Atari has announced that it will distribute Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight for publisher Namco Bandai in Europe, and it will be a PlayStation 3 launch title.
Reviewed on the site just the other day, Target in Sight puts you in the role of Federation or Zeon forces as you stomp your robotic way around battlefields of the future.
It did alright critically in Japan, but took a bit of a hammering in some of the Western press. We sort of liked it in the end, despite its sluggishness and the slightly ham-fisted way it wields the PS3.
Writing this review was going to be very straightforward. The opening of Target in Sight (known as Crossfire in the US) creates such a bewilderingly bad impression that the game seems to be a cruel joke at the expense of ardently loyal Gundam fans across the globe. Reviewing the game would simply involve checking out a few later missions to confirm that it is indeed one of the worst games ever made, perhaps while doing something more interesting, like reading a book or playing on the DS. Then it would be a simple matter of bashing out an extended warning to Eurogamer readers not to even think about thinking about playing it.
Here's what happens at the start of the game: First, you choose sides, between the Zeon (the rebellious space colonists) and Earth Federation (ostensibly the good guys). Then there's a succession of sepia-toned still images accompanied by a histrionic voiceover outlining the background to The One Year War (the first major conflict in the original Gundam storyline, before the series span off into about a million alternate universes). So far, so good. Then the camera pans across the horizon, s-l-o-w-l-y with juddering framerate, to alight upon a quite beautifully depicted, battle-worn mobile suit (which is what the big robots are called in the Gundam universe). So far, so neutral. Then you try to move that beautifully-battle-worn mobile suit and it clunks into gear. Again: s-l-o-w-l-y. And here's where the problems really start.
You try to move across the battlefield (jungle for Zeon forces, rubble-strewn desert if you choose to play as Federation). Confused by your suit's slothful pace, you test out your jetpack. This seems to bring your mobile suit to a momentary halt before it fires up for about a second, depositing the mobile suit not very far. Deciding to continue on foot, you try to change direction, only to find that this also seems to confuse your mobile suit into a momentary standstill. Soon it's time to shoot at your half-witted enemies, but your equally half-witted mobile suit again takes a leisurely pause before taking aim. So you shoot the enemy mobile suits for what feels like a (universal) century before they finally enter their death throes (which shock you out of your slack-jawed confusion because the limbless flailing actually looks pretty good).