Mobile Suit Gundam is one of the longest-running anime franchises in existence, and equally, it has a long history in video games. The Gundam Vs. series finds its roots back on PS2, but over the years it has translated into a substantial arcade scene in Japan. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON (yes it's a mouthful), finally brings one of the arcade titles to the West.

Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON is an arena fighter, which is pretty much par for the course with anime games these days. However, Gundam has been doing arena fighters for years, making the formula pretty tried-and-true at this point. That being said, Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON is fairly similar to past games, including Gundam Versus on PS4.

Matches in Extreme Vs are fast-paced 2-vs-2 affairs, with players having access to a variety of ranged and melee attacks. Each mobile suit has different attacks mapped to the ranged button, melee button, as well as their various combinations, which are mapped to the triggers. Gundam Vs games aren't casual affairs, and while the controls are simple, it takes quite a bit to master the systems and really get things down.

There's no blocking so dodging and boosting become vitally important, as well as knowing which combos each mobile suit can pull off. Each match has a deployment meter, and every mobile suit has a cost associated with it, ranging from 1000 up to 3000, which is deducted when a player dies. Stronger mobile suits with more options cost more, while the simpler ones have lower costs. On top of the basic moves, players can choose from three different bursts, which are activated as a gauge builds up. Shooting Burst heavily increased power and speed of ranged attacks, Extend Burst increases performance overall, and Fighting Burst highly increases the power of melee strikes.

There are a lot of options going into each match, but this basic setup applies to all the modes across the game. Whether playing online or in single-player modes, everything sticks to this same match setup. The main appeal here, of course, is hopping online and duking it out with other players. Unfortunately, at the time, the online mode seems to be hit or miss. The online infrastructure will likely improve, but as of launch, there seems to be a lot of disconnects and issues.

Branch Battles have players moving through a web of battles in either single-player or co-op, and the single-player mode implements giant "boss-like" enemies. While these are nice changes of pace, the sheer size of these enemies can often cause the camera to go crazy, and pull right up onto the player. The other single-player options are Maxi Boost Missions; a series of boards that each contain varying missions like standard battles, taking down targets or fighting boss enemies. Everything in Extreme Vs is all mission-based, and there's absolutely no kind of narrative structure to anything. Fighting through the various modes earns players GP, which can be used to purchase a variety of bonuses. This includes alternate looks for mobile suit pilots, different titles and emblems, or customization options to boost performance during Maxi Boost Missions.

There's certainly a lack of gameplay in terms of how battles play out, but Extreme Vs more than makes up for this with an utterly astounding roster of playable mobile suits. It's one of the largest rosters found in any fighting game at 183 mobile suits, with nearly every step of Gundam's three-decade history represented. Even with so many characters, most of them manage to feel unique, and many of the ridiculous movesets take inspiration from Gundam's history, like the Zaku II from Gundam 0080 deploying an inflatable Santa as a decoy. Testing out the different mobile suits is great fun, and helps adds variety, even if the basics of battle are all the same. Some of the suits are entirely dedicated to melee, like the Burning Gundam from Mobile G Fighter. Meanwhile, others have nothing but ranged attacks, like the Dynames from Gundam 00. It's interesting to play with these focused suits, as they require a completely different approach to combat than the all-around characters. The roster is truly a treat for fans of the Mobile Suit Gundam series, and it's easily the biggest draw of Extreme Vs. The game also sports a lot of the original music from various Gundam series, which is a nice treat to listen to during matches and helps set the tone.

Extreme Vs isn't going to make a Gundam fan out of anyone that isn't already one, but there's a lot to love for any existing fans. The core fighting mechanics are solid, although it's disappointing there isn't more variation in terms of match types. Even still the incredible roster makes up for any shortcomings the game might have, and it's plenty of fun to spend hours trying out scores of different suits with ridiculous flashy attacks.

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON released July 30 for PS4.