Since 2013, Gundam Breaker has offered a breath of fresh air for the popular mech franchise. Unlike other Gundam games, Breaker focuses entirely on Gunpla (plastic Gundam models). Although it took a while before Gundam Breaker's official launch in the West, the day has finally arrived.
In New Gundam Breaker, players assume the role of a new kid at Gunbre High, a school specifically for elite Gunpla Builders. Their core curriculum consists of building mobile suits and partaking in Gunpla battles. The main story focuses on you and a group of friends attempting to dissolve the autocratic student council and snag some sweet Gunpla parts along the way.
Unlike previous installments, which provided a mission-based structure, New Gundam Breaker's story unfolds in the form of a visual novel, which helps set players up for their impending (and epic) mech battles after each cutscene. It is worth noting that there is no English voice acting, which may be offputting for some. As a fan of the Gundam franchise, it’s nice to see the developers try something new and create an entirely new timeline.
The crown jewel of New Gundam Breaker’s story are the characters, a majority of which are women. Each of the five female leads has their own ambitions, Gunpla preferences, and personalities, making them compelling and multidimensional. With all the diversity in the females, it's a bummer that the male characters don't have more depth. Characters like one-dimensional school bully Shougo Morita could have used it. Despite inconsistencies with the overall cast, New Gundam Breaker's narrative definitely captivates.
New Gundam Breaker's most significant selling point is the freedom to build your very own Mobile Suits. The idea of customizing your own Gundam sounds interesting, in concept, but poorly executed in practice. Whether you were changing the color scheme or mixing and matching pieces from your favorite Gundams the customization options, at times felt endless. Unfortunately, this feature is overshadowed due to a majority of the parts felt very similar in terms of performance.
You can acquire new parts in two ways. Most commonly, you can build your collection by picking up parts during missions. You can also wait until the last minute and take as many as you can before you exit the stage. This gives you plenty to choose from, but it will increase your chances of picking up duplicates. Each time you collect a new Gunpla piece you have the option to either equip it immediately, or you can deposit the items into a blue box. You should anticipate playing with a new piece you just picked up because you will lose your arms, legs, and weapons in the midst of all the chaos around you. Fortunately, your mobile suit becomes more durable as you progress through the campaign.
The second method of gaining new parts is purchasing them, although they are costly. The first time I booted up New Gundam Breaker, all I wanted to do was build the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. However, I had to unlock each part in the story mode before they were purchasable. After going through that trouble, I found that I couldn't afford them. Sure, you earn in-game currency as you complete missions depending on what your completion grade is. Sadly, the amount you receive after each quest is barely enough to purchase one part. If you want to build your favorite Mobile Suit, prepare to grind.
When it comes to the single and multiplayer modes, New Gundam Breaker offers a series of missions. Typically these missions consist of teams of three, although some missions can pit Gunpla teams of two. Once players transport onto the stage, you must complete a series of individual quests to increase your score. Unfortunately, these missions lack any variation. Typically, they require you to destroy a specific number of enemy Gundams (which spawn independently from the two teams) or recover a particular part. These mundane tasks divider evenly into tiers - the higher the tier, the more points you earn. Completing these tasks will increase your overall score, and the team with the highest score or whoever defeats the final boss wins the match.
However, New Gundam Breaker's biggest flaw is the gameplay. This is disappointing considering the game places a heavy emphasis on combat. There were several instances when I tried to perform a special move only for the action to register five seconds after I pressed the appropriate button. On top of that, the overall mech movement feels extremely stiff. Almost as if it was an afterthought on the developer's part.
New Gundam Breaker Review | Final Thoughts
As a longtime fan of Gundam, I feel New Gundam Breaker is a step backward for the franchise. I admit, the story compelled me to see it through the end. However, the constant need to grind for in-game currency to obtain the (expensive) parts you want, combined with choppy gameplay hold it back from being one of the best games to come out this year.
Our New Gundam Breaker review was conducted on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by the publisher.
- Original and Compelling Story
- Marvelous Support Cast
- A Slew of Customization Options
- Stiff and a Sluggish Combat Controls
- Purchasing Parts Can Be Costly
- Repetitive Gameplay Overall