SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online: CB Impressions
By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Gundam fans! The wait is finally over! SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online (SDGO for short) has finally reached North America. SDGO is a multiplayer online third person shooter featuring SD (Super Deformed) versions of mobile units from many different Gundam eras, including Gundam SEED, Mobile Fighter G Gundam and many others.
Since its initial release in South Korea, the game is about four years old and has had a lot of content built up over those years. Players that got to participate in the closed beta were granted with 1,000 astros (OGP currency) to test out the shop and play around with as many functions as they wanted. I nabbed a closed beta key and got to try out all these Gundam goodies for myself.
Once logged in, the game starts the tutorial right away. From the get go, gameplay seemed pretty basic for anyone that has ever played a mech shooter similar to this one, but I stuck through it just to see if there was anything special worth learning.
After training, I was granted a freebie roll to earn my first SD unit:
Meh. I’m not fond of Zaku units, But hey… it’s free.
I was looking to head straight for the PvP, but the game locks out any players that aren’t private rank and up. Oh well. Mission mode it is then. First mission was “Destroy the Moon Base”. Sounds pretty straight forward, but the mission was divided into four sectors. First: protect the battleship we flew in on from 30 enemy Zaku IIs, then destroy six Gatling cannons and six beam cannons, and THEN we can destroy the moon base.
Other available missions had simple objectives such as protecting space ships from waves of enemies.
After a few more rounds, I took a peek into the capsule and shopping room to see what kinds of units were available. There were TONS. They sure weren’t kidding when they said Gundams from every era would be available: There’s Aegis Gundams, Astray Blue Frame Gundams, Strike Gundams, GM Sniper II Gundams, even the freaking Nether Gundam that looks like a silly windmill.
Geez, that’s a lot of Gundams!
My personal favorite was the M1 Astray Gundam, with its Orange-White-Black color scheme and huge jet boosters in the back. I also picked out a 105 Dagger Gundam which specialized in melee combat using dual plasma swords.
After taking on a few more missions, it was time to hop into PvP for the first time. First game mode I tried was Boss mode. Similar to a typical team deathmatch, both teams will have one player serve as a “boss”, in which both teams will have to destroy to earn extra points. Boss players will gain an increase in size as well as increased defense and attack damage. Playing PvP is where the game really started to pick up, as combat here felt fast-paced and chaotic. It’s so easy to get taken out in a second if you’re not careful. It took me awhile to get used to the pacing, so my first couple of matches were less than stellar. You don’t have to worry about ammo while battling, as it’s completely unlimited so players can jump into the fray without hesitation. Only thing players have to worry about is reloading.
PvP exposes players to the finer aspects of combat, such as performing special attacks and making use of environments as cover. Pulling off special attacks require you to be in point black range of an enemy, and will go into an inescapable cut scene that shows your unit tearing the enemy up. There are tons of different special attacks for each unit, as well.
Environments are also destructible, so players can level the entire playing field if they wanted to.
“Building? What Building?”
Several matches afterwards, I ranked up and was able to jump into the higher channels. I wanted to see if PvE mode’s difficulties were any more challenging.
The kids gloves were off for PvE, as Normal mode felt more like impossible mode: Enemy spawn rates were doubled and both boss and grunt units could easily take players out with four or five hits. It sure felt like the labeling of difficulties were a bit misleading. They should have been labeled as:
Very Easy = Easy
Easy = Normal
Normal = BEND OVER
They were so difficult that I felt like giving up after only a couple tries. I suppose having a more supped up mobile unit and good communication among teammates will be the key to beating these missions, but we all know how well communication works out when playing online games in PUGs, rights? Yeah, I know you do. Better gather up some good teammates to play with you; otherwise get used to seeing your unit explode over and over again.
The more I played around, the more I was taken in by the game’s music. SDGO’s original soundtrack felt really authentic, as if ripped straight from a Gundam Wing episode. The music was so nice I felt a bit of nostalgia, which was kind of weird since I never played SDGO previously… Feeling a sense of nostalgia over a game I’ve never played before? That must be a good sign.
However, the voice overs for the operators were incredibly lackluster. It sounded almost like they grabbed a bunch of strangers off the sidewalk to perform a few lines of dialog, and then recorded everything using a five dollar microphone. The only operator that gave a moderately decent VO was Operator-B, and she clearly sounded like she was trying too hard.
Overall, My time spent playing SDGO was great. Once this game comes out of closed beta, SDGO is something that all Gundam fans should take a look at, as the amount of mobile units will be enough to make any fan have a nerdgasm. Oh, and the gameplay isn’t too bad, either.
For more information, check out our SDGO profile page here at OnRPG.com