This game is impressive. I'm glad they made such a huge overhaul on this game compared to prior games in the series. The mobile suits have pretty decent graphics and nothing is unrecognizable. I titled this review after Char's theme song, Char ga Kuru, translated in English. It sometimes plays when you title your character, CHAR (all caps needed, and on Zeon's side). The songs can be pretty good. I liked this song and Ai Senshi. The Going into Battle theme is very cool too. The sounds for the close-range weaponry are barely noticeable though. The best part of the game is how titling your character allows you to play as them in order to interact with the battles and hear their reactions. The only problem I saw with the gameplay is that the Universal Century Mode can get a little repetitive. Basically, Universal Century Mode lets you play through Mobile Suit Gundam and Zeta Gundam through all the pilots. However, you do the same mission a lot of times only using different pilots. The what-if scenarios are very interesting too, to see what would happen if
There are quite a few other modes in this game, most of which are self-explanatory. Arcade Mode, Survival Mode and Versus mode. Some mobile suits (the ones from Zeta Gundam) can transform into a flight mode temporarily while they dash in mid-air, or permanently like the Gaza C. The Gaza C reminds me of Megatron in the old Transformers because it transforms into what basically looks like a gun. The air dash can also lead to cool attacks like Char's comet kick in his Custom Zaku II or the Hyaku Shiki's jump kick.
I like the balance in the game a lot. I think it is excellent to make better suits cost more but the weaker mobile suits cost less. The only ones I found to be unplayable were the mobile ball and Zaku I, but it's just as useless in the anime so it makes sense. I am glad that I can actually win with a generic GM or Zaku II mobile suit against something as powerful as the Hyaku Shiki or the Gundam. The mobile ball is very weak and the Zaku I lacks the axe that the Zaku II has to make it a decent mobile suit; it punches with its bare hands. However, it is still a lot of fun because the mobile suits play differently with their weaponry or abilities like the Gundam Mk. II's quick reloading.
I have never felt I lost by some cheapness, which is a great feeling. Every win or loss felt earned. I'm glad that the difficulty here is done properly; you basically struggle as you fight against tough stuff like the Zeta Gundam, rather than fighting someone who has nearly unavoidable attacks that do a ton of damage. There is one thing I must note about Universal Century Mode. The boss pilots, like Scirocco or Haman Karn that you fight have a ton of health in this mode, so you may want to do other missions first (including other sides in the war the game has you play battles in). This will let you spend the points you earn in battle to upgrade your mobile suit in order to have a better chance of winning. I'm glad the points you spend on upgrading mobile suits doesn't reset if you change sides to do missions on.
The shields some of the mobile suits have will come into play too. There isn't a need for a block button because the weapons will break the shields after a couple of good shots. Also, the shield will take any hits that register on it. For example, I thought the Gelgoog's shield was useless because it is on its back until I got shot from behind and the shield took the hit for me and broke in half.
Lastly, there is an awakening ability that pilots have in which they usually say a line or two, usually the other person's name if both players choose a pilot from the show to play as. Awakenings are abilities in which you can recover about 1/5th to 1/4th your health if you die but become battle scarred like the toys (recover), move faster for a while (mobility) or endure attacks to make it harder to fall as well as hit harder (assault). I really like how the mobile suit can lose an arm or get its head cut off and still keep going with recover.
There are 851 missions in Universal Century mode and hundreds of things to unlock such as mobile suits, characters from the anime you may not know but want to play as, background music, and galleries. This gives the game a lot of replay value.
I recommend this game wholeheartedly to any Gundam fan. If one gets tired of Universal Century Mode because of the same battles as different pilots, play Survival or Arcade Mode for a while. The battles are intense because of the awakenings and increased amount of attacks you can do, both close and long range.