one place too long, they’re playing a dangerous game. Mobile suits constantly want to be moving around because lasers and rockets are being shot at all times.

Mobile suits take quite a lot of damage in combat, with a few exceptions. The Sazabi felt pretty sturdy, especially if it acquired some armor/shielding. If a player gets downed, they’re disabled for a few seconds and can be revived by an ally. If the enemy is still in firing range, they can destroy that player instead, so the time for repairs is very slim.

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The thruster/dash system is excellent and can do a lot to create extraordinary moments. It’s satisfying to dash away from incoming damage, or come around a corner, dash into an enemy, stun and defeat them. Every mobile suit feels unique, but not all attacks are equal, which is fine.

The RX-78-2 (Gundam)’s hammer, for example, felt incredibly awkward to hit people with. I was surprised that the game doesn’t include melee strikes for everyone. However, it makes sense since several melee weapons are used in specific abilities. Sazabi throws his hook, and the Zaku II uses his Heat Hawk for the ultimate ability.

I’d still like to see mobile suits that have beam sabers be able to use them in melee, but that’s a personal preference. Combat was still incredible and fast-paced, which I was hoping for. The melee units feel like their attacks lack some weight, but they certainly hit hard. I can’t express how many times Barbatos obliterated me out of nowhere.

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Gundam Evolution performed great on my Nvidia 1080, to boot. I didn’t experience any lag, and the few problems I had were my own doing. I had an issue where I couldn’t join games at first and realized that it wasn’t committing my mobile suit to Sortie on a controller. I had to use my mouse to click the Sortie button, but that’s fine for now.


The Battle Pass and potential monetization

Gundam Evolution is a free-to-play game, so it has a Battle Pass and will likely have other monetization. Players could not spend money in the Network Test, so there was one track on the Battle Pass. It features weapon skins, mobile suit skins, MVP animations, voices, stamps, weapon charms, etc.

So there’s a lot of customization here. Most of the skins are pretty bland, but it’s still early. There are plenty of variations of mobile suits or specific character mobile suits that can be used as skins.

Gundam Evolution has some skins that genuinely stand out for fans of the franchise (Image via Bandai Namco)
Gundam Evolution has some skins that genuinely stand out for fans of the franchise (Image via Bandai Namco)

One example used in Gundam Evolution was the Zaku II’s “Char Aznable’s Zaku II”, which is in the game as a skin. I hope to see deeper customization once the game launches, but I like what I’ve seen so far.

As far as monetization hints, we saw the drop pods. They feature three items each time you use a ticket to unlock them. I appreciate that they showed the percentage chance of each item in a pod, and my luck was pretty good, to be frank.


Final thoughts: It’s looking good

Even in defeat, I still had a ton of fun playing this (Image via Bandai Namco)
Even in defeat, I still had a ton of fun playing this (Image via Bandai Namco)

I appreciate that Gundam Evolution takes people quitting seriously. The wait times for dropping a match get pretty long, and those people cannot join games until their previous match ends. Then, the penalty timer begins.

I loved how the game played, even though I didn't dominate many matches. I appreciate the teamwork the game requires and how good each mobile suit feels. I like that it isn't just the main character mobile suits. It also offers some of the more common, mass-produced suits. It's very true to the anime franchise, and I love it.

The game still has a way to go, and I'm hoping more mobile suits get revealed as the game goes on. I still have questions about monetization, other modes, and maps, but so far? Gundam Evolution is looking very good.

Note: Access was provided by Bandai Namco.

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Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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