You don't see many team-based online arena fighters but here's one that's sure to blow you away, especially if you're a Gundam fan.
As a fan of mechs and arena fighting games, I was looking forward to playing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. MaxiBoost ON. Now that I have, I can easily say that it's one of the best games in the genre that I've ever played. The Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. sub-series began with an arcade game back in 2010. Of course, it was exclusive to Japan and since then, a couple of new iterations emerged with MaxiBoost ON being the latest version which came out in 2016. Luckily, this arcade gem is finally available in North America via a PlayStation 4 adaptation that features single player content and some of the most enjoyable online combat that you'll ever play. It's definitely been a long time coming so thankfully, genre enthusiasts and Mobile Suit Gundam fans have a lot to sink their teeth into.
Learning how to play Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. MaxiBoost ON effectively requires a lot of practice and patience. It's certainly not the sort of game where you can simply button mash and emerge victorious; well, unless you're playing against other rookie pilots. The combat system centers on using your boost gauge and ammunition wisely while unleashing all sorts of attacks and evasive moves. Most of these are accomplished with button presses but some require you to perform unconventional actions such as flicking the left stick down then up in order to deploy a shield. Controlling your mech suit to unleash melee and ranged attacks, fire special and sub-weapons, jump, command your allies, and enter EX Burst mode for a boost whenever it's ready is a heck of a lot of fun and each 2-on-2 team match is exhilarating, especially online as you cooperate and compete with fighters from around the world.
You'd think that the combat would get repetitive after a while but it surprisingly doesn't because there is a ridiculous amount of characters and suits to control and each one has their own array of weaponry and way of moving so you can experiment for hours upon hours in order to find the suit that works best for your play style. In total, there are 183 suits to pilot that stretch across 36 Gundam titles and each one has a power rating which is actually used in combat. Each team can use 6000 points so if you both pilot 1500 mechs then you can resurrect a couple times but if you pick 3000 mechs then you won't be able to revive as often.
Speaking of variety, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. MaxiBoost ON features a fantastic soundtrack that even contains plenty of vocal tracks from the franchise's history. Listening to those while practicing between matches put a smile on my face and on top of that, there's a ton of Japanese voice acting that helps bring personality to each match. Plus, the suit models look fantastic and there's a decent variety of 3D environments to battle within, too. Oh, and if you're a perfectionist then you'll be overwhelmed by how much content there is to unlock; from pilot outfits to player titles as well as a huge gallery complete with 270 unlockable figures.
Although I love nearly everything about Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. MaxiBoost ON, it does have its downsides. First, there is a lot of single player content to enjoy such as the arcade-style Branch Battle mode and the expansive Maxi Boost Missions but after playing those for a while, I got quite bored and wanted to dive back in online. I wish that these modes felt more dynamic and exciting as they're fairly standard. Similarly, I wish there were more match types while playing online. In essence, there is only 1 way to play but it's an extremely enjoyable formula that doesn't get tiresome. However, having different variations of it would have been even better. Finally, some suits are exceptionally clunky and stiff to control so if you're like me and enjoy choosing random combatants, this can be annoying.
Arena fighters simply don't get much better than Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. MaxiBoost ON. Challenging pilots from around the world is so much fun that once you start playing; it's hard to stop so you'll boot this up whenever you want an online fighting fix.
- + Tight gameplay that takes a while to master yet is supremely enjoyable
- + Oodles of characters and suits
- + Awesome music, voices, and models
- - Playing single player modes pales in comparison to fighting online
- - Could use more match types
- - Some suits are quite stiff to control