Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force Review – Fly, Gundam! Fly!

Editor’s Note: This is a review coupled with a video review. You can watch the video review above, or read a transcript of the video below.

Mobile Suit Gundam games never usually show up over here, so getting to play one is a special event indeed, and the recent release of Extreme VS Force even more so, considering the series has struggled to ever see the west. While the game we got isn’t perfect, it’s a great jumping off point for new players, although experienced Gundam fans may find a fault or two more.

Extreme VS is a high speed action game unlike any other individual game, although if I had to call a comparison I’d say a combination balanced heavily towards your typical 2D fighting game with some Platinum Games-brawler seasoning. You pilot one of over sixty individual Gundam suits, each with their own move set and characteristics.

And when I say ‘high speed action game’ I really do mean high speed. To survive requires very skillful use of the melee and ranged attacks you have available, and to fighting game fans, you’ll notice tons of inspiration. Dodge cancelling, blocking, punishes, combos, footsies, health management and all sorts of other familiar concepts play a part in one on one and one on many combat.


The strategic depth this gives the game, let alone the series, is enormous. Every suit plays differently and versing them requires different tactics and play styles, and it never feels like the same fight twice. It has an enormous skill ceiling and the amount of time it takes to excel at the game can outright beat the amount of time spent in any 2D fighter.

So the game is fast, strategic, and above all, fun. Helping this is the game’s technical performance – even in the bigger fights, where six enemies on both teams are moving and shooting like crazy, the framerate never lets up. It also has the benefit of looking great on the Vita screen: bright, colorful and smooth.

The main game is split into two modes; the main campaign mode Extreme Force, and the Battle Course mode. In Force mode you command up to four different units to move to points on the field, capturing enemy bases and using consumable Force Points in order to temporarily boost your team. The strategy is workable, if simplistic, since you can’t give your AI members more orders than ‘go there’ or ‘attack that’.

While Force mode can create awesome situations – a six-on-six fight is crazy fun – if the numbers aren’t balanced or in your favor you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and knocked down constantly, even against pitiful enemies. This can be frustrating, and it’s invoked multiple times in levels purposefully, although it’s never insurmountable.


There’s around a hundred missions in Force mode, with the sixty Gundam in game being unlockable throughout. Even though it can keep you entertained for a while – my run took 14 hours, and that was ignoring a bunch of the side missions – the glut in this mode kind of drags it down. The included GP and Link meta-systems feel like pointless extensions that could have been designed without.

They aren’t hard to deal with (and they balance each other out in some situations) but they could have been better exercised or excised entirely. The included story about two AI programs and a birthed personality stuck on a space station is about as silly as it sounds, and I honestly stopped listening after about three cutscenes worth of dialog.

It’s also noteworthy that the Force mode basically covers the entire storyline of Universal Century, with cameos from the other universes here and there. The game doesn’t really make an effort to explain what’s going on, so someone who’s new to the franchise won’t understand a thing about the wider Gundam universe without going and watching the shows. Notably, the cameos from the other Gundam universes are pretty sparse; outside of the leads from the other universes you won’t be seeing any of the other noteworthy machines.


Where the game really shines is the secondary Course Battle mode. Added post release to the Japanese version, this removes all of Force mode’s bulk and returns the focus to the 2 on 2 fighting the series is known for, and excels in doing so. You have multiple courses to choose from of varying difficulties.

The bottom half will remain a challenge even after you’re done with Force, to the point where the game will be sticking on my Vita for years. Thankfully, a practice mode is included as well – you’ll need to learn the game from the fundamentals to high level strategies, and if you can take on the final course, you’re probably ready to take on some of the Japanese people that have been playing for years.

This is unfortunate, since multiplayer support is pitiful by the standards this series has set before. There’s no online, and the only ad-hoc mode supports one on one with AIs taking the other spots. Previous entries in the series have more suits and expanded movesets as well; notable steps back from Full Boost, so fans of the series may be disappointed by some of the missing depth.

Even with all of that said though, Extreme VS Force is still a fantastic game under all the glut, and anyone who owns a Vita will be doing themselves, Gundam fans and action fans a favor by buying this one. It’s a great entry point to the series for the casual player as long as you don’t let the story confuse you, and Gundam fans who haven’t played this series finally get a chance without importing.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force was reviewed on the PS Vita using a digital copy provided by Bandai Namco. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

The Verdict: 8

The Good:

  • The fighting is fantastic
  • Huge skill ceiling
  • Diverse character roster
  • Technically excellent
  • Course Battle mode is addictive

The Bad:

  • Lack of multiplayer
  • Bogged down Force mode
  • Not new player friendly lore wise
  • Steps back in the series
  • Force mode’s story is worthless


Eccentric PC and portable gamer. Would love to spend more time on his Vita if he could stop breaking the analog stick. Loves shooters, action games and the odd spot of racing.

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