Abusing Game Stop's Return Policy AKA The Gamestop Grift: Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3

The Game Stop Grift was an Idea I had after reading a Game Stop receipt one time a while back. It said that any used game bought from them could be returned within 7 days for a full refund. I then had the idea of buying one game early on in the summer, and then utilizing the store as my own personal rental store for seven days at a time. I’ve started this process once again, and I want you all to join me on this retail adventure. This week’s journey: Dynsasty Warriors Gundam 3.

Do you like Gundams? Do you like Dynasty Warriors? Then you’ll like Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3. Goodnight everybody, I’ll see you later!

Was that not enough? Fine…let’s delve a little bit deeper.

One thing that stood out to me the second I turned on the game was the UI, or more accurately lack of one. I popped in the game with a friend of mine, and was greeted with one of only two options: new game, and continue. Alright, New Game it is. Suddenly we’re in a battle with almost no context and characters are spouting story elements at us that make no sense whatsoever.

For a tutorial battle, it was cohesive enough. Basic combat is covered, the different locations and what they do is explained, and generally how to play is described pretty well. When the combat ended though, suddenly we were lost. We were dropped into a menu with no context whatsoever. All we wanted to do was play co-op, and the only way we were able to finally figure that much out was by having my ally press every button on the Mission Start menu until we was able to get in.

There’s problem number 1: aside from the gameplay nothing is really explained without a little exploring. There are some pretty cool customization systems in the game that can be messed around with, but the game never really hand you any true indicators on how to do it until you enter the menu and mess around yourself. It took us a while just to even figure out how to switch characters and in doing so switch story arcs. Boy, the story arcs though…

The story is a mess. It is separated into three interweaving campaigns involving characters from almost every conceivable Gundam series from the original Gundam all the way up to Gundam 00. In concept, it’s a really cool idea. Seeing iconic gundams like Wing Gundam go up against others like Strike Freedom or Master Gundam is pretty awesome. What isn’t awesome is basically everything else.

The writing is so dense, even to someone who has an established knowledge of the Gundam canon, that it borders on nonsensical. I’ve sunk about 10 hours into the game, and I still can’t tell exactly what’s happening in any given story thread. It’s all just a jumble of buzzwords and character appearances that never seems to coalesce into a story. The gameplay and character customization does make up for it though…sorta.

If you’ve picked up a Dynasty Warriors game in the last decade, you really should know what to expect. One (or two) lone powerful gundam(s) face off against a massive horde of disposable enemies and bosses in glorious hack-and-slash mayhem. It’s simplistic, the combos never get too out of hand, and it’s still fun to rack up a kill count in the hundreds as you take enemy bases.

In doing so, your selected pilot i levels up and gains money and mobile suit blueprints which can be used to make new mobile suits. ii The customization and crafting can be fun to mess around with, as each little addition adds to your mobile suits’ combat effectiveness. Add to that the fact that different pilots piloting different suits affects combat effectiveness, there is an insane amount of customization in the game.

What’s really too bad is the fact that despite all of this customization, the game still really boils down to spamming different combinations of the square/triangle button until everything onscreen dies, which takes a lot of the necessity of customization out of the game. The back of the case also mentions improved AI on the enemies but it wasn’t really something I noticed being too special, even in comparison with other games in the franchise.

One thing to note is the presence of two-player couch co-op in the game. Despite all of the game’s flaws, it still is a lot of fun sitting down with a friend and button mashing your way to victory. Fun aside, the menus of the game are clearly designed for a one-player experience and taking the time to customize mobile suits between two players is time consuming, as only Player 1 can customize for both players.

As I said at the beginning: if you like Dynasty Warriors and you like Gundam, you should already know what to expect and, yes, you will derive some enjoyment from the game. For other people though, I think your hard earned money is best spent elsewhere.

Game Stop Price: $30 ($26 for Pro Members)

Worth It?: No. The story is an ungodly mess, the gameplay is minimal, and the robust customization is made almost completely obsolete because of the basic gameplay. However, if you’re just looking for a time waster and you like the idea of seeing your favorite Gundam characters facing off in a hack and slash setting, go ahead and give it a shot.

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