Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Never Ending Tomorrow review
A decent anime-based experience for SEED fans
Faithful recreation of the anime storyline. High amount of unlockable content. Includes footage from the anime series. Solid voice acting.The bad:
Subpar graphics. Very touchy controls. Fairly shallow gameplay. Contains major anime spoilers. Won't appeal to non-Gundam fans.Summary:
The latest anime-style game set in the Gundam universe, Never Ending Tomorrow is based on the popular (and somewhat controversial) anime Gundam SEED. The primary focus of the game is the storyline being played through as either of the key anime characters, Kira Yamato or Athrun Zala.
The graphics are decent but subpar overall. The various Gundams and MS look nice in 3D and there are plenty of cutscenes form the anime, but there's not as much detail as there could be and the cutscenes are of fairly poor quality compared to the anime on DVD (the game's cutscenes seem a bit blurry and not as sharp as the original). The action moves fairly fast with little unintentional slowdown although there are some issues with flickering at times. Sounds are among the high points of the game, with music and sound effects taken directly from the anime. Almost all the voice acting is done by the English voice cast of the anime, which lends a lot of authenticity to the experience, but it quickly gets repetitive and it also would have been nice to have included some Japanese dialogue as an alternative. Controls are very touchy and tend to feel extremely loose; The MS themselves are fairly hard to control at first due to the extremely complex button layout (every button on the PS2 controller is used, including the cumbersome L3 & R3 analog stick presses) and when you're trying to turn around your ship likes to sort of re-center itself after you let off the controls. This makes some tasks like precision aiming & flight extremely frustrating because you need to be able to have precise controls and camera angles and not let the game reset itself on its own. Gameplay is primarily 3D shooting more than anything based on the series; Each mission usually has you performing tasks like shooting down so may enemies while protecting your own. While it does stay true to the theme of the anime, it quickly makes for rather redundant gameplay and thus gets boring quickly. In addition to the main story modes, there are some unlockable arcade-style gameplay modes as well as quick missions for several supporting characters, plus your partners can get RPG-style Level ups and more & better powerups to help you out. There's a lot of unlockable content to increase replay value, including hidden MS, pilots/partners, and a while encyclopedia of Gundam terms & definitions, as well as the obligatory sound test option. But overall the game is rather short, each story mode can be finished in about an hour and despite being able to then replay the missions with almost any pilot or MS you like, it doesn't help the replay value very much. The worst part is if you play and haven't seen all the anime yet-the cutscnes you get for completing missions are taken directly from key moments in the anime, meaning if you play through before watching it all you unknowingly have spoil almost every major plotline in the anime with no warning whatsoever.
Ultimately, while it's not the worst possible Gundam game out there, it's not the best either, plus it seems to be little more than the prequel, Encounters In Space, only with SEED's storyline and characters. Dedicated SEED fans probably will get some enjoyment out of this title, as may most die-hard Gundam fans, but there's not enough here to lure in non-Gundam fans. Even if you are into this anime, the game isn't much more than a rental at first-wait until it shows up in bargain bins before investing too much in it.