Review: SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online (PC)

SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online starts off with you getting your Gundam unit from a gashapon machine.

Yup. A gashapon machine. That should explain the game’s title.

But on a more serious note, it also represents the collectability of SD Gundam units in-game. SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, abbreviated as SDGO, is a MMOTPS (third-person shooter) recently published in Singapore by Shanda Games International. It was originally developed back in 2007 by the Korean company, Softmax. So keep in mind that although it only recently hit the SEA region, it’s actually a pretty dated game visual wise; you can tell by its blocky graphics.

But, back to the gameplay! Everyone knows each gashapon machine has a series of collectibles to be… collected. SDGO is no exception, with approximately 300 units to be collected in total. These chibi gundam look super cute while on the field of battle, and can be customised to your liking with paints and stickers of various colour.

The different paints can be bought with points, which are SDGO’s in-game currency. For the more enthusiastic, there’s also the option of cash items. These cash items, purchased with Cherry Credits (aka CCs), are surprisingly more numerous than the non-cash items! Several shop tabs are also blank, even after we let them load for some time.

On top of cash items, Cherry Credits also allow you to rent Gundam units over getting them dispensed from the gashapon machine. Gashapon Gundams use in-game currency, which can take a while to grind out, but rented mobile suits can be bought with CCs. These suits are usually stronger than what gets dispensed via gashapon balls. Gundam suits in SDGO tier upwards from C, to B, to A and then to S, with S tier suits being the strongest.

These suits cannot be rented or dispensed, but can be crafted with parts and plans you buy with in-game currency.

The concept of SDGO is cute, and similar to most Korean-developed games. Get your chibi Gundam, get into a room, and start fighting. There are both co-op and PvP modes of gameplay, but all players start with only being able to enter co-op rooms. Grinding your way up to a level accepted by the PvP rooms takes about two hours. This makes good practice, however, for there are several quirks about the combat system in SDGO that one needs to learn about.

Each Gundam comes equipped with four modes of attack: melee, single shot, machine gun spray and a special attack. Melee attacks are performed in barrages, with no way to block. This is a great boon in co-op play, where you’re usually required to fight off hordes of evil bots while completing objectives like ‘destroy 6 cannons’.

However, this turns out to be a giant loophole in PvP. The presence of cash items means you’re potentially at a disadvantage if you don’t have any. If your opponent has something that boosts his attack, his melee attacks may very well destroy you in one shot.

Poorly skilled players are another problem, both in PvP and co-op. Because the nature of SDGO is so grindy – about eight games only earned me 120 points – people apply tenacity more than skill to their gameplay. This results in teammates you’d rather not have. Why?

In SDGO, co-op needs co-op. You need to complete the mission’s objectives before the timer runs out, but there’s no way you can solo a boss because each hit from one boss can take out half your HP, or more. If you’ve been gifted with teammates who prefer to run around blasting individual bots…well, good luck to you.

The good thing is, levels come by pretty quick in SDGO, and the sense of satisfaction when you see your killcount tick upwards might just keep you playing. It’s also easy to level up and survive for longer periods of time, even in the presence of moron teammates. The repetitive nature of each map also ensures your increased survivability.

The bad thing, though? Apart from the nitpicky details we mentioned earlier, SDGO crashes. A lot. And without reason, too, so it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing the crash. The only reason we could think of was a buggy game in general. Hopefully, Shanda Games International can get this sorted out during the current Open-Beta Test.

Although SDGO has a pretty nifty selling point with all its collectible SD Gundams, the frequent crashes, limited non-cash items and a general dated feel to the game can potentially turn players off it. At least the background music is easy on the ears…

If you’re in the mood for senseless slashing and mindless grinding, go ahead and download the game. At just 1.9gb large, you’ll be good to go in an hour or so. But don’t expect to feel like you didn’t waste your time playing.

Graphics 7.0
Cute, and certainly fitting of the art style they’re aiming for. A gashapon-birthed Gundam needs to look cute! A bit dated, though.
Sound 7.0
Repetitive but thankfully not terrible soundtrack. Suits the boost-your-Gundam-randomly-about mood.
Gameplay 6.0
All right in co-op, not so great in PvP due to the availability of cash items. Cash items ruin everything. Also, very repetitive and mind numbing.
Lasting Appeal 5.0
Only for the hardcore Gundam fans out there.
How the RGB Scoresheet works

SD Gundam Capsule Fighter is a MMOTPS developed by Softmax and published regionally by Shanda Games. It is free to play with cash item options, and can be downloaded here