As with the anime, there is definitely no lack of Gundam games in the world and while they do not all make it to the west plenty still have. Fortunately, one of the Vita Gundam games titled Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force has come to the west and while I am always a fan of more Vita games, unfortunately Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is just so extraordinarily average. Just like with the anime I tend to dip and out of the series and while there is a lot to like about this game, there is just so much that lets it down.
The premise is very simple; you meet two characters who explain that you need to go through historic battles to collect information to save the universe. It is not a fantastic story but it is there I guess, but to be honest I would not have cared, may have even been happier if it was not there, as I found it to be nothing but some uninteresting dialogue between fights. Where the game shines are in short burst matches, most are under ten minutes, which is excellent for the Vita as it makes it great to pick up and put down for short bursts.
The problem I found is the suddenly spiking difficulty.
It was not uncommon for me to spend an hour trying to beat one stage, to breeze through a few, just to get stuck on a stage again, which was frustrating to say the least. But accepting it is what it is, the battles are split between two types. The first is VS which is just a battle and to be totally honest it is a lot of fun and where I enjoyed the game the most. The second is Force matches which usually involve bases which you need to take, protect and then sometimes beat a boss. These are fun enough and sometimes become very difficult with a loss trigger like losing a certain base, but also tend to be where the difficulty spikes kick in.
The difficulty spikes both come via the enemies which is normal, or the controls which is not so much. Camera movement is not always easy and can chop around a bit. Added to that is the auto aim which also swings the camera around a bit as enemies move around and can cause unnecessary frustration which can result in some cheap deaths. The flip side is I got some cheap wins when the controls threw me off but my AI partners who were surprisingly good finished the match for me in time.
Like most Gundam games there is a large number of suits for use throughout the game. However, some missions pre-define your suit until you beat them then allows for you to play how you want. This is something that does not really appeal to me as I spend too much time comparing them and constantly question the ones I use, but would certainly appeal to some and adds variety to the gameplay as well as references to the series.
Added to the story mode is the Force Extend mode which is where I got most of my value, containing the equivalent of arcade modes allowing for so much customisation of the matches. I got it to a point that I found just challenging enough then mixed up a few settings to keep it entertaining yet challenging. There is also multiplayer but it is just adhoc so you need to know someone else with a vita and the game as its not online and as such I could not test it.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is in theory so perfect for Vita and I certainly had plenty of fun with it, but unfortunately the controls and camera angles just let the whole experience down. If someone needs something new to play on their Vita and needs some hack and slash action then it may scratch the itch, but if you are looking for the next great Gundam game this one may not be what you are looking for.