Top 10 Gundam Games [Best Recommendations]

In addition to being one of the biggest franchises in anime since 1979, Gundam’s success has extended to a collection of some games throughout the beginning of modern video gaming. And what is the irony of all this? It happens to be that Yoshiyuki Tomino, the creator of Gundam, HATES gaming! He thinks of them as unproductive and a waste of electricity. Even so, with these games based on the very anime series he created, he could change his mind. So here are some possible games that Gundam fans might enjoy and hopefully get Tomino to reconsider.

10. MS Saga: A New Dawn (Gundam True Odyssey: Ushinawareta G no Densetsu)

  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Bec
  • Release Date: Jun 30, 2005 (Japan), Feb 21, 2006 (US)

Kicking off this list is MS Saga, a fantasy RPG. What makes this game distinct is that it tells its own original story that is not directly based on any pre-existing series, but uses various mechs from UC and Wing. The Gundams are portrayed in SD form like in an old Super Nintendo RPG such as Final Fantasy VI.

The world that this game takes place in is feels like a pre-industrial age to be more in tune with a fantasy setting. But with the mobile suits, you have the option to customize them and find which character is a suitable pilot for a particular mech. And this gives you some creative freedom to make your mech however you like. While this may be difficult for casual and younger fans of Gundam and RPGs to get into with the usage of some outdated menu layouts, but if you’re a retro lover, this is a strong recommendation!


9. Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (Kidou Senshi Gundam: Gyakushuu no Char)

  • Platform: PlayStation
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Bandai
  • Release Date: Dec 17, 1998

Though this game shares the exact same title as the 1988 movie, this game is not at all a direct adaptation though you do get to play and fight against characters from it. This game is pretty much a prototype Versus game shortly before it debuted in arcades in 2001. Just like in Sega’s Virtual On, you do one-on-one mech battles to the death. While Virtual On takes place on land, Char’s Counterattack takes place in space. As stated, this game is not limited to Char’s Counterattack story, but you can also select characters and revisit events from the first series and Zeta Gundam. You can even select Char’s identity in Zeta Gundam and his fake last name is spelled in a way that will have you laughing (in reference to the female anatomy).

The gameplay is easy to get into but hard to master. You can use funnels, bazookas, beam rifles, and even decoys just like your present Versus games, but this game has other novelties such as animated cutscenes. So if you’re a long time Gundam fan, let’s hope you have this in your collection already.


8. Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front (Zeonic Front: Kidou Senshi Gundam 0079)

  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Bec
  • Release Date: Sept 6, 2001 (Japan), Jan 15, 2002 (US)

As the title suggests, this game allows you to play the role of the Zeon side during the events of the first Gundam game. You play as the Midnight Fenrir unit under the command of Garret Schmitzer and Kycilia Zabi. In this game, you have the chance to interact with the events of the series such as Operation Odessa and go on a reconnaissance mission to gather data on the original White Base crew.

The game is part strategy and part third person shooter. This game is not about going balls out and destroying the enemy with a blitzkrieg, it requires stealth and exploiting holes in the enemy’s territory and strategy. Thankfully you have radar, thermal and sonar to survey your environment for any of these flaws. But like in the actual Gundam series, there will be an instance that Minovsky particles will be dispersed and they do interfere.

Of course, before deployment, you can review the briefings, the maps that indicate strategic points of interest, coordinating who will be fighting and what their equipment can be and so on. So if you want to play a game with a point of view from the villains mixed with some Rainbow Six, Zeonic Front is highly recommended.


7. Gundam: Battle Assault (Gundam: The Battle Master 2)

  • Platform: PlayStation
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Natsume
  • Release Date: Mar 12, 1998 (Japan), Nov 6, 2000 (US)

Upon the rise of Gundam Wing’s popularity in the US in 2000, this release of Gundam: The Battle Master 2 is a remix to make Heero the main character as he faces other characters from the Universal Century. If you’re used to more popular fighting game franchises like Street Fighter, Battle Assault is quite a different but unique challenge.

With the novelty of fighting giant robots, the game is appropriately a bit slower and clunkier but you can also temporarily boost and fly around like in Endless Duel. Also returning from Endless Duel is the targeting system for firearms. As with other fighting games, you got supers like in Street Fighter Alpha and King of Fighters. While it may not be for the fighting game enthusiast, but for Gundam fans, this is also strongly recommended.


6. Shin Kidou Senshi Gundam W: Endless Duel

  • Platform: Super Famicom
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Bandai
  • Release Date: Mar 29, 1996

Ever thought that Gundam would be awesome as a 16-bit 2D fighter? You have your chance with Gundam Wing Endless Duel. For those of you readers whose gateway was Gundam Wing, this game is for you.

This game features the main mobile suits from the anime itself! So when you mix Street Fighter and Gundam Wing, this is pretty much it but with a system that feels very in tune with the Street Fighter Alpha series as opposed to Street Fighter II. While mechs are to be heavy and should be slow in movement, this game moves at the same pace as a regular 2D fighter. Heck, you even got super combos!

The graphics are in conjunction with the series and the animation is excellently done. In relation to being a fighting game with mechs, the game also allows the player to use a targeting system for firearms and you can also use your boosts as a means of dodging and quicker movement. So if you’re a fan of Gundam Wing and retro 2D fighters, this game is pretty much what you expect and we strongly say get this game!


5. Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: The Blue Destiny (Kidou Senshi Gundam Gaiden: The Blue Destiny)

  • Platform: Saturn
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Bandai
  • Release Date: Aug 29, 1997

Blue Destiny tells the tale of silent protagonist Yu Kajima and the Guinea Pig unit (also consisting of Philip Hughes and Summona Farris). Blue Destiny is known as one of the first releases of Gundam as a first person shooter. The game is pretty straight to the point where you have Yu take out the enemy unit. For some of you familiar with Gundam Wing, you probably remember that the Wing Zero and Epyon were equipped with the Zero system that enhances the pilot’s abilities. This plot of this game revolves around something similar called the EXAM system, which gives a regular human the abilities of a new-type. This is expressed through the later mechs of Yu and his rival, Nimbus.

In the first few levels of the game, you are stuck playing as a GM but as the story progresses, you get the chance to pilot the Blue Destiny Gundam. The environments are relatively flat and very open. So you have free reign with how you can move, but at the same time, you’re open season to the enemy. The game moves at a fast pace and you can use your boosters for maximum dodging effect. Considering the game is 20 years old, the graphics are going to be outdated but not bad to the point that Gundam fans can’t recognize what a Zaku is. So if you want a first person but slower paced Virtual On, get this game along with a Japanese Saturn!


4. Gundam Side Story 0079: Rise from the Ashes (Kidou Senshi Gundam Gaiden: Colony no Ochichita chi de)

  • Platform: Dreamcast
  • Publisher: Bandai
  • Developer: Bandai
  • Release Date: Aug 26, 1999 (Japan) Apr 28, 2000 (US)

While it is not a direct sequel to Blue Destiny, Rise from the Ashes serves as one spiritually due to being a first person shooter from a cockpit view. In addition, this was one of the first Gundam games to be released in the US. While Gundam Wing barely debuted on Toonami and with some UC Gundam series released on VHS, which you could buy at the old Suncoast stores, those with no familiarity to UC Gundam would be confused with the context of the story. In this game, you play as the White Dingo unit based out of Australia. While it is called Gundam, you do not pilot any Gundams in this game, just the GM unit. However, the Japanese release offers you the chance to fight the original Gundam, Guntank, and Guncannon at once.

While this is primarily a shooter, you can also command your wingmen to go in a certain direction and attack incoming enemies or have them work as your backup. While the first person cockpit is useful, you also have the chance to use the binoculars for sniping and scouting purposes. For those more comfortable with modern day controllers with dual analog, the controller of the Dreamcast will be a difficult adjustment.

Other than that, even without playing as a Gundam, you do have some weapons at your disposal from cannons, guns, and even lasers to enjoy the game when you take out enemy Zakus and Goufs. The intense and militaristic orchestrated soundtrack purposely suits the game and sucks you into the environment.


3. Mobile Suit Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna (Kidou Senshi Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna)

  • Platform: Arcade, PSP
  • Publisher: Namco
  • Developer: Banpresto
  • Release Date: Nov 6, 2006

While a good portion of the console releases have been strategy, fighting, and shooter games, wouldn’t it be awesome to play as if you were in a simulated cockpit? Though arcades have gone the way of the dodo in the US, they are still alive and kicking in Japan! And in Japanese arcades, there is Senjou no Kizuna, a game that allows you to experience piloting a mobile suit in the same way that the arcade version of Ferrari F355 Challenge allows you to experience racing in a Ferrari. Upon sitting down in the cockpit, you have two levers to maneuver your mobile suit and engage in combat. You have the option for multiplayer combat or single player.

Many mobile suits are available at your disposal from generic GMs, Zakus, and the Gundam itself. A lot of the sound effects and soundtrack from the original series is present so if you’re a long time fan, Senjou no Kizuna makes you feel like you’re there. So if any of you Gundam fans ever visit Japan, be sure to play this at an arcade! Yes, there is a PSP release but where’s the fun when you can’t play in a cockpit!?


2. Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam (Kidou Senshi Gundam: Gundam vs. Z Gundam)

  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: Dec 9, 2004 (Japan), Jun 28, 2005 (US)

While the Versus series of Gundam still rages on in Japan in arcades and on the PS4, in the early 2000s, the US was treated to one of the earlier releases, Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam. The game largely plays like Sega’s Virtual On where it’s a third person shooter/melee type game but requires more strategy and plays at a different pace. In this game, you have the mobile suits and characters from the first two series of the Gundam franchise in the palm of your hands. After that, you face off in campaigns as you zoom around and try to eliminate your enemy.

In this game, your mobile suit can have generic long-range weapons such as lasers and/or missile launchers, back up weapons such as grenades, and short range weapons like beam sabers. In some instances, you can also have the Hyaku-Shiki’s mega cannon! Some levels are ground based and there are some levels that allow you to float freely in zero gravity.

The English version contains both voice English voice actors from the anime of the dub, but it has been subjected to criticism from the fans. However, the Japanese version is at your picking if that is what you prefer. In addition, the soundtracks from both anime are largely present in this game to make you feel comfortable and excited.


1. Mobile Suit Gundam: Gihren’s Ambition (Kidou Senshi Gundam Giren no Yabou: Zeon Dokuritsu Sensouden )

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: CRI
  • Release Date: Apr 9, 1998

At number one we have the turn-based strategy Gihren’s Ambition, a tribute to another famous Japanese strategy franchise, Nobunaga’s Ambition. Ever since its debut on the Saturn in 1998, it has continued to progress and expand as newer consoles have been released. In this game, you have the opportunity to play as the Zeeks or the Feds, and change the outcome of the history of the Universal Century. Do you want to prevent the death of Garma? The death of Ranba Ral? The death of Sleggar? The death of Ryu? This game gives you the chance to do that! Or do you want to make an unstoppable platoon of Char from the first Gundam, Anavel Gato from Gundam 0083, and Norris from 08th MS Team? When given the opportunity, you can do that in this game! Or what if Amuro managed to get the ALEX from Gundam 0080? Yes, that game manages to give you that chance!

Giving flavor to these possible scenarios, the game provides animated cutscenes that are both in tune with the style of the original series and with modern animation techniques. While the characters of the separate anime installments of Gundam may have different designs, they maintain their original designs in the game and their original seiyuu (such as Tooru Furuya for Amuro, Shuichi Ikeda for Char, etc.). It even includes characters (both hero and villain) from the previously mentioned Blue Destiny and Rise from the Ashes. If you want a crossover of every UC character you can imagine, this is the game to play! However, this game is Japanese exclusive and Japanese reading ability may be a necessity, but GameFAQs should give you some quality translations to help you follow.


Final Thoughts

For honorable mentions, we would like to make the first one to the Z Gundam game for PlayStation. What makes this game distinct is that it shows fans what happened to Char upon the ending of the Z Gundam anime series and what it was that motivates him to create his Neo Zeon in the Char’s Counterattack movie. Another honorable mention is Gundam 0079: The War for Earth, the closest thing you’re ever going to get to a live action Gundam. If you want to know what I mean, look it up on youtube. In the future, we can hope that it can possibly move into VR!

Through this list, hopefully, someone can convince Tomino that games give players the chance to feel what it’s like to pilot a mobile suit. Watching anime is largely a passive form of entertainment and gaming is more active. With games, you have that ability to choose the outcome and experience the world of Gundam in a different way. Gundam can be expressed in many ways such as an RPG, a fighting game, an arcade melee shooter, and as a simulator.

So, is it fair for Tomino to say these things about games when Gundam has experienced success through games (and does he make money off of the games?)? Certainly not! Let’s hope that one day Tomino can get into the cockpit of Senjou no Kizuna and have him reconsider.

Justin

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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