REVIEW: Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy – Volume 1 (2021)

A Playstation 4 or 5 game

Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy is the newest Gundam game to hit the market, and is technically the third game in the Gundam Battle Operation series. The other two are online MMO-like action games, whereas this is a robust single player experience. The game is split into three volumes with five “episodes” each. The episodes are not very long, usually consisting of two missions and a handful of storyline segments. The main five story segments are not all of the content in this game, as there is also a simulator that is a way for you to “level” up” your mobile suits and gather parts that carry over into main missions.

The game has the illusion of being a third person action game, but most weapons have cool down times, almost making this a turn-based strategy game in many ways. Even on melee mode, its not like you can roll in and “Devil May Cry” your way through a battalion of Federation grunts, there is strategy, cover, weapon considerations, and even a “rock-paper-scissors” based strategy in place. It’s been like 15 years since I’ve played it, but this game gave me some serious Zeonic Front vibes, which was an old PS2 game with a similar premise.

“In order to break through the deteriorating war situation in the North American continent, the “Noisy Fairy”, a secret unit under the direct control of Kycilia of the Principality of Zeon, led by Alma, is pushing forward in the “One Year War” against the Earth Federation Forces, which possess the White Devil. The soldiers take on the brutality of war and grasp the unshakable bonds between their comrades…”

In the overall Gundam Universal Century timeline, this game takes place during the North American occupation by Zeon Forces, and specifically in October close to the time when Garma Zabi was killed in action while attacking The White Base. This game is somewhat light-hearted compared to other main-line Gundam games, seeing that it uses tropes from “slice of life” anime to a degree.

The all-girl Zeon special forces team, Noisy Fairy, are based in an old mansion and live somewhat like a girls dormitory in a school. The team consists of three mobile suit pilots, a strategist, a mechanic, and Killy who is the commander. Killy basically acts like a Headmistress of a school in many ways, which is weird considering they are in a war, but I wouldn’t put it past Zeon to have bases like this. At least the girls weren’t being turned into psychotic killers I suppose.

The game is presented like an interactive anime TV series in many ways. There is an opening theme before every episode, animated and game rendered cutscenes, an ending theme, and even a “next time preview” between each chapter. I’m not sure I’ve personally ever played a game structured in this way, and in many ways it makes this game far different than any Mobile Suit Gundam game out there. The structure of chapters of storytelling in-between missions reminds me an awful lot of games like Valkyria Chronicles, but I’d assume a lot of these more modern visual novel games do the same thing – I just haven’t played them.

For those expecting a sequel to a game like Mobile Suit Gundam Battlefield Record U.C. 0081 will be sorely disappointed, as this is definitely more in-line with the recent free to play Gundam Battle Operation games, with this seemingly sharing some assets from the second, just with a far better storyline structure. I actually prefer the series to be like this seeing that I have grown to not be such a big fan of online games for many reasons I won’t detail here. This gives the same sort of battles as Gundam Battle Operations 2 without the nonsense caused by bad actors. I guess the two games link together in some way, I may have to head over there and see what you can do. Maybe I will discuss that in one of the next installments.

The graphics and technical aspects in this game are not really pushing the processing power of either the PlayStation 4 or 5, and if you had told me this was an upscaled, re-rendered PS Vita game I would not have been surprised. That isn’t to knock games like that, Legend of the Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel basically looks like a dressed up PS3 game, and I absolutely love it! Some newer Gundam games like Versus have collapsible buildings and other cool effests in each level, none of that is really here. It’s pretty bare-bones from a technical aspect, but it does the things it can do well. Levels are pretty decently designed and have the epic feeling of battles from all of the Gundam media.

Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy is an adequate game that gets the job done when it comes to third-person mecha games. It’s not a technical masterpiece, but the anime episode presentation is pretty cool, and is a cool way to create a game that feels exactly like an interactive TV show.

I can imagine this was somewhat designed for the kind of anime fans that argue online who “best girl” is, and claim “waifus”, both things that somewhat drive me crazy. Thankfully, this doesn’t devolve into the sort of nonsense a typical “Moe-Anime” does, existing only to sell dudes weird body pillows and make me want to get Chris Hansen on speed dial. I know the people that want Gundam to be super-serious 24/7 (as if it was Saving Private Ryan with robots) will likely not like this game very much. I’ve already seen guys on Reddit saying it was the worst Gundam thing ever made, which is quite silly considering Doozy Bots is a thing. For me, it’s not perfect, but it’s at least as good or better than a lot of Gundam manga and short stories I’ve read so there is that.

The battles are fast-paced, and dark (especially when “Feddy” Ace pilots start battling the girls) making this every bit the gritty war drama that most Gundam is, just with some light-heartedness there as to not weigh it down. And as Char Aznable once said “The people left on Earth do nothing but pollute it, because their souls are weighed down by gravity.” I say don’t let your soul be weighed down by the gravity of needing everything to be grim-dark and depressing and give something a tad more lighthearted a whirl.

Stay tuned for a review for Volume two, not sure when it will be, but I’ll be sure to finish this up before the month is over.

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