Also available on PlayStation Vita
Bandai Namco has a bad habit of neglecting us Westerners when it comes to Gundam games. We've gotten several, but it seems like for every Gundam game that we get, there's three that we miss. Fortunately, a lot of games that don't make it out of Asia still end up having English subtitles in Chinese or general Asian releases. One such game is Gundam Breaker 3, and if you can get the Breaker Edition, you get all of the DLC on-disc since the PlayStation Store is locked based on your account's region.
The Gundam Breaker sub-series has a unique premise. Instead of flying giant robots in space fighting some war, you play as some random dude who likes to build Gunpla, the plastic Gundam models. These Gunpla models then interface with some VR-type machine and lets you battle other players' Gunplas. It provides, therefore, a much more light-hearted story than most Gundam games, but what it also allows for is much greater customization. Want the head of a Zaku II, the body of a GM, the arms of a Guntank, the legs of a Rick Dias, and the beam saber and beam rifle of a Zeta Gundam? Go for it. Want to attach seven Mega Particle Cannons to your chest and annihilate everything in your path a golden beam of justice? It's all you, man. Want all of that in a hot pink paintjob with black and electric blue accents? You got it. The customization options are nigh infinite, and you can merge plastic or even other components with your equipment to level it up, strengthening it and keeping it on par with increasingly difficult enemies.
The game's main story follows the Gunpla team of a small Japanese shopping arcade that's being pushed into obscurity by the encroaching monopolization of a massive American retail conglomerate. Your team takes part in Gunpla tournament to try to get the shopping arcade's name out there and bring in more customers to revitalize it. You play through the City Cup, the regional tournament, the Japan national tournament, and eventually even the world tournament. Then some plot stuff that I won't spoil happens. It's a fairly light-hearted story, and it's not exactly an exemplar of compelling storytelling, but it serves the purpose well enough. The game is broken into five chapters with roughly 13 missions in each chapter, but there are also online modes, arena battles, and, if you have the Breaker Edition, a good number of DLC missions to play.
Visually, the game looks absolutely fantastic. I'd love to have the Vita version to play and compare, but it looks glorious on PS4. Set your Gunpla's paint to metallic and high gloss, and it's like you're piloting a solid gold robot. If you're as tacky and gaudy as me, anyway. I guess you could give it normal colors, but what's the fun in that? The absolute highlight of the game in my opinion is the customization options. No two players will likely ever have exactly the same mobile suits, and with the merge feature, any mobile suit setup can be good if you put in the effort to craft it into the role you want. It gives the player total agency over his or her Gunpla, and that's EXACTLY what I've always wanted in a Gundam game - the ability to build whatever crazy ass Gundam I want.
Gundam Breaker 3 is an absolute gem of a Gundam game, but it's not perfect. The gameplay does get somewhat repetitive, and it's probably best played either with a friend or in short bursts, but it is still absolutely fantastic. It's not exactly cheap - roughly $60 for the Break Edition with English subtitles - but it's well worth it if your'e a fan of Gundam. I can't recommend this highly enough.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.