There is a theorem that states “an infinite number of monkeys hitting keys at random on an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type the complete works of William Shakespeare.” The theorem is intended to demonstrate the perils of trying to define infinity by using a finite, though vast, number. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 takes this theorem to heart and seems to depend upon the fact that if you do the same actions over and over and over again, you may eventually find a rewarding experience lurking somewhere in the depths. Unfortunately, Gundam 2 is not Hamlet and the play experience is more akin to using Yahoo’s babelfish to translate a book written in English to another language, to another, and yet another before finally translating it back.
Being a Dynasty Warriors game, Gundam 2 has the same four game mechanics that are present in that series: hack and slash action, the ability to choose your character from a cast of dozens, an RPG-type mechanic where characters gain levels and collect items to grow stronger, and the ability to do all of the above with a friend [Alas, poor Yorick]. These mechanics then come together in what has been the basic game play throughout the series’ lifespan, i.e., choose a character, run through a series of missions defeating enemies by the hundreds, beat the game, rinse and repeat with a new character. In Gundam 2, the formula stays the same, but the changes to the game mechanics leads to a wholly different, and seemingly never-ending, experience. [and now how hated in my imagination it is]
Starting with the character selection in the “Official” (read “story”) mode, the first notable change is that rather than having dozens of characters from which to choose, you only have four. The reasoning behind this, aside from trying to keep a tight story experience, is that you are able to choose which “mobile suit” (read “giant fighting robot”) your character will pilot. This makes sense within the overall setting, however, it’s not quite that simple. When you play through a story mode with a character for the first time, you are limited to whatever mobile suits that character would have at that point in the story. Often this means that as you progress through a story mode, your mobile suit will suddenly change and all the upgrades that you had acquired to that point are lost. So while your pilot keeps his or her experience level and bonuses, your mobile suit (the thing that’s pretty much doing all of the action) resets to a base level at a point in the campaign where enemies stop hurling rocks at you, and start launching rockets. [The festoons and the arrows of outrageous fortuin (sic)]