Gundam Evolution’s Team Shooter Soul is weighed down by Gravity’s Monetization

It’s still the early days of the new Bandai Namco shooting team Gundam Evolution – the game came out for PC about ten days before this writing – but things are looking up. The the time it spent testing also not wasted: Already quite refined, the playing experience is smooth with almost no feeling of friction. Bandai Namco learned, and learned well from the example of Overwatch and its many copies, and landed the essentials with aplomb.

For the uninitiated, Gundam Evolution is Bandai Namco’s attempt to adapt one of the most iconic animated series of all time with the rigors of a free-to-play team-playing “hero shooter”. Not a secret agent, superhero or elite soldier, Evolution plummeted for decades Gundam history for inspiration. Since launch, 17 maneuverable suits from a wide range of Gundam Batch form a playable list. Twelve are playable from the start, with another five unlockable in various ways (more on that later).

Gundam Evolution

Each Mobile Suit (MS) is unique, with its own weapons, abilities, and tactics. More than Overwatchsystem based on the role of, Gundam Evolution take a more free-form approach to team building. There can’t be more than one certain MS on a team, but there’s enough stylistic overlap that you’ll find something reasonably similar if you find your favorite suit. Even then, each unit is unique and learn to play like them and play against they are the key to mastery.

Of course, each Mobile Suit falls into a certain preferred style determined by its payload and stats. Absolute units like the Sazabi and the Unicorn Gundam love to combine it in team battles, with the Sazabi in front absorbing damage with its shield and closing in to use its ray gun. Unicorn suppresses enemies with its rapid beam of fire, while helping its teammates just be there through passive healing and increased armor. However, both are quite different. Sazabi can instantly zap his or her teammates’ throwing axes, giving it amazing mobility and the ability to lunge straight into the face of enemies. Unicorn’s size and lack of shields make it a lot more vulnerable in a stand-up fight, so it relies on keeping in a friendly crowd and using its Shield Bits to mark enemies. Sniper from a distance lined up in a bead. One of the new unlockable suits, Mahiroo, is the only one in the game with a grenade launcher, and is quite valuable for its ability to spam areas with indirect fire.


Gundam Evolution is also surprisingly fast and deadly for the supposed size of its massive robotic array. Each unit has one or more power-ups for quick dodges, and many units have access to precision “hitscan” weapons for precise targeting (the GM Sniper II can take out complete minions). clothing more fragile in a single shot to the head). In other words, the kill time can be very short. There are a number of mitigation measures in place that take into account skills and coordination. Being “killed” causes your MS to be disabled for a few seconds, allowing teammates to revive you for a short period of time (support suits like Methus and GM Sniper can even do this from afar) . And swapping suits can completely change strategy, potentially allowing you to turn the tide of oppression with bold offensive action.

However, there are some balance concerns to be found. While the relative dominance of Melee Mobile Suits (especially Barbatos) has been somewhat diminished, all three have extremely high skill stats and are in the hands of capable players, absolutely. can overwhelm an opposing team with few direct counterattacks. In particular, the Exia seems to be a little too capable of escaping the consequences when its pilot makes a mistake. The new melee suit, Zaku II (Melee), has a near-medium range for the shockwaves from its ax, and even has a move that makes it invincible (if any) motionless). In a game with multiple sources of precision damage, melee suits need to feel high risk; At the moment, they feel a little too safe.

What is more concerning than any temporary equilibrium problem, however, is how Gundam Evolution implement your monetization model. The game is free to play, but those original 12 suits are all new players have access to for a considerable amount of time if they don’t want to pay. Bandai Namco’s added three threats of monetization to the game: Battle Pass (with premium and free tiers), an item shop selling cosmetic packs and unlocking suits, and gacha/loot box system that allows the player to roll cosmetic dice.

The game’s premium currency is Evo Coins, which are paid for with real money and earned in small amounts through the Battle Pass. Evo Coins can be used to buy things beyond the item shop and gacha scrolls. Freebies are few and far between. Players can unlock a new suit by paying “Capital” (aka blue points), which is earned by completing the Beginner Challenge and Battle Pass levels. But the current Battle Pass and Beginner Challenge options only reward enough Capital to unlock two suits at the end of the process. There are five unlockable suits. Worse yet, ranked play is completely unavailable to players on the free tier without having to put in significant effort to upgrade their players. Those who upgrade their Battle Pass to “Premium” unlock the rank to play immediately. It’s a poorly flavored move that also changes the landscape of players available for ranked mode as even in the bottom tier ranks you’ll have a mix of perfect players. All-new have chosen to upgrade their Battle Pass, and players with a lot of experience won’t be able to unlock Ranked Mode until they’ve completed their time in the normal playlist mines.

Even now, after some tweaks to the system, it can take quite a while to get into ranked matches above the first ranked tier. In general, if you have just downloaded Gundam Evolution and want to jump straight into the ranked game with all available suits, you are looking at spending around $60 USD (about $50 in Evo Coins to buy a “Deluxe Pack” that unlocks 5 locked suits and $10 to upgrade to a premium Battle Pass).

Personally, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to pay anything else to a free game. However, at this moment, it feels like Gundam EvolutionIts potential is being hindered by its monetization. New players can be turned away by the notion that they are getting a second-rate experience if they don’t pay and that paying players don’t benefit from the large audience a free game can. attract .

With luck, Bandai Namco will rethink some of these moves and focus on Gundam Evolution as a longer term concern. The moment-to-moment play experience is simply too much fun to be weighed down by the gravity of the business.


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