The brand of Mobile Suit Gundam it is certainly one of the most prolific ever for the Japanese scene, which for over forty years has been constantly churning out new animated, comic and soon live action productions, as well as countless model kits every month and initiatives that also involve the real world. The video game market is certainly not exempt from walking hand in hand with the saga conceived by Yoshiyuki Tomino and the team of Sunrise which responds to the name of Hajime Yatate, with several productions currently in development and already released that satisfy the desire of fans, especially Japanese, to fight aboard a Mobile Suit. While on PC we await the hybrid between mecha and FPS arena and on consoles the next iteration of the franchise EXTREME VS. and the new Gundam Breaker, from November the two current PlayStation consoles host a new, unexpected product. Let’s talk about MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy, which as the name suggests is a sort of free-to-play spin-off GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION 2, available now on PS4 and PS5.
Code Fairy can be considered a sort of paid single player campaign for the mecha combat simulation just mentioned, a story in three volumes released periodically that will make us experience the unprecedented events of a platoon of Zeon all female, deployed in California during the One Year War. Let’s find out together in our review.
- Title: MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy
- Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
- Version analyzed: PlayStation 5
- Gender: Simulation, Combat
- Players: 1
- Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
- Developer: BB Studio Co., Ltd
- Tongue: English (lyrics), Japanese (dubbing)
- Exit date: November 5, 2021 (volume 1)
- Availability: retail, digital delivery
- DLC: costumes, units, operators and tokens
- Note: distributed in three volumes available from 5/11, 19/11 and 3/12, available for purchase as a bundle along with bonus items
We reviewed MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy with a PlayStation 4 / PlayStation 5 code provided to us free of charge by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment.
The Beauty and the Zaku
Released in digital format only in three episode packs, MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy it is a rather particular experiment if we consider all the Gundam games released so far. Unlike the series of EXTREME VS. and Gundam Breaker, belongs to the “simulative” trend that in the past has seen iconic exponents such as Federation VS. Zeon on PS2, but also not too bright like Target in Sight, launch title of PlayStation 3 defined by many as one of the worst titles in the console lineup. How can a sci-fi game be a simulation? Simply, replicating as much as possible the behavior of a war machine about eighteen meters high and almost eighty tons heavy. Forget the fast-paced and exciting fights experienced in the aforementioned titles and get ready to board one Zaku as if you find yourself commanding it in real life. More or less.
Protagonist of Code Fairy is the young woman Alma Stirner, a Mobile Suit pilot who will soon find himself at the head of the infantry of the small army known as Noisy Fairy of the Zeon army, stationed on Earth and more precisely in defense of the North American front. More than a barracks, the operational base of the Noisy Fairy looks like a real villa of the past in European style, and even the atmosphere inside it seems more that of a women’s boarding school rather than a military structure. Alongside Alma we will find an all-female cast, made up of companions on the field My Brinkman And Helena Hegel, by the commander Killy Garrett, by the cold strategist Barbara Hahari and by the engineer Irmela Gruber, who will take care of the tuning and maintenance of our units.
The structure of the game is reminiscent in all respects of a classic animated series: each chapter will start with an introductory portion, followed by opening theme. After the scenes set in the villa of Tír na nÓg and the real gameplay part we will find each time the closing theme and the anticipation of the next chapter. From this point of view, I must say that the development team has taken considerable care to make the product as close to an anime as possible, and the animations curated by Sunrise are the icing on the cake. If we want to consider these the most important elements MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy, we can judge it positively. However, BB Studio’s game carries a heavy burden: inherits the gameplay of Battle Operation 2.
Do flowers bloom even in the flames of war?
The answer is simple: no. As Gundam himself has taught us in forty years of animated series, war almost never leads to anything good, better battles between GUNPLA (plastic mounting kits, for the layman). Unfortunately in this case the war does not lead to anything good from the point of view of the gameplay, given that the parts where we will find ourselves driving our Zaku, unit with which Alma will take his first steps on the battlefield, turn out to be the biggest thorn in the side of production.
As already confirmed and signed by the publisher, Code Fairy was born as a side project (and connected, in a certain sense) to GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION 2, the title playable for free on PlayStation 4 And PlayStation 5. From this free-to-play it therefore inherits the technical sector and almost every gameplay mechanic on the battlefield. The problem that unites the two games, however, is the extreme woodiness of the control system in relation to the game, made extremely difficult by decidedly questionable game design choices. For example, unlike other titles, we find ourselves with two different commands to activate the thrusters on the plane, to perform a push forward, or vertically, and getting to a higher position is difficult due to the fact that the “jump” it will be charged for a few seconds.
But those three to four seconds it takes to charge the propulsion upward are nothing compared to cooldown times of each of the weapons that we will be able to equip to our Mobile Suit, whether it is firearms or melee weapons. While I can understand that it takes a few seconds to load a shot into the bazooka, it is unthinkable to design hand-to-hand combat with axes or beam sabers with a necessary cooldown after each slash. I found it very frustrating to fight by firing a shot and running away to hide to avoid being slaughtered by groups of enemies. The only thing left to do in these cases is push enemies with the triangle button (but doing very little harm) or changing weapon on the fly with R1 and using all the secondaries equipped until you run out of ammunition for each of them. As if that weren’t enough, ammunition reloading occurs only for the weapon active at that moment. A really cumbersome system capable of putting even the most patient player in difficulty.
Soldiers of Sorrow
With a single purchase of digital packages, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment allows us to purchase versions in one go PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 of the game, but having tested them both on a new generation Sony console I can tell you with certainty that they are absolutely identical, with the only difference that the second offers great support for the DualSense controller. The thrusters, firearm triggers, shots and explosions will be made even more realistic by haptic feedback, adaptive controllers and integrated speakers and are one of the most refined aspects of the gameplay. The same cannot be said of the resolution, which even on PS5 is not satisfactory, but luckily the frame rate is fluid and reaches 60 FPS without too much effort.
The polygonal models of the Mobile Suits are extremely detailed despite the dated technical sector, as well as those of the characters used in the films set in the academy and in the cockpits of the respective MS. I wouldn’t have minded being able to explore the military base as the protagonists and participate in events or mini-games instead of always and only witnessing long sequences of dialogue between one mission and another. In addition to the main plot we will be able to face a large array of secondary “training” missions through which we will be able to use units not present in the Story mode and unlock useful components to make our Mobile Suits stronger and more resistant.
Who do we recommend MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy to?
In recent times, Gundam fans have very few alternatives to the arcade experiences offered, for example, by titles such as MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM EXTREME VS. MAXIBOOST ON for PlayStation 4, and hard and pure lovers of the One Year War eagerly awaited an alternative to Battle Operation 2. However, MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy it cannot be considered as such, given that it draws as much as possible from the free title mentioned above, resulting a product whose entire budget seems to have been used in the making of the animated sequences. At this point I would have preferred to see a new anime production rather than participate in the frustrating missions that Code Fairy puts us in front of. I can’t recommend it with my eyes closed except to those who already know and appreciate Battle Operation 2 and play it regularly. For all other Gundam fans, turn your gaze to other exponents of the brand.
- Stunning animated cutscenes
- Delightfully built like a TV series
- Excellent DualSense support
- Poor technical sector
- No big difference between PS4 and PS5
- Woody and frustrating gameplay
- Definitely unbalanced quality / price ratio
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy
Zeon’s army suffers another, heavy defeat
As a great fan of Gundam, I feel a pang in my heart thinking about how it could have been MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM BATTLE OPERATION Code Fairy were it not based on the free-to-play title from which it takes its name, which I considered tremendous in terms of gameplay from the very first steps on the battlefield. The excellent artistic direction, the splendid cutscenes made by Sunrise and the cut from the TV series cannot, unfortunately, make up for the shortcomings from the point of view of the gameplay, which on balance is constantly frustrating, a step back even compared to the good old Federation VS. Zeon DX also arrived in Europe on PS2. Being at the helm of Alma’s Zaku makes us feel all the weight of the eighty tons of steel and bullets that we will have a hard time moving as we would like during the missions, relentlessly cracking under the blows of enemy units. A title that is diametrically opposed to the arcade played a year and a half ago on PS4, which in its own way was fun and satisfying for Gundam lovers of all generations. Unfortunately, Code Fairy is a missed target and its high price does not allow us to recommend it except with the next profit balances offered by the PlayStation Store.
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