“Gundam Evolution”: A fast paced hero shooter perfect for mech fans


Erina Corl

The gundam RX-78, along with many other mechs, are beautifully rendered down to the smallest details.

Erina Corl, Reporter

Many years ago my friends and I would stay up all night playing “Overwatch” on Xbox party chat. For hours we would try to climb the ranks in the game’s competitive mode, go nuts when one of us hit a perfect use of an ability, or just mindlessly talk about whatever was ailing us at 2 a.m. Since “Overwatch,” there haven’t been many alternatives out there, and now that the servers are shutting down for the release of “Overwatch 2,” not even a sequel will provide a different venue for its style of gameplay. “Gundam Evolution” is the alternative, set in one of my favorite fictional worlds, with a much faster pace and a free-to-play model. 

Gundam is a franchise that needs very little introduction; the war-torn solar system and beyond began in 1979 with a series by Yoshiyuki Tomino and has evolved into a juggernaut in anime, games and model kits. This legacy is well preserved within “Gundam Evolution.” The mechs are gorgeously rendered to the finest detail, with a somewhat wide selection from the more popular original series and “Zeta,” to more underrated picks like “Turn A Gundam.” It also features a range of skins to customize your favorite mechs, and while they are mostly just color palette swaps, the skins still bring a small feeling of individuality on the battlefield.                                                                                                                              

Excluding the mechs, the graphics are a little bit basic. There’s little atmosphere and the only piece of the game’s world given any major personality is within the environment itself. Buildings, lamp posts and trees are a much smaller size, evoking the feeling of piloting a robot the size of a five-story building. Though due to the graphics, the scale makes you feel less like you’re piloting a mech and more like you’re a model in a diorama, or you’re wearing some kind of Gundam-themed suit about to fight in a cardboard model of a town, though personally I find that rather charming.       

Those familiar with “Overwatch” will find this game easy to jump into, featuring an almost identical user interface, game modes and abilities across the heroes. Blizzard’s hero shooter’s influence is obvious. What makes “Gundam” different from “Overwatch,” however, is the lightning-fast pace of its combat. Most weapons can kill within seconds of a confrontation, abilities recharge almost immediately and respawns are immediate, creating a frantic and breakneck pace within every match. In one of the earlier matches I played, I ended up getting about 12 kills within only a few minutes from the sheer speed of encounters in the game. 

Many game modes are available within this 6v6 hero shooter, all of which lightning-fast paced allowing exciting moments in the field. (Erina Corl)

“Gundam Evolution” is not without flaws. At the end of the day it’s a free-to-play game, which inevitably leads to some weird monetization. The progression was a bit slow; after four hours I barely made it up to the fifth of sixty tiers, which then only awarded me an icon. Five of the seventeen characters currently available require in-game currency to unlock and play, but currency finds are few and far between and would take a bit of grinding to accomplish. 

Some in-game currency is able to be purchased for real world money, pricing $10 for a single character if you don’t wish to grind. Or if you want to grind faster, you may purchase the season pass, which gives you more frequent rewards and progression. Loot boxes of course, make an appearance to unlock icons, skins and other cosmetics within the game. 

While the microtransactions are disappointing but expected in the freeware, “Gundam Evolution” also offers more fun than I’ve had in years with a multiplayer game. A fast and fun free-to-play shooter I strongly recommend, especially if you have some old “Overwatch” buddies who wish for an alternative to “Overwatch 2.”

“Gundam Evolution” is currently free to play on Steam and will be available on consoles Dec. 1.