Game Review

by Myles Gibbs,

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON

PlayStation 4

Description:
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON
2016's arcade hit, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On, sees a perfect port to the PS4. It doesn't hold your hand and makes for a daunting figure with complicated combat that goes unexplained, confusing menus, and a general “just figure it out” attitude, it's plain to see that any fan of the Mobile Suit Gundam series will have a blast with this deeply strategic mecha brawler.
Review:

Playing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On made me instantly nostalgic for times I spent traveling and enjoyed playing it in over-the-top Akihabara arcades. I didn't understand what I was doing or who I was doing it with, but the experience itself was a blast. I couldn't tell you then why is was that I felt so gravitated towards the game that I felt the need to drop my whole lot of coins on it, having had almost no prior experience with the Mobile Suit Gundam series or knowledge of Maxiboost's fighting systems, but now that I've had a chance to get my hands on the product and dig in, I can tell you it's that because for what it is – for a perfect port of a killer mecha brawler arcade game – it is perfect.

One of the few and fair criticisms I must make here are on the lack of any sort of tutorial options. This game throws you all the way into what it has to offer with no need for explanations, which is fair, seeing how many of its players first had hands on with it in frequented arcades, but the lack of an option for one simply seems like an oversight. I must've spent my first two sessions with the game doing nothing but getting absolutely obliterated online (which I feel I should note came at the cost of a PS+ membership) before I'd gained enough mastery to start getting the upper hand on some folks. The moment that changed was when I finally landed on a model I enjoyed enough to specialize in. For me, it was Gundam Gusion Rebake Full City that did the trick. Full disclosure, I picked it because the pilot looked like Guts from Berserk, but once I got into the way it controlled, I finally found my groove..

Going into the game, I wish I'd known about the existence of the mission mode. This game has a strong learning curve, and I unwittingly opted to face it head-on. This mode increases gradually in difficulty while forcing the player to try new Gundams and fight off waves of bots. It's perfect for learning the nuances of the game and forces exploration of the massive roster, boasting over 180 suits, pushing the player ever-closer to finding the model that fits them just right. As for the combat itself, this game can go deep. This game is, in essence, a four-button fighter, with the buttons being mapped to melee attacks, ranged attacks, target swaps, and boosts. Blocks require a tilt back and then forward, while other types of stick tilts are dedicated to different attacks and specials. Some attacks can only come out once in a life or charge up over time, while others reload automatically or require a manual activation. These nuances, combined with different types of dodges really serve to make each character unique and complex. In spite of all of these, most of that depth is owed to the fact that it's a 2v2 fighter.

In order to really win, you have to lend some serious thought to the wellbeing of your wingman. I found that the odd shot into my teammate's fray while my adversary lent me some breathing room could often be the difference between a win and a loss. And personally, I saw much more of the latter. This is not a game for casual players. The bulk of it is online, and you will see yourself often facing off against Japanese players who have been hitting this game up in arcades over the last decade. That being said, even for a newcomer, if you're a fan of the series and are ready to sink some time into learning the nuances of Maxiboost On's mechanics, I think there's a special treat in store for you here.

This game features not only an expansive list of characters but also of music and scenery. There were more songs than I knew what to do with. That not all of them were for me, the variety compensated wonderfully. I don't think in my 17-hour play time I even heard all of the music this title had to offer. I did see all of the stages though, and they're a treat. All 30+ of them are wonderfully realized here and each command their own little tweaks in tactics, providing different positions of cover and disadvantage.

Overall, playing Maxiboost On was the closest I've ever come to feeling of having a working modern arcade cabinet in my home and perfects in what Gundam Versus lacks. While a slightly-aggravating online experience and the lack of any real tutorial stand out as harsh oversights, this game is perfect for what it is and belongs on any shelf it's found on.

Grade:
Overall : A-
Graphics : A
Sound/Music : A-
Gameplay : A
Presentation : B-

+ An energetic mecha-brawler with an expansive list of stages, a huge library of music, a roster of over 180 characters, and deep combat certainly belongs in the library of any Gundam enthusiast with a penchant for fighting games.
The lack of any guidance or tutorial and a cut-throat online without a decent matchmaker make for a daunting experience for any newcomer.

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