There have been a variety of SD Gundam games released by Bandai in the past, and the original G Generation game debuted back in the 90’s on Play Station 1. It was followed by G Generation 0 and then G Generation F (with an add on disc called F.I.F.).
In its debut for PS2, G Generation was released as G Generation Neo, and featured full 3D animations using somewhat realistic designs instead of being hand drawn. Neo was followed by G Generation Seed which, as you can guess, was focused on the Seed Story line. And most recently, G Generation Spirits, which returns to the 2D roots but with beautifully animated cut scenes, as well as returning to the “choose a series” format. In which you choose a Gundam series, and play the missions associated with that storyline.
G Generation Portable was released for PSP in response to Spirits for PS2 and features many of the newer features to the series as well as the “choose a series” story progression.
For fans of the series who played G Generation F for PS1, they will be greeted by a feeling of severe nostalgia. Basically, Portable IS F. But with a few major changes, most notably, the addition of both Seed and Seed Destiny. Bandai included both stories, with Seed being 9 missions long and Destiny being 6. This, unfortunately, forced them to cut other stories, such as Crossbone Gundam (I know! I almost cried!) and G Unit (an offshoot of Gundam Wing).
There are, however, a ridiculous amount of units available to unlock and use. As with G Generation F (which was 3 discs long), almost any unit you can think of from a series is included in the game, including Ace units like Johnny Raiden’s Zaku and Gelgoog. Many units have “abilities” such as Phase Shift armor on the Seed units, which will reduce munition and physical attack damage sustained by 2/3 (but also drains energy every turn until the armor phase shifts down). The Crossbone Gundam X1 and 2 feature the ABC cloak which will negate one beam attack (very helpful!), and so on for the various units.
The player is allotted a battle ship and 4 units at the start, along with a handful of original characters designed for G Generation (some of which have been in the series since the original G Gen on PS1!). From there, you can choose any story to start on (I began with Z Gundam) and can play in any order they so choose. For each story, there are numerous stages that depict the series through dialogue scenes and battles, and of course, given the right circumstances, beautiful CG rendered movies like the picture taken below from Destiny Stage 1 (Sword Impulse Gundam)
Game play is fairly straight forward. You command your units, plus the main characters of the story and duke it out with the enemy force. Typically, if the main character (i.e. Amuro, Kamille, etc…) are shot down, the game is over. However, usually this main character is a “master unit” and does not need to rely on a ship to refuel or repair itself.
Stages typically start with an opening story to read (explaining the series) and will most likely start with a “mini-skirmish”, i.e. Amuro will have to fight off Denim and Gene in the first stage of Gundam. Then the next part of the battle starts, usually with dialogue, and finally the player can set forth his personal units to fight alongside the story characters.
Overall, I’d give this game a B+. I was a little disappointed to see the same stages from F reused, but honestly, its such a great game and there is just so much to do that it doesn’t matter after about four stages in. The shear number of units to unlock will keep you playing long after you’ve finished every mission!