|Genre||Action RPG, Beat 'Em Up|
|Platforms||PC, Switch, Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 5 (Reviewed)|
|Release Date||August 24, 2022|
Anyone with at least a passing interest in anime or mecha likely has a passing familiarity with the Gundam franchise. The striking futuristic combat machines have been a staple since debuting in 1979. With SD Gundam Battle Alliance, we get the opportunity to see some of the most notable moments from the franchise’s 40+ year history and get behind the wheels of over fifty mobile suits. While Battle Alliance isn’t perfect, it’s a fun ride.
Spiritual Content: There are sentient entities that can maneuver through a computerized world, disrupting things and causing actual history to change.
Violence: The game features beat ’em up action with hand-to-hand and projectile combat, though there’s little to no gore or viscera to be concerned with.
Sexual Content: There is no sexual content to be concerned about.
Drugs and Alcohol: There are characters who are drunk, slurring words in the dialog.
Language/Crude Humor: There is some minor foul language used in SD Gundam Battle Alliance, though nothing harsher than primetime television would allow.
SD Gundam Battle Alliance takes place in the unique world of the G: Universe, a setting where all the Gundam series collide. In a sort of computer simulation, the major events of the entire Gundam franchise have been hacked into somehow in events known as “Breaks.” These breaks are causing details of major events to be changed, which is somehow cascading into the real world and causing history to be altered. Players will have to go back and fight in some of the most notable battles throughout Gundam history in order to set things right and preserve history.
As someone who’s only had a passing interest in the Gundam franchise over the years, I found the story in SD Gundam Battle Alliance to be fascinating. While the game is full of major spoilers for classic plot lines, it helped introduce me to some major players and kindle my interest in watching those classic anime series. The narrative premise is cool and there are some neat twists and turns along the way. Ultimately, I don’t think there was anything groundbreaking, though.
The gameplay loop in Battle Alliance is simple but fun. You (and a couple of friends if you want) will dive into these classic missions for some beat ’em up fun. You’ll choose a Gundam (also known as a Mobile Suit to the uninitiated) and spend time beating up on other mecha, destroying cities as you execute combos, fire rockets, execute perfectly timed counters, and unleash special attacks. Along the way, you’ll pick up money, materials, and blueprints for new machines.
Between missions, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your mobile suits, spending money and materials to improve their stats. You can also equip items you earn to give them passive boosts, like more ranged damage or more health. It’s a system that lacks any real depth, but getting to see numbers go up feeds that part of my brain that thrives on witnessing sustained progression.
With regards to the gameplay, my only real complaint is that it can occasionally feel like you’ve hit a wall and need to grind levels to progress the story. Beyond that, the game is a fun, nostalgic romp through some of the best moments in Gundam history, and that’s never going to be a bad thing.
From a visual standpoint, SD Gundam Battle Alliance sets itself apart as one of the most visually striking 3D beat ’em ups anywhere. I love the chibi look of the super-deformed (SD) Gundams. It lends to the feeling of controlling action figures on a tabletop diorama. It feels like watching childhood imagination come to life. It’s both fluid and endearing, providing a wonderful visual experience.
SD Gundam Battle Alliance isn’t a perfect game by any means, but it’s an experience I’d recommend for fans of anime or beat ’em ups of any age. When you factor in an incredible visual style and plenty of Mobile Suits to unlock and upgrade, there’s plenty here to keep fans happy for a long time. The game does occasionally feel a bit grindy, but the sheer variety helps negate some of that. Fans of the Gundam franchise will definitely want to spend time in the G: Universe, but Battle Alliance feels like a great springboard for newcomers as well.
Review copy generously provided by Bandai Namco
The Bottom Line
SD Gundam Battle Alliance gives fans a smorgasbord of Gundam content while providing newcomers a great point to begin experiencing the franchise