While Gundam games are pretty badly misrepresented in the West, as often only the awful games are localised, the Gundam Versus games are very much some of the best of the bunch. And this Thursday, Japan is getting a PS3 port of one of the best Gundam games ever: Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost.
Full Boost is a hugely popular arcade game here in Japan and part of a gaming series that's been going on now for over a decade. Originally developed internally at Capcom (though published by Bandai), the team eventually struck out and formed their own studio called Byking.
If you're not all that familiar with the Gundam Versus games, then they're basically based around closed arena combat in a manner not all dissimilar to Virtual On (though with more traditional controls). One of the reasons the series has endured so well is that the game system is remarkably cogent and as such is somewhat of a versus gaming thoroughbred in arcades. Especially as the current PS3 port has 98 playable units, meaning that there's an enormous amount of variety available (and that's before any DLC has been released).
In short, it's taken a very complex versus setup and streamlined it onto standard arcade controls — with the depth coming from the variety in the almost never-ending roster of disparate units.
It's also functionally closer to the Gundam mythos, as Gundam Musou is a bit crazy in that department (albeit a lot of fun), in that battles are between 4 players (rather than 1 or 2 versus a 100).
This means that the game not only appeals to arcade die-hard versus fiends, but long-term Gundam fans too. I mean for God's sake, it has the beastly Xi Gundam in the roster. That was a spin-off novel from another spin-off novel that's not even canon (though it was written by the series' creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino). That's some pretty hardcore fanservice right there.
If you're thinking of picking Full Boost up, it's currently only slated for a Japanese release (even the previous game hasn't been released outside of Japanese yet). However, as it is a PS3 game, expect it to be region free.
In any case, the game comes in two varieties; a standard edition and a Premium G Sound Edition. The latter has more licensed music tracks, if you're into that sort of thing, but is basically the same game as the standard release.
There's also a really good beginner guide to the game and, considering the content, there's not much of a language barrier either. You will be able to buy both versions via the Japanese PSN store as well.
However, there is one catch to all this. If you want to play online, you should know that Namco Bandai have decided to utilise an online pass, most likely in the futile hope of curbing piracy. This pass — which will only work if you have a Japanese PSN account — can be shared between friends, but if you buy the game second hand, you'll then need to buy the pass separately.
Online pass nonsense aside, this really is a great game and one I've enjoyed a great deal in the arcades here. The fact it's finally getting a PS3 port means everyone can finally get in on all the fun.