- System: PC (future releases on PS4, PS5, Xbox One Series X/S, and Xbox One)
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Online
- Developer: Bandai Namco Online
- Release Date: September 20, 2022
Overwatch, easily one of the most popular online multiplayer games in the world. Many—and we mean many—have tried to mirror the 6 vs 6 gameplay and many have never reached the fame or popularity Overwatch has. Bandai Namco Online has decided to throw its hat in the ring and with that, Gundam Evolution has entered the fray! Utilizing Gundam and Mobile Suits from the very beloved Gundam franchise, Gundam Evolution is a 6 vs 6 online FPS that we got to play the beta for and definitely had a blast when we did. Now the full PC release has graced us and of course, it’s time we discuss whether this Gundam title can overthrow Overwatch or at the very least, stand on its giant mecha legs on its own. Here is our review of Gundam Evolution for the PC!
Gundam Evolution plays its safe. Rather than being filled with an expansive Gundam narrative or diving into the long stories of the series, Gundam Evolution is all about one thing, 6 vs 6 gameplay with different robots. Players can choose from different suits before the battle begins—and like Overwatch, only one of each suit can be used per team—and then must duke it out in several maps that have different objectives. There are two game modes: one captures the objective mode and the other is where you must plant bombs on various points. Like Overwatch, these modes all must be played differently as maps will impact how you approach the battle and which Mobil Suit is the best option. We would love to see more maps in the future but for now, these several provide enough variety to keep games from being too simple. Though we did notice players are already discovering choke points and best locations to camp/hold out and that might make balancing an issue as the game becomes more popular.
Gameplay is simple in Gundam Evolution but where the real meat and potatoes of combat lie in which Mobile Suit or Gundam you decide to choose. From the OG Gundam to the more recent RX-O Unicorn Gundam, the choices can dramatically affect how you play any match. The GM Sniper II is obviously going to be your sniper while the Gundam Barbatos is all about crushing your opponents with constant melee attacks and stuns. Players might assume Mobile Suits like the Guntank or Pale Rider would easily be decimated by the stronger Gundam units but that is where Gundam Evolution shines. Every single Mobile Suit we’ve gotten to use so far—some have to be unlocked via in-game purchases—has impressed us feeling strong but never too OP or unbalanced. Don’t get us wrong, we have noticed some combos already being made by smart players that make some of the Mobile Suits almost too powerful but we’re sure these issues can be patched out later and even now we feel they are just smart cooperation tactics and not broken gameplay themes.
So far, Gundam Evolution seems like a multiplayer title that can make some big waves in the competitive scene and has possible longevity. However, we also are afraid of several possible issues that could hold Gundam Evolution from being truly great. The first is the Mobile Suit/Gundam list which isn’t bad but still feels lacking somehow. We’d love to see Gundam that would make sense to be in Gundam Evolution like HeavyArms, Burning Gundam, F91 Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and even Mobile Suits like Char’s Zaku and Jegan. We have no doubt the fans are already putting their thoughts out there and Bandai Namco is listening but we hope these suits are released sooner rather than later just for a nicer change of variety.
Our other concern is going back to what we mentioned earlier, maps. As of writing this article, we’ve played several maps, and honestly, most range from okay to good but nothing above that. The maps all have a nice depth allowing multiple strategies to be used based on the game mode but they lack a lot of flairs and already have begun to become a bit repetitive. Where Overwatch excels over a game like Gundam Evolution is maps had flair and really creative designs mirroring the stories of the characters. Gundam Evolution has maps like a canyon, a dock, and a small-scale city. Where are the space maps and bases that stem from the series? We hope Bandai Namco quickly introduces some more maps as we can see people beginning to grow tired of being base camped at the start of a match.
Now again, just like Overwatch or any game that is free to play, there are bound to be some in-game purchases and Gundam Evolution is no exception. Taking on the season pass format, Gundam Evolution can be played entirely without spending a dime but you will miss out on quite a bit such as several Gundam/Mobile Suits and you will need to sink some time into the player matches if you want to play ranked as that requires money. The currency system isn’t the worst we’ve seen but obviously for a free game to make some income, fans need to help by supporting it and that is why we don’t hate the amount items cost. Still, we do wish the amounts were a bit more reasonable and can predict not everyone will love how much you’re going to need to spend to unlock skins, new units, and various smaller cosmetics but Gundam Evolution can be entirely enjoyed without these in-game purchases and that is a plus in our books.