Gundam Evolution is a fun, free Gundam-esque alternative to Overwatch

I’m not sure if I should recommend Gundam Evolution to people. My feelings can pretty much be summed up with a vintage Futurama Fry meme: I’m not sure if Gundam Evolution is a good game, or if I just like Gundam too much to see its flaws.

What makes my confusion more difficult is that other people enjoy the game too. People who might not even care about Gundam! Some of them even say it’s better than Overwatch 2, another well-known hero shooter due out next week. Part of that might just be bitterness about the fact that Overwatch 2 isn’t just a sequel, but a wholesale replacement for the original Overwatch.

If Blizzard’s decision has left you looking for a new hero shooter, let me try to answer your questions about Gundam Evolution. Not because I know a lot about Overwatch, but because I know way too much about Gundam.

It’s fun! (And free!)

I may not be able to say if it’s “better” than Overwatch 2, but I can certainly report that Gundam Evolution is a good time. Despite being giant metal robots, these Gundams fight fast and die. You’ll likely respawn often while trying to capture or defend points or detonate and disarm bombs, so you’ll never be short of action. There are no strict character classes here, with even the most supportive mobile suits having enough firepower to make most 1v1s an even test of skill. Best of all, it’s free and widely available on PC and consoles, so you can easily try it.

The microtransactions are bad

Gundam Evolution may be free, but it’s also packed with microtransactions. There are loot boxes, five characters you can pay to unlock, a season pass and deluxe editions with premium currency that you must use within 120 days or it will expire! You can grind it into the free tier and earn enough non-premium currency to unlock a Gundam if you put in enough time, but you’ll have a very dull looking profile for a long time. At least it doesn’t lock new characters behind a battle pass like Overwatch 2.

It’s more like Overwatch 1 than Overwatch 2

Gundam Evolution has teams of six players, just like Overwatch – Overwatch 2 transitions to teams of five. Unlike Overwatch 2, Gundam Evolution has stun attacks. Only five of the 17 mobile colors are locked at the start of the game, unlike heroes in Overwatch 2. Are there more similarities? Very possible, but this is the extent of my Overwatch knowledge.

No, you can’t play as Deathscythe

Gundam Evolution not only lacks a playable XXXG-01D Gundam Deathscythe, but in fact has no reference whatsoever to the only Gundam series that many American fans have ever seen. Major oversight, or a $20 purchase down the line? Who can say?

A Gundam with wings flies in the right corner above three other Gundams;  a red-and-white Gundam with a shoulder-mounted gattling cannon is on the left, a black-and-white Gundam with a laser scythe is in the center and a black-and-white-yellow Gundam is in the lower right corner with a sickle and snake face shield .

Deathscythe and all his Gundam Wing buddies are not (yet) in Gundam Evolution Image: Sunrise The playable Gundams contain some deep cuts

Gundam Evolution currently has a total of 17 playable mobile suits (all of these robots are considered mobile suits, but technically only a few are real Gundams). This includes many popular mobile suits from the original series, including the Zaku, Guntank, and original RX-78-2 Gundam, as well as modern suits such as the Unicorn Gundam and the Gundam Barbatos from Iron-Blooded Orphans.

More surprising are the colors that fill the roster of the early Zeta and ZZ Gundam, such as the transforming Methuss and Asshimar. Another playable character only appears in a Gundam manga and video game. Best of all, the game features two colors of the relatively obscure Turn A Gundam, which aired in Japan around the turn of the millennium but didn’t come to America via DVD until 2015. This is important because this Gundam has a mustache and you can play as is and it is good.

A white Gundam with a blue and red torso jumps to the left, the left arm extended behind it, while the other arm cradles a very large laser cannon, which is aimed at the bottom left corner.

The Turn A Gundam is the only Gundam with a mustache. Image: Bandai Namco The playable characters are not always accurate on screen

Gundam fans should be prepared for canonical inaccuracies from the get-go, and the game says so on the character information screens too. Gundam Evolution isn’t interested in strict adherence to source material, and frankly it’s a better game for it. Sure, the morning star oddly dubbed the “Gundam Hammer” is far from the RX-78-2’s most iconic weapon, but it makes for a suitable secondary ability here. Other units gain weapons and abilities they’ve never had before to make them more balanced.

You don’t need to know anything about Gundam to enjoy Gundam Evolution

There is no story in Gundam Evolution. Unlike Overwatch, which has a single setting where all the characters come from, Gundam Evolution is more like Super Smash Bros. or MultiVersus, where a number of characters from completely different series or timelines all fight each other for no good reason. The most important thing is to decide which character will be your first Gunpla build.

Gundam Evolution is now available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

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