SD Gundam Battle Alliance review: Imperfect chronology (2023)

SD Gundam Battle Alliance review: Imperfect chronology (1)
  • Review
  • Feature

Bandai Namco's SD Gundam Battle Alliance tasks us with fixing splintered timelines, but is this ARPG more than a fancy collection of cute fan-favorite mobile suits?

TJ Denzer

Image via Bandai Namco

1

(Video) SD Gundam Battle Alliance Review - The Final Verdict

Gundam is a long-lived franchise. Having begun in 1979, it has become synonymous with giant mech combat and features a wide array of storylines that have captured fans throughout the decades across a variety of media. SD Gundam Battle Alliance aims to capture the best of it all in a light action-RPG setting that has players jumping between timelines to right anomalies and set the correct canon of various series in accurate order. However, while SD Gundam Battle Alliance features a ton of mecha to play and famous moments from throughout the franchise, the grind, spikes in difficulty, and a few other flaws might leave fans looking elsewhere for a nostalgia trip.

A Gundam historian’s nightmare

SD Gundam Battle Alliance follows a certain spinoff formula in the Gundam franchise where iconic mobile suits are “super deformed” (SD) to be made cute. However, you’re not going to find a lighthearted kids show here as some SD Gundam series have been. The mobile suits are cute, but Battle Alliance plays it straight beyond the aesthetic, which I’m not sure I understand.

The story goes that characters from the Universal Century arc of Gundam find themselves warped through time when rips in the continuity occur. They are enlisted by an AI program known as Sakura Slash, who claims their purpose is to ensure the timelines remain correct. It turns out that anomalies are occurring throughout various Gundam story arcs running all the way from the original Mobile Suit Gundam up to the likes of Iron-Blooded Orphans. For instance, you might see Zechs Merquise from Gundam Wing appear in a conflict in Edmonton from Iron-Blooded Orphans. Just as well, you might see the Apsaras Mobile Armor from 8th MS Team engage in combat with the Archangel battle carrier from Gundam Seed. With the help of the AI, the programmer Juno, and the little robot Haro, players will engage in missions in these broken timelines to set them right.

I think the premise of SD Gundam Battle Alliance is admirable. It’s not often a nostalgia trip through the Gundam franchise features a reasonable narrative beyond seeing what would win between Wing Zero and Gundam Barbatos. Moreover, the game takes players to a wide variety of battlefields and pits them against various “what if” situations as they set things right.

SD Gundam Battle Alliance review: Imperfect chronology (3)

I was also fairly impressed with the looks and sounds of the game. ARTDINK did quite a good job of crafting iconic mobile suits into their SD forms while also giving them a reasonable grime, dirt, and scuff of battle. The battlefields themselves are also quite vast and destructible. Whether fighting in canyons or dense urban sprawls, the levels are pretty, and on more than a few occasions, my battles with enemy mobile suits reduced the surrounding area to complete rubble. All of this is accompanied by iconic pilots from across the franchises which are well-voiced for the most part, as well as solid remixes of memorable music like Gallant Char from the original Gundam, Just Communication from Gundam Wing, the final battle theme from 8th MS Team, and so much more.

I just wonder if this needed to be an SD Gundam game. Nothing about the story, the characters, or even the gameplay really matches the cutesy and lighthearted fun of proper SD Gundam spinoffs. Even so, put that aside and it’s a competent presentation in terms of sound, story, and visuals.

Gundam grind fest

SD Gundam Battle Alliance review: Imperfect chronology (4)

In terms of gameplay, SD Gundam Battle Alliance is fun, but some notable points of contention drag it down a bit. As you engage in missions, you face off against various mobile suits from across the entire Gundam franchise. Completing missions or performing specific tasks in those missions often results in you unlocking one or more new mobile suits for play, as well as pilots to aid you via AI companions (more on that later).

Missions are usually a romp through waves of fodder mobile suits on your way to an objective where the timeline is breaking. At these points, usually a mobile suit or pilot that doesn’t belong in that scene arrives to do battle with you and you must defeat them to clear the mission. Enemies range from other Gundams to iconic Zeon, Earth Federation, OZ, and further affiliation mobile suits and mobile armors. Seeing huge military carriers like White Base and formidable mobile armors like Big Zam in action was nearly always a treat. Defeating a preliminary “Break” mission in which the timeline is going wrong also grants you access to a “True” mission in which you set the timeline right.

Gameplay between the mecha is also quite fun. Every mobile suit is sorted into three categories: Sharpshooter, In-Fighter, or All-Around. Sharpshooters excel at ranged combat, In-Fighters are big on close-range attacks, and All-Around feature balance somewhere in between. Meanwhile, every single mobile suit has a different melee style, ranged attack, two sub weapon/abilities, and a super move. Bringing two other AI-controlled pilots also means you can vary up your squad between long-range and close-up any way you like. The suits are mostly fun to play and have a wide variety capabilities, and you can even invite friends online to take up the partner roles in three-way co-op action on each mission. Missions also have enough variety that bringing a good composition can actually make the difference between success and failure.

SD Gundam Battle Alliance review: Imperfect chronology (5)

This would be all well and good, but SD Gundam Battle Alliance has ARPG mechanics built into its progress and they are grindy. It doesn’t take long before missions start to spike hard in difficulty. To counter that, you must use currency to upgrade your mobile suits’ stats, as well as leveling up your personal pilot and companion pilots. That said, you can only take two pilots with you to level up, and completing a mission gives you about enough currency to pump up one of your collected mobile suits by a few levels. There’s also the fact that sometimes you have to replay levels to unlock certain mobile suits. This game is built from the ground up to make you retread levels multiple times if you’re going to make your roster of available mobile suits and pilots capable enough to survive.

If that wasn’t enough, there are a few other gripes I have about the way SD Gundam Battle Alliance plays. The camera goes between competent to difficult to outright zany on a regular basis. Locking onto targets keeps them in your sight, but sometimes the vertical yaw of the camera doesn’t follow the way it should, making you look at the ground or too far up in the sky until you adjust. And heaven forbid you fight an enemy under a bridge or by other intimate obstacles. The camera will go wild between rapid zoom-ins and zoom-outs trying to figure out what to do. Add this to a mean spike in difficulty when I didn’t grind enough and the fact that you can’t even pause when in single-player mode on a mission and SD Gundam Battle Alliance’s progression began to grate on me past the third series of missions despite wanting to see where the story went and what series of the franchise the game would visit.

(Video) The Problem With: SD Gundam Battle Alliance

A shaky alliance

SD Gundam Battle Alliance review: Imperfect chronology (6)

SD Gundam Battle Alliance has me at odds because there’s a lot of things I like about it and a lot of things I don’t, both as a Gundam fan and just a general player. The mobile suits and pilots are fun to collect and explore. The story and missions are also fairly well-done and I like the look of the super deformed versions of a lot of my favorite mobile suits from across the series. My big miff is that the difficulty spike between series of missions makes repeatedly playing the same scenarios to level up your pilots and mobile suits a near-mandatory chore. I also just don’t think it makes good use of the SD spinoff formula. Mix in some annoying inconveniences in camera and other gameplay design and while SD Gundam Battle Alliance may be fun at first, the luster will likely fade for many after a few hours.

This review is based on a digital PS5 copy supplied by the publisher. SD Gundam Battle Alliance came out on August 24, 2022, and is available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

TJ Denzer

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

Filed Under

  • Review
  • Feature
  • Artdink
  • Bandai Namco
  • PlayStation 5
  • PS5
  • SD Gundam Battle Alliance

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Reviewfor
SD Gundam Battle Alliance

6

Pros

  • Wide variety of SD mobile suits from across the franchise
  • Levels are pretty and very destructible
  • Solo and multiplayer co-op for up to three
  • Decent story to go with nostalgia trip
  • Mobile suits play notably different from each other
  • A lot of memorable music from the franchise

Cons

  • Intense grinding throughout the game
  • Camera is troublesome
  • Misses the lighthearted mood of SD Gundam
  • Huge difficulty spikes throughout
  • No pausing in single player
(Video) SD Gundam Battle Alliance Nintendo Switch Review

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FAQs

How many levels are there in SD Gundam Battle alliance? ›

With successive updates, you can now max out your character and mobile suit up to level 100.

How long is SD Gundam Battle alliance? ›

How long does it take to beat SD Gundam Battle Alliance? The estimated time to complete all 43 SD Gundam Battle Alliance achievements is 35-40 hours. This estimate is based on the median completion time from 4 TrueAchievements members that have completed the game.

How long is SD Gundam G Generation Cross rays? ›

Steam
Single-PlayerPolledAverage
Main Story489h 37m
Main + Extras3101h 26m
Completionist7144h 13m
All PlayStyles14119h 27m

What is the best Gundam in SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

The Knight Gundam is one of the most powerful melee suits in SD Gundam Battle Alliance and has a string of fast-hitting attacks and combos that can all be used together for extensions. The Knight Gundam is equipped with a sword and a lance weapon.

Is SD Gundam Battle Alliance like Dynasty Warriors? ›

SD Gundam Battle Alliance is described as a 3rd Person Action RPG. It's very similar to the well-loved Gundam Warriors series from the PS3/360, but with less focus on a giant enemy count and more on pulling off combos and piloting like an absolute boss.

What does SD mean in Gundam? ›

SD Gundam started with the "Super Deformed Gundam World" Gundam eraser series of PVC Gashapon (capsule machine) figures in 1985, and rocketed to instant popularity with its cuteness and collectability.

Does SD Gundam Battle Alliance have Couch Co op? ›

The Co-Op Experience

In multiplayer, you can play through the game with up to 2 other players in a 3-person team.

Is SD Gundam Battle Alliance offline? ›

No. of players : Single System (1), Local wireless (1-3), Online (1-3) Offline / Online Genre : Action, Role-Playing, Fighting Publisher : BA...

Will there be another SD Gundam game? ›

SD GUNDAM BATTLE ALLIANCE is confirmed for release on Thursday, 25 August 2022! SD GUNDAM BATTLE ALLIANCE is confirmed for release on Thursday, 25 August 2022! The title's second promotional video as well as new information about the various game editions, purchase bonuses and DLCs are out now!

Is SD Gundam G Generation Good? ›

There is very little to complain about with SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays because what it does, it does very well indeed, with no other game on the system to compare it against, other than its previous non-English entry.

What does G Gundam mean? ›

In the English translation, God Gundam is renamed Burning Gundam, but it's suggested that G Gundam stands for "Gundam of Gundams" (i.e., the winner of the Gundam Fight) instead.

Does SD Gundam Battle Alliance have a story mode? ›

SD Gundam Battle Alliance is set in the G: Universe, where events have been disrupted, and it's up to you to correct history. Again, story missions will have players experience some of the most iconic battles, but this time, they are altered in a way where new foes change the tide of battle.

Will Gundam evolutions be free? ›

Gundam Evolution is a free-to-play, 6v6 hero shooter that focuses on fast-paced, objective-based action – and it's available to play today for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S!

Will SD Gundam Battle Alliance have DLC? ›

Season Pass

DLC 3 “Flash & Rebirth” is available now on PS5, PS4, Xbox X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Get DLC Pack 3 as part of the Season Pass available on all platforms! Get started on your journey in SD Gundam Battle Alliance today!

What is the most popular Gundam in Japan? ›

First off, here's the Top 10 from Japan:
  • Hathaway.
  • Gundam (0079)
  • SEED.
  • Z.
  • 08th MS Team.
  • Iron-Blooded Orphans.
  • 0083 Stardust Memory.
28 Jul 2022

What is the strongest Gundam frame? ›

1/15 Turn A Gundam Is the Most Powerful Suit Ever Designed

Intended to be a story that was all-encompassing for every Gundam timeline, the Turn A is the most powerful mobile suit ever designed.

Is Touken Ranbu Warriors worth it? ›

Touken Ranbu Warriors is a good hack and slash game, but it's not the best we've seen from the developers on Nintendo Switch. Mixing in the mini-games and some varied objectives is a nice touch to the familiar formula. But characters feel too similar, levels feel a bit too short, and the lack of co-op play is a shame.

Is LUBU in Dynasty Warriors 9? ›

Lu Bu's story in Dynasty Warriors 9 begins during his service with Ding Yuan. Having missed both the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Ten Eunuchs' Rebellion, Lu Bu grows increasingly irritated by the lack of large-scale battles.

Is Gundam Japanese or Chinese? ›

Gundam Series) is a Japanese military fiction media franchise. Created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise (now Bandai Namco Filmworks), the franchise features giant robots, or mecha, with the name "Gundam".

Which is better Hg or MG Gundam? ›

A High Grade (or HG) model for instance will have noticeably less detail than a Master Grade (or MG.) The models are also different sizes, with the HG being about two inches shorter than the MG.

Which is better RG or MG Gunpla? ›

A: MG is generally what I would recommend to beginners in the gunpla hobby. The parts are bigger and the gate placement is usually really good as to not show a lot of nub marks. The RG's are smaller, more detailed kits making it easier to display them but might be a little harder applying stickers and decals. Helpful?

Can you mix and match Gundams? ›

Do not mix Gundam pieces from the same grade and scale. Your Gundam Model Kit is unique to itself!

What is couch co-op mode? ›

Couch co-op and online co-op modes

Cooperative games designed to be played by multiple players on the same display screen have come to be known as "couch co-op", "local co-op" or "single-player co-op" games.

Will there be a Gundam Battle Operation 3? ›

3 is now available on PS4 and PS5. Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy Vol. 3 is a single-player battle action game that features an original story of a secret unit of the Principality Of Zeon from the One Year War. Fans of the franchise will want to know this previously-untold story.

What is couch co-op games? ›

Couch co-op games are designed to be played by multiple people gathered around the same screen and all working toward the same goal. Though the market has undeniably thinned over the years, it's still a broad category that covers a wide variety of games.

Can you play Gundam Breaker offline? ›

The upcoming Gundam Breaker game will have virtual ally characters who will assist on tougher missions in single-player mode, for gamers who rather not play online with other players.

Is there a Gundam RPG game? ›

About This Game

Beyond creation, four eras come together as one! Discover the latest entry in this iconic Tactical RPG series. Form your own team of SD Gundams and deploy for battle -- with units from from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, SEED, 00, and Iron-Blooded Orphans!

Is there any Gundam games on switch? ›

In SD Gundam Battle Alliance, Mobile Suits and characters from across Mobile Suit Gundam history take center stage in this all-new action RPG. The story takes place in G: Universe, a world where Gundam canon twists and turns in ways no one can predict.

Is Mobile Suit Gundam Seed a sequel? ›

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny (Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダムSEED DESTINY, Hepburn: Kidō Senshi Gandamu Shīdo Desutinī) is an anime television series, a direct sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam SEED by Sunrise and the overall tenth installment in the Gundam franchise.

Is Gundam still running? ›

A New 'Mobile Suit Gundam' TV Show Is Coming in 2022

It will be titled Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury (Kidō Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo), and will be the first new series in the Gundam franchise since 2015's Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.

How big is a SD Gundam? ›

SD Gundam are very easy to assemble and usually stand around 8cm tall. They're quite different from other grades of Gunpla in that they are not particularly realistic, but have their own unique proportions and visual style.

Is Mobile Fighter G Gundam canon? ›

Mobile Fighter G Gundam has always been a controversial series within the Gundam canon, but now its time to discover its many hidden secrets. The Gundam franchise has proven to be one of the most resilient properties in all of Japan.

What is shadow G? ›

The Hidden Shadow of G (or simply G) is a mobile suit from the Universal Century timeline, and appears in the manga Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: Hidden Shadow of G.

Is SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays in English? ›

SD GUNDAM G GENERATION CROSS RAYS (English, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean Subs) for Nintendo Switch.

What is the OG Gundam? ›

Mobile Suit Gundam (Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム, Hepburn: Kidō Senshi Gandamu), also known as First Gundam, Gundam 0079 or simply Gundam '79, is an anime television series, produced and animated by Nippon Sunrise.

What does HG stand for Gunpla? ›

High Grade (HG) is a line of Gunpla kits by Bandai. These kits feature better range of motion and greater poseability than most No-Grade kits.

What does RG mean in Gundam? ›

Real Grade (RG) (リアルグレード, Riarugurēdo?) is a line of Gunpla kits by Bandai that was introduced in 2010 as part of the Gundam 30th Anniversary commemoration project. These consist of Mobile Suits from both the Universal Century and the Alternate Centuries.

What series is in SD Gundam Battle Alliance? ›

SD GUNDAM BATTLE ALLIANCE is an action RPG that allows players to battle Super Deformed (SD) versions of Mobile Suits from Gundam series. The story takes place in G: Universe, a world where Gundam canon twists and turns in ways no one can predict.

What rank is char Aznable? ›

(Actually Deikun's son Casval.) After hiding his identity and becoming an officer of the Principality of Zeon forces, Char fights as an ace mobile suit pilot from the very beginning of the One Year War. His rank is Lieutenant Junior Grade.

How long is Gundam 8th MS Team? ›

Product information
Run time5 hours and 55 minutes
Media Format‎Blu-ray
Dubbed:‎English
Studio‎Right Stuf
Release date‎May 2, 2017
6 more rows

What is cut rate in SD Gundam alliance? ›

Cut Rate "Physical Melee": percentage reduction on Physical Melee resistance. Take 10% Physical Melee resistance, means you have 10% damage reduction on physical melee received. Then you equip a part with Cut Rate Physical Melee 5%, means you now only have 5% Physical Melee resistance.

Who married Amuro? ›

Namie Amuro
SpouseMasaharu "Sam" Maruyama ​ ​ ( m. 1997⁠–⁠ 2002)​
Children1
Musical career
GenresPop R&B EDM
19 more rows

Is Amuro Ray Japanese? ›

Amuro Ray (Japanese: アムロ・レイ, Hepburn: Amuro Rei) is a fictional character introduced in Sunrise's 1979 anime series Mobile Suit Gundam.
...
Amuro Ray
NationalityAmerican (Earth Federation)
AllegianceEarth Federation [MSG] Karaba [MSG-Z] Londo Bell [MSG-CC]
7 more rows

Who is the strongest Newtype in Gundam? ›

6/8 Kamille Bidan

Kamille Bidan is highly thought of as the strongest Newtype in the Gundam universal century timeline.

What is Char real name? ›

Char Aznable (シャア・アズナブル, Shaa Azunaburu), born Casval Rem Deikun (キャスバル・レム・ダイクン, Kyasubaru Remu Daikun) and also gone by the name Édouard Mass (エドワウ・マス, Edowau Masu), is a fictional character from the Gundam franchise.

Is Kamille Bidan the strongest Newtype? ›

According to Yoshiyuki Tomino, Kamille has the strongest Newtype powers in the Universal Century series. Most of his Newtype powers did not manifest itself until the late portions of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, however he is augmented by contact with Cyber-Newtypes such as Four Murasame and Rosamia Badam, even Elpeo Ple.

What is the biggest Mobile Suit Gundam series? ›

Devil Gundam became the biggest Gundam ever in the series. Originally, Devil Gundam was called Ultimate Gundam and had nanomachine ability to evolve, self recover, and self replicate. Its main task is to save the damaged Earth with its sophisticated nanomachine technology.

Is Hathaway an Amuro Ray? ›

Sunrise revealed a new trailer for Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway, which reveals original Gundam protagonist Amuro Ray will be appearing in the movie, alongside a release date for the movie in Japan's theaters.

What is the biggest size of Gundam? ›

Mega Size Model (MSM) (メガサイズモデル, Mega Saizu Moderu?) is a line of 1/48 scale Gunpla kits of Mobile Suits from the Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam AGE TV series. Despite being the largest scale Gunpla line, Mega Size Model is priced lower than the 1/60 scale Perfect Grade due to a smaller parts count.

What is GBGW alteration? ›

We are adding an Alteration feature that allows players to enhance powerful new parts while maintaining their Part Lv, EXP, and Rarity.

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