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SD Gundam Battle Alliance is an action-packed tour of Gundam history

Between the very first mobile suits all the way to Iron-Blooded Orphans and beyond, players will set history right across the Gundam timeline.

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It’s a big year for Gundam fans as Namco Bandai celebrates the franchise with a number of new games, media, and experiences. One among the bunch is SD Gundam Battle Alliance from the developers ARTDINK. This game isn’t just an action hack-‘n’-slash shooter. It’s also a big trip down memory lane. The memories are a bit scrambled though and it’s up to pilots like us to set it right. I got to try a bit of what SD Gundam Battle Alliance offers and came away ready to see more of this interesting take on the long and rich history of Gundam.

Breaks in the timeline

SD Gundam Battle Alliance takes place in what the developers call the G: Universe. The entire history of Gundam from when Amuro Ray first piloted the original RX-78-2 all the way up to the events of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and possibly beyond are represented here. There’s something terribly amiss in G: Universe, though. When a space time rift opens, a squad of mobile suits and their coordinator are transported to a new time period where their mobile suits are chibi-fied into the style that most SD Gundam media is known for. An AI construct nicknamed Sakura Slash arrives to tell the protagonists that Breaks have caused timelines in the Gundam universe to mash up with one another.

This results in missions in which the player faces famous Gundam events in a jumbled state. For instance, ace Zeon pilot Ramba Ral comes to fight at Operation Odessa, an intense battle in the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. However, it was a fight that Ral died before he could ever see. Likewise, despite being a federation pilot, we find ourselves able to utilize mobile suits from both friends and foes. Though we begin with a standard RGM-79 mobile suit, it isn’t long before we get the O.G. RX-78-2, and we even get a Zaku II Type F to use. There are plenty of further mobile suits to unlock as well.

The whole point is to embark in missions throughout the Gundam timeline, find time Breaks as they happen, battle against the enemies that are out of time and place, and set the events of the various missions back in order. Operation Odessa and a battle against Ramba Ral in his Gouf mobile suit are part of one mission, but we also got to go to a mission from Iron-Blooded Orphans set in a dense city and ended up doing battle with Zechs Marquis in the Gundam Epyon.

Gundam Epyon piloted by Zechs Merquise in SD Gundam Battle Alliance
Source: Bandai Namco

I will say, for being an SD Gundam game, the visuals looked quite pretty and the game played with an appropriate weight and heft I’d expect out of a Gundam game. Each mobile suit you can pilot in the game has a melee combo, long-range weapon, and two sub weapon abilities that can be used sparingly before going on cooldown. For instance, where the RGM-79 had a laser rifle barrage and beam saber lunge as its sub weapons, the Zaku had a bazooka and grenade it could utilize in addition to its close-range axe and machine gun. The landscapes likewise were rather polished-looking recreations of iconic areas and battlefields throughout Gundam’s history.

There’s going to be some light RPG mechanics in SD Gundam Battle Alliance too. Not only could I level mobile suits up to have more attack power, health, better cooldowns, and other aspects, but by playing specific missions, I was able to fill progress bars towards unlocking new mobile suits to play. As you amass your collection, you can even take three mobile suits into combat. Each is specialized in either close combat, ranged, or balanced fighting, so figuring out which suits fit your playstyle best (or just collecting your favorites) is certainly going to be an interesting grind throughout the game.

100 percent pure SD Gundanium

Mobile suits in engaging in urban battle in SD Gundam Battle Alliance.
Source: Bandai Namco

SD Gundam Battle Alliance had me reminiscing over various segments of the franchise I have enjoyed over the long years it’s been around. More than that, it was just fun to play. Less than a cheap spinoff, SD Gundam Battle Alliance had some impact to its combat and battles, letting me pit iconic mobile suits against each other in these missions through splintered time. If my short time with Battle Alliance was any indicator, we’re in for quite the history lesson as we aim to make the Gundam timeline right again.


This preview is based on an early demo PC version of the game supplied by the publisher. SD Gundam Battle Alliance is set to come out on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC on August 24, 2022.

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.

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