Only 10,000 were accepted and countless applied, and it didn't even last 72 hours. The short beta for the "freemium" Gundam Battle Operation on the PS3 finished March 31st and showed that the game would be worth checking out when it gets its official release on the Japanese PSN/SEN store in June of 2012.
On the only mode and map available, two opposing teams of six mobile suits face off and have to be the team with the higher score. Points are earnt from pilot/MS kills, capturing any of the three camps on the map, setting bombs on the opposing team's base vehicle and subsequently destroying it, or by disarming any bombs set on the player's own base vehicle. These not only contribute to the team score, but also give the player experience points that push them to the next rank, as well as giving a boost to the Research Points that are received.
The Mobile Suits in the game are the massive, lumbering giants that they have always appeared to be in the Anime they are famous for, although they can dodge with surprising rapidity at times. Playing as either the Earth Federation or Zeon, the player begins either controlling a GM or a Zaku, and with only the most basic of weaponry. With time and experience, the partial plans of new MS, weapons and custom parts can be gathered and Research Points can be used to create the item. The player can also step out of their ride and run around on foot, although this quickly leads to squishing or getting caught in a blast, but dying either way. From the human viewpoint, the Mobile Suits are towering works of future technology and almost unavoidable at the best of times. Only as a pilot can the player capture any of the three camps spread across the map, set or disarm bombs on base vehicles, attach to allies MS, and to perform repairs.
Each suit has three health readouts, one for the legs, one for the body and one for the overall HP of the unit. Paying close attention to the legs is a good idea as escaping depends on their status. Stressing them from jumping/landing also shows as temporary weakening in yellow, which can be converted to red damage if an enemy attack hits home. Conversely, going for the legs is an excellent way to cripple an opponent and get the boot in while they're down.The main weapons in the game are the bazooka, machine gun, spread laser and beam sabre. However, the Zaku's beam axe is ridiculously overpowered and allows multiple slashes; the combination attack which this equates to is basically curtains for any MS who doesn't have the ability to dodge out of the way.
Another move which can be executed is the Tackle, which, when it connects properly, puts the attacking MS and the attackee into a grappling situation. Rock/Paper/Scissors like options given for both and their choices decide if the attackee escapes the hold or is thrown to the ground and temporarily defenseless.
Overall, this was a good taster of things to come. Tough at times but always with the promise of new weapons and upgrades to help win the fight. What should we expect from the full version? More of the same, as well as support for 3D displays to add that extra dimension (...). How well it works as a free-to-play, paid-upgrade game obviously remains to be seen. Definitely worth a look for Gundam fans and people who like giant robot-battling action.
We'll definitely be grabbing this on release.