If you haven’t checked out our other recent first impressions, QooApp was recently invited to try out a bunch of games at Bandai Namco’s Hong Kong Office. Because of that, I was given the chance to try out SD Gundam Battle Alliance early on the PS5! The play session allowed me to take a look at the game’s early story sections, and experience a couple levels of the game with the core game mechanics available.
Even though the game’s highly touted co-op feature was disabled during mysession, SD Gundam Battle Alliance is shaping up to be a fun hack and slash mobile suits game, with plenty of fan service and suits for Gundam fans new and old.
SD Gundam Battle Alliances releases on Nintendo Switch, PS4,PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam on August 25.
*The images we captured from the preview were taken from an early Traditional Chinese version of the game, and Japanese screenshots provided by Bandai Namco.
▍SD Gundam Battle Alliance’s Story
I got a look at a couple of stages of SD Gundam Battle Alliance, and a first look at the game’s intro sequence. Minor spoilers are ahead if you want to experience it for yourself.
The game begins with you as a nameless pilot of the Earth Federation in the UC0079 universe. Whilst in the middle of a fierce battle, a bizarre space anomaly takes you and your support, Juno Astarte away from the battlefield you are sent back in time to the battle of Odessa just weeks prior, but Amuro is nowhere to be found!
As you scramble to defend a vulnerable White Base, Zeon Liutenant Ramba Ral appears to from the ridgeline to attack White Base, but as soon as he mobilizes he is taken away by the same anomaly and in his place is the ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos! What seems like a new ally, quickly turns into a powerful new foe, as Augus, unsure of what to do decides to attack everything in sight!
After fending off Augus, he is taken away again by the same anomaly and the day is won. Your mysterious new ally Sakura Slash explains that the timelines of several Gundam series have been broken, resulting in bizarre anomalies and sending mobile suits to places they do not belong in, and it’s up to you to stop the anomaly. Afterward, you can pick between stages based on events in certain Gundam Series, meeting up with famous characters and fighting alongside, or against them.
While SD Gundam Battle Alliance isn’t going to be winning any awards for its writing, the premise and execution did succeed in keeping me interested in the plot.. After finishing the first levels I was able to pick between the story of the Iron-Blooded Orphan series and Gundam Wing with Barbatos as an ally. I couldn’t wait to see what classic battle I was going to relive from this perspective, and which Mobile Suit I’d get to fight next!
▍A Rare Chance To Fight As the SD Gundams
When you think of SD Gundam games, usually you fill in the blanks with “G Generation” after it since in recent memory most games involving the chibified Gundams pit them in a grid with Tactical RPG gameplay. SD Gundam Battle Alliance instead opts for a rare change of pace, bringing the “small” Gundams into an action game genre allowing you to control them freely by flying, cutting, and shooting enemies in real time!
As you’d expect in a game about Gundams, the game looks fantastic. Each mobile suit is lovingly created in its SD form with unique weapons, melee combos, and special attacks referencing the show they belong to. Because of that, each suit controls differently from the other, excelling in different play styles and ranges. You can also develop mobile suits after clearing certain conditions, and customize them with different buffs to their gear such as faster reload times beam rifles to tailor a suit to your play style!
SD Gundam Battle Alliance’s combat is simple but satisfying to play. Each mobile suit comes with a variety of its own weapons, melee combos, and special attacks. Mobile suits also share a launcher and a sweep attack by holding the attack buttons, allowing you to continue a combo on an enemy in the air, or create some breathing room when you’re getting overwhelmed! You can even parry attacks from bosses, giving you valuable time to counter for massive damage.
The game’s still a good ride if you’re playing solo since you can swap out your allies with whatever suits and characters you have unlocked. They also carry over your upgrades, giving you an incentive to max out more suits both for testing and for your allies. Units also attack differently when using the powerful SPA or Special Attack, causing you and your partners to simultaneously attack the enemy with a barrage of hellfire, or opt for a more cinematic combo performed by your mobile suit!
Because Battle Alliance is marketed as an experience with friends and since you can tackle the game’s missions and story mode together, the game’s combat scenarios may be easier with friends. I mention this because at times the AI would sometimes veer away from me during battle, or not effectively draw the attention away from certain foes, though this may be tweaked in the final release
▍So How’s SD Gundam Battle Alliance So Far?
SD Gundam Battle Alliance brings back the joy of simple beat-em-up action bundled up in the Gundam series’ signature spectacle, and years of Nostalgia. Though the combat was a little simple for me, I think as the game progresses, the varied enemy types, mobile suits, and customization options will allow for more thoughtful combat scenarios. Its simplicity does make it very easy to pick up and play with friends, which is always appreciated in a growing landscape of PVP games.
With fun combat, loads of customization options, and a crossover story where anything can happen, SD Gundam Battle Alliance is shaping up to be a fun romp for fans of the Gundam series new and old. While it is a shame that the game doesn’t support local co-op, if the online functionality is smooth on launch, the game may prove to be a fun co-op hack and slash game to play with friends and all types of Gundam fans.
SD Gundam Battle Alliances launches on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam on August 25, 2022.