PS5 Review - 'SD Gundam Battle Alliance' (2024)

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Aug. 25, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

PS5 Review - 'SD Gundam Battle Alliance' (1) Pilots can navigate the Gundam universe like never before with stylish visuals, dynamic battle animations and impressive effects as players take on challenging cooperative battles in SD Gundam Battle Alliance.

SD Gundam Battle Alliance follows the story of the Gatheroad Squadron, a specialized group of soldiers in the Universal Century's One-Year War. During what seems like a routine mission, the group is drawn into the "G-Universe," which is a digital replication of the long history of the Gundam franchise. They discover that some force is distorting the reality of the G-Universe and impacting real-world events. The group must find a way to stop the mysterious force before reality is ruined.

For longtime Gundam fans, the most appealing part of Battle Alliance will be seeing the crossovers between various series. That leads to things like Mikazuki declaring himself the Gundam Fighter of Mars, or Bernie Wiseman spending an entire mission trash-talking Graze Ein. There are a lot of deep cuts and amusing jokes that help make it a game that's fun for even the most hardcore fans.

There is a small issue of favoritism, which is frustrating if you're a fan of one of the more obscure series. The Universal Century One-Year War/Zeta Era, Cosmic Era, and Post Disaster universes get the majority of the focus. There's even a plot point that the Universal Century seems to get more attention. Other series like "Gundam 00" and "G Gundam" get some attention but not quite on the same level. Others, like "Gundam X" and "Turn-A Gundam," feel like afterthoughts.

Combat in Battle Alliance looks simple on the surface. You have a fast attack, a strong attack, a ranged attack and two subweapons that vary depending on the mobile suit you are using. Fast attacks can be charged into a spinning AOE attack, and strong attacks can be charged into a launching attack that knocks standard-sized stunned enemies into the air, where players can combo-attack foes. The variety in units comes largely from their subweapons and special attacks, most of which define a unit's abilities. For example, the Exia is a close-range combat specialist whose subweapons allow them to close in quickly on foes, while the Freedom Gundam has a variety of ranged weapons that allow them to dodge in and out of melee range.

Common cannon fodder goes down quickly, but the Mobile Suit bosses have a Break meter. When they use certain attacks or are hit with certain attacks, their Break meter goes down. Subweapons drop Break meter more than anything else. If the meter bottoms out, the enemy is temporarily stunned, leaving them vulnerable to slower attacks or longer combo strings. Enemies can be broken repeatedly, so the general flow of combat is to break, attack, break, and attack.

Defense also plays a big factor. Every unit can dodge or guard. Dodging drains your boost gauge, while guarding drops your guard meter. Both replenish over time, but if one goes down, you become vulnerable to damage. Dodging or guarding immediately before an attack hits activates a Perfect version of the maneuver, and that doesn't use up resources. If it's a melee attack, guarding also lets you perform a counter that does solid damage and wrecks an enemy's Break gauge. Rather than relentless attacking, it's usually better to bait enemies into an attack that you can defend against and then use their vulnerability to "break" them.

The combat system takes some getting used to; I wasn't really having much fun for the first few hours. Despite resembling something more button-mashy like Gundam Breaker 3, it's more akin to something like Monster Hunter or Dark Souls, where you basically need to dodge, parry, and slowly dish out damage over time. Early on, you can smash enemies into the air and perform air combos until the cows come home. Once you reach Mobile Armor battles, you're going to have to learn how to play the game right or spend most of your time smashed into a corner. Damage numbers are extremely high, so it's easy to lose one-third of your health to a single attack. Like the Souls titles, you have a limited number of healing items per stage.

There's also an MMO "role" element to the gameplay. Units come in one of three types: All-Rounder, Infighter and Sharpshooter. All-Rounders are good at close and ranged but not as good as either damage-wise, with their big advantage being flexibility and breaking enemies. Infighters have high melee attack stats and defense stats but poor ability to fight at range. Sharpshooters are glass cannons with high damage output, but they can't survive getting up close.

This trinity matters because arguably the single most important thing in Battle Alliance is managing your Hate. Whoever is doing the most damage attracts the enemy's attention in common MMO fashion. This is bad for them but good for allies, as attacking enemies from behind do additional damage, so you want someone to reliably draw the focus of Hate, so other fighters can do the most damage. The targets of Hate will be under constant assault, so it's better for an Infighter to fill this role, since they have the defenses to match, while a Sharpshooter doesn't want to be attacked if they can help it.

This is clearly designed for the multiplayer mode, but it can feel awkward in single-player because the AI is relatively mediocre at managing Hate. I stuck to All-Rounders or Infighters; as fun as Sharpshooters were, it was too easy to draw Hate, and having Char Aznable up in my vulnerable face was not a good thing. It seems like it'll be a lot more fun with a group of three working together instead of depending on AI partners.

The biggest conflicts in the game follow slightly different rules. Mobile Armor battles, which pit you against giant foes, are odd. Managing Hate is still important, but they don't usually have Break gauges. Instead, you need to target specific enemy parts to expose weak spots to do the most damage. These enemies are extremely durable, fast and have a variety of attacks that hit from all distances, making them incredibly dangerous.

One frustrating element (if true to canon) is the prevalence of I-Fields or similar anti-beam defenses on giant enemies. I-Fields and their ilk nullify any non-melee beam attack. They can be overloaded with repeated attacks, and that is a viable way to weaken a foe (similar to the Break gauge), but it feels crappy to bring a huge portion of the cast into combat due to the omnipresence of ranged beam weapons. It wouldn't be a big issue if the game weren't so unfriendly to swapping units.

Battle Alliance does do one thing that works heavily against making the game enjoyable, and that is the incredibly tedious process of trying out a new unit. First you have to unlock the unit, and then you need to upgrade it, which is an extremely costly process if you want to bring it up to the current level you're playing at. Instead of, "I got Zeta Gundam, let me see how it plays" you almost certainly have to grind stages multiple times to get enough money to bring it up to a level that you can use it, or else you can test it out on lower-level stages that otherwise provide no real rewards.

The result is that I barely changed my unit because the alternative choice was to grind missions that I'd already completed. This is clearly trying to evoke the repeating grind of a Monster Hunter game, but since 90% of what you get are basically interchangeable parts/items, it's a lot less fun. The appeal of something like the SD Gundam franchise is in collecting a variety of new toys to play with, and Battle Alliance doesn't make that very fun to do, at least in single-player.

SD Gundam Battle Alliance looks fairly nice. The superdeformed aesthetic might not be to everyone's taste, but the units are colorful and well modeled, and there are same particularly nice animation touches that are pleasant callbacks to iconic moments from the series. The environments are a bit basic but do a good job of re-creating certain areas. In particular, I like the larger city environments where the buildings collapse as you fight around them. Battle Alliance has all the voice actors and a good chunk of the music from most of the included series, which keeps things feeling properly on brand.

SD Gundam Battle Alliance does some things that I really enjoy and some things that I really don't. If you're a fan of the franchise, the crossovers will tickle your fancy. The chance to take some of your favorite machines into battle against one another will hold some appeal, but the overall grindy nature of the game can drag down the fan service elements. It's a fun enough game for die-hard fans of Gundam, but without that love to carry you, it's unlikely this title will catch your interest.

Score: 7.5/10

More articles about SD Gundam Battle Alliance

PS5 Review - 'SD Gundam Battle Alliance' (2024)


Is SD Gundam Battle Alliance a good game? ›

As a Gundam game, Battle Alliance is a very strong outing, very reminiscent of the Dynasty Warriors games. Combining Gundam canon, but including some twists to their respective stories, including enemies and allies from other timelines, is a great way to make these stories feel fresh.

Is SD Gundam Battle Alliance DLC worth it? ›

Yes, if you want to upgrade a lot of mechs. DLC's got best grinding maps if you want uncap, capital, and parts, at same time. There's hardly any good place to grind uncap 4/5 in base game.

How many hours is SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

Main Story716h 53m
Main + Extras1143h
Completionist342h 37m
All PlayStyles2134h 14m

Can you play SD Gundam Battle Alliance solo? ›

SD Gundam Battle Alliance is a multiplayer Gundam action RPG where you can smash foes solo or with friends in thrilling mechanized combat.

How many playable Gundams are in SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

There are over seventy mobile suits for players to choose from in SD Gundam Battle Alliance. These are the best Mecha Infighters in the game. SD Gundam Battle Alliance is an action-packed RPG and the newest video game release from the Gundam franchise.

Can SD Gundam Battle Alliance be played offline? ›

This game is offline by default. You can disconnect the internet while playing and you won't be kicked out of game in single player mode.

Is SD Gundam Battle Alliance dead? ›

The game is dead and with it, all hope for a good classic gundam game. The WFM DLC was just a last minute attempt to milk some money. Clearly no one from Bandai has read our wishes for more content. They could have made extra money by unlocking the grunt suits, adding pvp, or throwing in new items to unlock.

What is the max level in SD Gundam Battle Alliance MS? ›

Level cap is 99 for both pilot and MS. Pilot stats can be maxed out by using cap (money) with the train feature in the pilot list. As far MS go, you have to correctly invest points in the stats you want, but the main problem is that a MS starting with 100 points in atk, will be always weaker than one starting at 300.

Will there be DLC for SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

SD Gundam Battle Alliance has just launched on Xbox Game Pass as part of your normal subscription. Additionally, 4 addtional DLC packs for SD Gundam Battle Alliance have just been released and we think you're going to love them! you need to power through your adventures in the G Universe!

Is SD Gundam Battle Alliance a Musou game? ›

SD Gundam Battle Alliance is an action RPG with a bit of musou DNA, but with a focus on defense.

What is the longest Gundam series? ›

Overview. A Japan/America co-production, 26 episodes of Superior Defender Gundam Force initially aired on the Cartoon Network in the U.S., and later 52 episodes were broadcast on TV Tokyo in Japan, making it the longest Gundam series ever broadcast.

What kind of game is SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

SD GUNDAM BATTLE ALLIANCE is an action RPG that allows players to battle Super Deformed (SD) versions of Mobile Suits from the Gundam series. The story takes place in G: Universe, a world where Gundam canon twists and turns in ways no one can predict.

What does balancer do in SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

Balancer Meter

Specific actions by the enemy and yourself will deplete this gauge. Once it is completely empty, the boss will temporarily be in the Break state. They will often briefly cease acting during this time.

Does SD Gundam Battle Alliance have couch co op? ›

The Switch and Steam versions cannot cross-play with anyone else, and the Switch release has the unique feature of local co-op with other nearby players playing on it. Despite its flaws, SD Gundam Battle Alliance provides a fairly unique experience in just being a challenging game in general.


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