Gundam Battle Operation 2’s second Network Test has concluded with generally positive reception. The game is a PlayStation 4 title that has been ported to PC via Steam, still having an active community and seeing frequent updates to this day. Although the game has some outdated aspects, its addictive gameplay loop is proof that good game design is timeless. Since the game is subject to change and several progression elements were tweaked for the sake of the test’s short period, this will only be a first impression of Gundam Battle Operation 2 (PC).
Gundam Battle Operation 2 will be Free-to-Play on Steam on release; the date of which is to be announced later. The PS4/PS5 version is currently available and is also Free-to-Play.
Gameplay – Tactical Mobile Suit Action
Gundam Battle Operation 2 is a 3rd person shooter (TPS) that adopts a 5v5 or 2v2 format. Relative to most TPS on the market, it is more methodical and tactical. Emphasis is placed on map knowledge, sight-line control and ability usage. That said, reaction speed and aim are still important. For instance, certain weapons often require you to lead your shots and you may need to parry an incoming melee attack to survive.
Furthermore, the game has an inertia system. The mechs have a significant amount of momentum and attacks can halt an opponents movement and stagger them. This leads to a very satisfying weight to both combat and movement as shown in this exemplary gameplay by Avenger1_ GBO2.
As for the controls, gamepad inputs are responsive but the control scheme does require some acclimation. It is recommended that you reassign the button functions to your comfort. In contrast, keyboard controls are horrendous as the mouse by default has innate input delay. This can be mitigated by adjusting the sensitivity if necessary, but the developer should fix this before the full release.
In regards to the roster, the game will offer the original pool of Mobile Suits (MS) from the base PS4 game and will add more units in the future. On launch, the mobile suits under the ZZ Gundam and Delta Gundam banner will be the first additional units.
As it stands, the current launch roster is massive, containing MS from the anime, manga and even other Gundam games. There was no shortage of variety as most Mobile Suits had unique and diverse toolkits; there’s probably a MS that fits your exact playstyle, that is already in the game.
New player experience
When first entering Gundam Battle Operation 2, it greets you with a tutorial on the basics of combat. It then offers a wide spread of in-depth optional tutorials and solo encounters. These cover fundamental concepts like movement and parrying, whilst also providing simulated battle situations. The advanced solo missions provide a decent challenge and help players familiarize themselves with common situations. They even provide Mobile Suits as a reward for completion.
The initial tutorial is sufficient enough to ensure that you understand the objective of each match and how to approach a fight, but the advanced tutorials really help the player understand how to be truly effective in a match. Gundam Battle Operation 2 understands that, having an in-game resource is important in ensuring newbies aren’t overwhelmed.
That said, it is not uncommon to find yourself in a terribly one-sided game against veterans. The game’s lack of a surrender options or instant victory conditions, could mean that you will be stuck in a futile match until the game timer ends. If you get frustrated easily by these situations, then you may want to reconsider trying this game.
Despite being presented as a Third-Person Shooter, Gundam Battle Operation 2 has a surprising amount of RPG stat interaction. In this version, players retain the ability to purchase custom parts that improve the performance of a MS. Specifically, they could still tweak their speed, defense, maneuverability and attack just like in the console version. No comment will be made on the time required to obtain these parts, since currency gains were inflated during the Network Test.
Following a guide is recommended as it can be easy to make mistakes. This is because the system encourages experimentation, allowing you install any combination of parts as long as your Suit has the capacity and slots. On a minor note, you can still customize your pilot’s appearance and show them off in the player hub (home base), which is a nice bit of player expression.
Graphic and Sound – “This Is Not an Anime”!?
The game has a somewhat dated appearance. The Mobile Suits are generally fine, as they utilize reflective and defined textures. However, environments are low resolution, with a lot of the ground category maps looking especially dull. It appears that there have been no visual changes made from the console version in terms of upscaling or remastering.
In theory, this should mean the game’s performance should be stellar on PC, since not much processing power is needed for rendering. On an RTX 2060, the game rarely experiences dropped frames although players have reported encountering issues on lower end hardware. Despite this, loading times are lengthy and unfortunately, numerous. Moreover, the netcode is functional but is slightly unresponsive. Even so, these problems were not intrusive and did not hamper the enjoyment of the game.
The sound design remains faithful to the source material with its screeching laser blasts, accompanied by the metallic clashing of Gundanium Alloy. It feels like you’re re-enacting a scene straight out of the 2000’s anime. In addition, the music is orchestral and cinematic with some stand-out tracks featuring electronic, rock and even jazz. If you played previous Gundam games, you may even recognize some of these.
That said, the English voice lines could be grating to some due to some awkward delivery and phrasing. If this is an issue, the voice acting language can be changed in the options menu.
Gundam Battle Operation 2 was previewed on PC (Steam).