Mobile Suit Gundam Side Stories (機動戦士ガンダム サイドストーリーズ Kidō Senshi Gandamu Saido Sutōrīzu) is a Japan-only PlayStation 3 mecha action game by B.B. Studio and Bandai Namco Games that was released in 2014. The game is based on the Gundam franchise, and is one of the many spin-offs to take place around the same time as the first series, Mobile Suit Gundam, hence its title.
The game consists of 7 side-stories, 6 of which were based on older Gundam games:
- Missing Link: The game’s main side-story, focusing around an Earth Federation penal battalion called the Slave Wraiths, and a group of elite Zeon pilots called the Marchosias.
- Lost War Chronicles: Originally a PS2 game, focusing on Matt Healy and Ken Bederstadt, Earth Federation and Zeon Mobile Suit squad leaders, respectively. Has received a manga adaptation.
- Zeonic Front: Originally a PS2 game, focusing on a Zeon task force, the Midnight Fenrir Corps.
- Blue Destiny: Originally a Sega Saturn game, dealing with Earth Federation pilot Yuu Kajima. Has also received a manga adaptation.
- Cross Dimension 0079: Originally a SNES/Super Famicom game. This side-story is focused on the second half (the first half is a retelling of the original show), dealing with a battle between the Earth Federation’s Albatross Transportation Unit and a Zeon team called Wolf Gar.
- Rise from the Ashes: Originally a Dreamcast game, focusing on Earth Federation efforts to retake Australia from Zeon forces.
- Space, To the End of A Flash: Originally a side-story created for the PS2 game Encounters in Space, revolving around the crew of the SCVA-72 Thoroughbred, an Earth Federation assault carrier ship. Has also a manga adaptation.
Why it Sucks
- False advertising. The game claims to be remaking the older games, but this isn’t the case since the entire game plays out like a third-person shooter. Most of the older games have variable gameplay, ranging from either a first-person shooter game, a squad-based real-time tactics game, or a turn-based strategy game. Even the ones that are third-person shooters are quiet different from this one.
- Puts too much focus on Missing Link, which has 41 missions when compared to the other side-stories that ended up getting abridged (having 5 missions at least). To add insult to injury, some of the missions themselves are very short (not unlike MindJack; at least one of them can be beaten in 8 SECONDS!), and the aforementioned side-stories have to be unlocked first before you can play them.
- Terrible and annoying lock-on system that works almost exactly like it did in Target in Sight/Crossfire, locking on anything whenever it feels like it.
- Laughably outdated graphics. Some reviewers even claimed that some of the special effects would look bad even on a PS2.
- Extremely easy. The lack of a difficulty setting didn’t help matters.
- Dumb AI that tends to either gets stuck on things or attack enemies in the wrong time (even in stealth missions where you’re not supposed to attack the enemies), which can actually result with a game over.
- Lack of customization; to elaborate, you and your teammates’ Mobile Suits are always predetermined and you can’t pick your own Mobile Suits.
- Repetitive level design, consisting of small square maps with overly familiar environments.
- Badly done in-game cutscenes that showcase poor animation. Even the mission briefings can be off-putting since they use unvoiced text scrolls and still character portraits!
- Space battles don’t really feel all that different from the land battles.
- Missing Link’s storyline suffers from plotholes.
- Plenty of fanservice that is enough to please fans.
- A VR Mission mode that allows you to play and upgrade the Mobile Suits that you unlock through the game.
The game has received poor reception from critics and players; its Amazon.co.jp page is full of 1-star reviews, and Western reviewers have voiced their disappointment at the game.