Into the G: Universe
During the demo, I was only able to play through the game up until Directory 1 or Chapter 1 which consists of a total of 5 stages. The Story of the demo starts off with the Player – also known as the Commander, your programmer Juno and her assistant Haro being transported into the G Universe, which is a computer data space where the historical memory bank is uploaded to.
In the G Universe, we are met with an AI called Sakura, where she explains that the battles that happen in the G: Universe is just a simulation, but these battles will affect the outcomes of the physical world and even alter the course of history. In the instances of where historical events that happened in the physical world is altered, it is referred to as “Breaks” or “Break Missions” in game.
The overall goal of the story is to prevent these Breaks from altering history by collecting the “Fragment Keys” which are used to revert history. There are two types of missions for some of the stages, one being “Break” missions where the historical events are altered and you can see different gundam suits from other timelines being summoned. The other type of mission is the “True” missions where you play out the events of the timeline accordingly to history.
While it’s still the demo version of the game, there’s not much I talk about the story other than if you’re a personal fan of the gundam franchise, you might find that the fact of having different gundam and characters across the franchise making an appearance in SD Gundam Battle Alliance. If you’re someone who isn’t as invested into the Gundam Franchise, the game might give off the same charm.
Into the Simulations
The graphics for SD Gundam Battle Alliance are relatively decent where the the Gundam Suits are pretty detailed where you can noticeably see the weathering on the suits which make them feel like they’ve been on hundreds of battlefields. But unfortunately, I feel like the environmental design are lackluster where the textures can be seen as pretty flat, which can be most notably seen in the desert maps.
The environmental designs from the demo feature three different places where the missions take place in, a desert landscape, a cityscape and a port town. My personal favourite was the missions in the cityscape where there are buildings that if you pass through them, they will collapse which makes the environment feel more immersive.
The map design for the missions available in the demo is pretty lackluster which makes the map feel pretty empty and it being also pretty linear can make the maps feel very unmemorable. The cityscape environment that’s filled with tall buildings are pretty cool but it doesn’t offer much to the over gameplay mechanic. While you can technically hide behind some of the buildings, they rarely do much to help you out so I wouldn’t consider that to be as proper cover.
Although, the maps do give off some form of verticality where you can sometimes see enemies blasting their guns at you on the highground, and with maps like the cityscape where there’s one section of the mission where you have to fight against enemies on a bridge, and being able to go up and down the bridge while fighting gives into the verticality of the maps.
Into the Gundam Suits
There isn’t that much personality for the Commander since they are your average self-insert character, which I think is due to the fact that SD Gundam Battle Alliance has Visual Novel elements in the game. The player has the option to pick different dialogue choices at certain points of the story, and from those dialogue options, you’re given different response accordingly. Though at this point in time, I don’t think there will be branching paths which leads to different endings.
The dialogue options are pretty much just like your average Visual Novel dialogue even with the options where you can compliment either Sakura or Juno.
I don’t think there’s much to the dialogue system other than adding some flavour texts to the game. Although, one very neat thing about SD Gundam Battle Alliance is that every character and dialogue are fully voiced-acted and even had some of the original Voice Actors to voice their respective characters from other Gundam franchise who made an appearance in this game. For example, the pilot for Barbatos – Mikazuki Augus who was voiced by Kengo Kawanishi from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.
Another neat thing is that they kept the characters overall personality similar to the respective series which I find to be a very nice love letter to fans of the Gundam series. On a similar note, there’s also some instances where you can hear character interactions between the pilots from the similar franchise and how they act with one another.
That being said, the one gripe that I have about the dialogue is how it mainly occurs during combat which can be pretty annoying at times where you have to hear both the character’s dialogue between one another as well as the in-game combat sounds at the same time. Having to read through the dialogue and fight at the same time can be a difficult task for someone who has a monkey brain like I do, so I tend to usually tune out the dialogue mid-fight.
Into the Battlefield
Over the course of me playing the SD Gundam Battle Alliance demo, I find that the gameplay is pretty straightforward but lacks some depth, though I do believe that’s because I’m still very early on with the game, and it might get better as you play through the game when it comes out. Each Gundam suits have their normal melee attack, a special melee attack, a ranged weapon and two subweapon skills.
I personally play through some of the Gundam Suits in the demo and I found that each of them feel pretty unique to one another in terms of gameplay style like how the melee attacks of the range-focused DOM trooper feel different compared to the melee-focused Barbatos.
The game also features a combo system where you can hold down your melee button to perform a launching move which you can hit the enemy up to the air and you can perform aerial attacks which do slight more damage.
Along with the aerial attacks, you can also target an enemy Gundam’s rear which also gives slightly more damage than normal attacks.
The game also features a stamina mechanic for the Gundams where attacking, dashing and double jumping will cost stamina so you can’t just constantly spam attacks, which I think adds a bit more immersion to the game.
Although, one issue that I had with the gameplay for SD Gundam Battle Alliance demo is how the camera is wonky at times, espcially during the cityscape battle where I face off agasint Zechs. Zech’s Gundam is a very fast unit and he zips around the battlefield very often so the lock-on tends to direct my camera to the buildings which can sometimes obstruct my view and it was very annoying since that happens a lot during that fight.
The Gundam suits have four different upgrade features where you can spend your points that you gather from completing missions that strengthens your Gundam suit.
Not only that you upgrade your Gundam suits by spending points to increase their stats, each Gundam suit can also equip pilot skills such as Auto Guard, +X amount of melee/range damage which directly affects your Gundam which adds another depth to customisability and have your Gundam suit personal playstyles.
Players can also bring in two additional pilots into battle, where each of the pilots have their own levels where it can grow the more you bring them into the fight.
These pilots can be pretty helpful during combat especially during boss fights since they can draw aggro away from you which can ease up some pressure during the intense fight.
Into the End
All in all, I personally had fun while playing through the SD Gundam Battle Alliance demo where my favourite part of the game is fighting the level’s bosses which can be pretty challenging at times but those battle made me be able to utilise my Gundam Suit’s capabilities to its fullest potential.
It’s also really cool to see how the game plays tribute to the Gundam franchise fans by including different characters and Gundams into the game. But it can be a double edged sword because newcomers might not be able to fully enjoy the game.