|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 1, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (online multiplayer)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Greig McAllister
In spite of poor ratings as of late, Bandai has produced yet another installment in the Gundam series. Mobile Ops: The One Year War, scheduled for release on March 1st, 2007, seems to be an attempt to revive the faltering franchise.
As indicated in the title of the game, Mobile Ops follows the story of the One Year War in which Rebel Space colonies launch a campaign for independence, beginning with orbital strikes against the Earth. War takes on a whole new role as advanced ECM (Electronic counter-measures) render long range sensors and communications inoperable. As a result, a new type of weapon, the mobile suit, is created. You are a solder in the One Year War. You will fight on foot, in a vehicle, or in the cockpit of the mighty mobile suit. It is up to you to decide whose cause you will support: The Principality of Zeon or the Earth Federation Forces.
Unfortunately, based on the game footage I managed to find, Mobile Ops appears quite similar to any of the other Gundam games we have previously seen. We see the return of many mobile suits familiar even to the casual Gundam fan, including just about all the same weapons. The only apparent addition is the ability the player will have to assume the role of the standard foot soldier. The only thing I see wrong with this is that it seems to take focus away from what originally made the franchise truly enjoyable: the mobile suits! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for new beginnings, but in a franchise like this, the addition of a new role can only take away from the previous roles that we all know and love. I simply do not see a solid reason for the addition of such an unnecessary element.
We will see the return of many features that we have grown familiar with, such as the beloved beam sword/heat blade and jump jets. Another very positive aspect of this new game is that the controls seem to have been revamped. They now seem relatively easy to utilize and master for veterans and casual gamers alike. Also, it is confirmed that Mobile Ops will be playable on Xbox Live, although the amount of players possible and game types available have not yet been released.
Also, a positive upgrade is the appearance of the game. Although not as visually stunning as some games we have seen released for the Xbox 360 such as Gears of War and Rainbow Six Vegas, Mobile Ops has been considerably "prettied up" from games we have seen previously and will be available in 480p, 720p, and 1080i HD. The latest screenshots show that the detail of the mobile suits is quite visually stimulating (recent reports indicate that you will be able to see details such as rust and combat damage), as is the foot soldier. The forested areas are beautifully done when on foot, but lose detail from the mobile suit perspective, and the urban settings seem unrefined in detail from any perspective. The weapons still have little effect on the surrounding environment, mostly you will see simple scorch marks on the ground, and some weapons have almost no visual effect on anything at all.
So far, I have not really been able to get a hold any game footage that was in all English, and therefore use as a reliable source by which I could judge the sound quality with regard to voice acting. However, I was able to view enough trailers to judge that the sound effects seem pretty clear and well done, and the soundtrack gives off a definite Gundam vibe if the music from the trailers is any indication.
I know by now you are bursting to ask me why I have almost completely omitted any information regarding the vehicles. The reason for this is simple: there is simply no information available regarding anything about vehicles. I found no articles, screenshots, or video footage that gave me any indication as to what role vehicles will play in this game. All I know is that the player will have the option of controlling different vehicles, so far the variety remains undetermined. Right now, it looks like we will all have to wait until the release date to discover what role the vehicles will play in the One Year War.
Overall, it is hard to say what kind of quality this game is going to be. Right now, in my opinion, it is hanging between being a good game and being a relatively poor game, and there are enough unknowns to keep even me guessing. If you are an avid fan of the Gundam franchise, it just might be worth buying. If not, it would be safer to rent first and possibly buy later. With that said, I believe it is probably a safe bet to assume that Mobile Ops: The One Year War will be quite an improvement upon previous games of the series and a step in the right direction towards reviving the Gundam we all know and love.
CCC Freelance Writer