The long-running Gundam Versus series is finally heading overseas with the aptly named Gundam Versus, which is due out at the end of the month. In preparation for its launch, Bandai Namco released an open beta version of the game that was playable over the weekend. Naturally, we got stuck right in, and it's safe to say that we're looking forward to giving the finished product a shot.

If you're not at all familiar with the series, then allow us to quickly try and explain what it's all about. Much like its predecessors, Gundam Versus is essentially a team-based arena fighter. Up to six mobile suits -- only four in the beta -- are plopped onto a relatively open map, split into two teams, and tasked with shooting down the opposition.

The premise is a simple one, but the gameplay of Gundam Versus is deceptively deep. Each and every playable suit -- of which there are a ridiculous amount -- has its own set of attacks, strengths, and weaknesses. Some are very balanced, offering good long range weaponry alongside decent melee techniques, while others are geared towards a more specialised style of play.

We didn't get to properly work our way through too many suits over the weekend, but the ones that we did try all felt surprisingly unique. Gundam Epyon, for example, relies exclusively on its large beam saber and deadly whip, forcing us to close in on our opponents by making the most of its inbuilt agility. On the other side of the spectrum, Gundam Dynames is best played at range, keeping up the pressure with its hard hitting sniper rifle.

Adapting your style of play and learning the intricacies of each suit are two aspects that are going to consume more serious players. In that sense, Gundam Versus isn't too far detached from a traditional fighting game. Once you're comfortable with the controls, you're free to dig into the more complex mechanics as deeply as you like.

Fortunately, it seems as though the game will cater for all skill levels thanks to its broad suite of modes. We came across some seriously stiff competition online, but if you're not quite ready to throw down with the committed, the beta's single player trial mode was an approachable and enjoyable alternative. As far as we know, Gundam Versus will ship with a bunch of different single player modes, so there should be plenty of opportunity to test out your favourite suits and see what fits best.

The Gundam Versus beta gave us a brief glimpse of what's to come, but even after spending just a couple of days with it, the finished game's potential depth is clear to see.


Did you give the Gundam Versus beta a shot over the weekend? Calibrate your aim in the comments section below.