I’m torn about whether I should recommend Gundam Evolution to people. My feelings can pretty much be summed up with a vintage Futurama Fry meme: Not sure if Gundam Evolution is a good game, or if I just like Gundam too much to see its flaws.
What’s making my confusion harder to shake is that other people are enjoying the game as well. People who may not even care about Gundam! Some of them are even saying it’s better than Overwatch 2, another big-name hero shooter that’s coming out next week. Some of that may simply be bitterness over the fact that Overwatch 2 isn’t just a sequel, but a wholesale replacement for the original Overwatch.
If Blizzard’s decision has left you searching for a new hero shooter, then let me try to answer your questions about Gundam Evolution. Not because I know much at all about Overwatch, but because I know way too much about Gundam.
It’s fun! (And free!)
I may not be able to say if it’s “better” than Overwatch 2, but I can definitely report that Gundam Evolution is a good time. Despite being giant metal robots, these Gundams fight and die fast. You’ll likely be respawning frequently while trying to capture or defend points or detonating and disarming bombs, so you’ll never be wanting for action. There aren’t strict character classes here, with even the most supportive of mobile suits packing enough firepower to make most 1v1s an even test of skill. Best of all, it’s free and widely available on PC and consoles, so you can easily give it a try.
The microtransactions are bad
Gundam Evolution may be free, but it’s also laden with microtransactions. There are loot boxes, five characters you can pay to unlock, a season pass, and deluxe editions that include premium currency you have to use in 120 days or it expires! You can grind it out in the free tier and earn enough non-premium currency to unlock a Gundam if you put enough time in, but you’re going to have a very boring-looking profile for a long time. At least it isn’t locking new characters behind a battle pass like Overwatch 2.
It’s more like Overwatch 1 than Overwatch 2
Gundam Evolution has six-player teams, just like Overwatch — Overwatch 2 is moving to five-person teams. Unlike Overwatch 2, Gundam Evolution has stun attacks. Only five of the 17 mobile suits are locked at the start of the game, unlike heroes in Overwatch 2. Are there more similarities? Quite possibly, but this is the extent of my Overwatch knowledge.
No, you can’t play as Deathscythe
Gundam Evolution lacks not only a playable XXXG-01D Gundam Deathscythe, but in fact lacks any references to the only Gundam series many American fans have ever seen. Big oversight, or a $20 purchase down the line? Who can say?
The playable Gundams include some deep cuts
Gundam Evolution features a total of 17 playable mobile suits at present (all of these robots are considered mobile suits, but technically only some of them are truly Gundams). This includes many popular mobile suits from the original series, including the Zaku, Guntank, and original RX-78-2 Gundam, as well as modern suits like the Unicorn Gundam and the Gundam Barbatos from Iron-Blooded Orphans.
More surprising are the suits filling out the roster from the early Zeta and ZZ Gundam, like the transforming Methuss and Asshimar. Another playable character appears only in a Gundam manga and video game. Best of all, the game has two suits from the relatively obscure Turn A Gundam, which aired in Japan at the turn of the millennium but only came to America via DVD in 2015. This is important because this Gundam features a mustache and you can play as it and it is good.
The playable characters aren’t always screen-accurate
Gundam fans should be prepared for canonical inaccuracies from the get-go, and the game says as much on the character info screens. Gundam Evolution is not interested in a close adherence to source material, and it’s frankly a better game for it. Sure, the morning star strangely named the “Gundam Hammer” is far from the RX-78-2’s most iconic weapon, but it makes for an apt secondary ability here. Other units are given weapons and abilities they’ve never had before in order to make them more balanced fighters.
You don’t need to know anything about Gundam to enjoy Gundam Evolution
There is no story in Gundam Evolution. Unlike Overwatch, which has a single setting all the characters are from, Gundam Evolution is more like Super Smash Bros. or MultiVersus, where a bunch of characters from completely different series or timelines are all fighting each other for no good reason. The most important thing is deciding which character will be your first Gunpla build.
Gundam Evolution is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.