Overwatch has been the King of Hero Shooters ever since its launch back in 2016. While many hero shooters have come and gone, few have been a worthy contender for Overwatch’s crown.
Then, in early April, fresh off the gargantuan success of publishing Elden Ring, Bandai-Namco released a closed network playtest for Gundam Evolution. Players got an early sample of the new 6v6 hero shooter and the memes about Gundam Evolution as a reskinned Overwatch began. But how much truth is there in that description? Some characters like Exia and Genji are uncannily similar, but is Gundam Evolution really just a reskinned Overwatch?
Let’s dive into the biggest differences between these two games and what makes Gundam Evolution unique.
Need some games to keep you busy until Gundam Evolution’s release? Here’s a list of the Best Short Games You Can Finish In One Sitting.
Tanks, but no Tanks
Unlike Overwatch, Gundam Evolution has a distinct lack of dedicated tanks. Overwatch has heroes entirely designed for controlling space or protecting teammates (like Reinhardt). These heroes help control the pace of the game with massive shields that give their team more room to maneuver. This is a blast for players who want to play a traditional tank role, but these tank classes also force players to focus on shooting shields more than shooting other players, which isn’t a fun experience.
In Gundam Evolution, Sazabi is the closest mobile suit to a tank class. Unlike its Overwatch counterparts, Sazabi controls space by being a massive health pool that deletes enemies when they get too close. While Sazabi can be a big boon to a team, it can’t protect them in the same fashion as an Overwatch tank since its shield can only protect itself.
Instead, Sazabi will fish its teammates out of trouble by just murdering everything around them. The result is that Sazabi, and suits like it play more like a mix of a tank and DPS because players are rewarded more for shooting their way out of problems rather than relying solely on their shields.
The concept is more similar to Team Fortress 2’s Heavy than Overwatch’s Reinhardt. Overwatch tanks need their shields and abilities to control space for their team. Alternatively, Sazabi and the Heavy control that same space through massive amounts of close-range damage and requiring enemies to focus on them to deplete their large health pools. Compared to Overwatch, this creates a more engaging experience because players are now shooting one another instead of shooting a passive shield.
The Best Defence is a Good Offense
Healing is accessible for everyone in Gundam. All Mobile Suits in Gundam Evolution have passive health regeneration. When that passive healing is combined with plentiful health packs and the ability to boost out of harm’s way, the few healers in Gundam Evolution become less of a necessity and players can focus on the steady rhythm of fighting and escaping.
In Overwatch, medpacks are few and far between with a longer time between each pack respawning. Plus, most heroes do not regenerate their own health (except Mercy and heroes with shield bars). If a hero limps out of a skirmish, then a healer is the best way to get them back to the front lines, making support heroes a staple in any Overwatch team.
On top of that, Overwatch supports have the responsibility of keeping enemy Ultimates in check (like using Zenyatta’s Transcendence to negate Genji’s Sword or Soldier’s Tactical Visor). While all of this is great fun for support players, it can be a frustrating experience for damage heroes to watch all of their hard-earned damage evaporate in the blink of an eye.
The mobile suits of Gundam Evolution are designed for damage first, and healing as a secondary consideration. This is best seen in the suit Methuss, who’s the closest you’ll get to an Overwatch-style support hero. However, its strict healing conditions (must keep patient in view), high mobility, and decent damage output make it better at chasing wounded mobile suits and harassing flanks with a partner rather than playing as a dedicated healer.
Other mobile suits with healing are designed similar to Overwatch’s Soldier 76 where it’s a blend of dealing damage and incidental healing that benefits the team. Pale Rider and GM are the best examples of this since they both offer small amounts of healing with their high damage.
One of the biggest distinctions of Gundam Evolution is that you first get knocked down instead of getting immediately ‘killed’. Downed players can be resurrected by teammates, or alternatively can be finished off by rival players.
This rewards players for fighting in loose groups away from one another. If one teammate moves up on their own and trades (they and their opponent knock each other down), it’s now possible to move up, fight, and revive them as long as it’s safe to do so. This allows players to be more aggressive further away from the majority of their team and puts less emphasis on sticking close to your entire team since it only takes one player to revive you.
Since Overwatch lacks knockdowns and its classes have specific jobs, sticking close to your entire team is necessary, meaning players shouldn’t split away from their team even in small groups which is what Gundam Evolution encourages you to do. Being near your team means tanks and healers will protect you and you can do your job safely to help them in return.
While Gundam Evolution has some similarities with Overwatch, it’s not defined by those. Its lack of powerful tanks and healers allows players to concentrate on fighting one another instead of focus-firing shields or watching their damage be negated by powerful healers.
Knockdowns and self-regeneration allows players to get back into fights sooner if they play with at least one other teammate. This means you can play in pairs within your team, unlike Overwatch where sticking close to the whole team is paramount to your success.
In effect, all these differences allow Gundam Evolution to carve its own niche away from Overwatch’s emphasis on teamwork and closer toward an Arena shooter where individual performance can be extremely impactful. There’s plenty to be excited about as we approach its full release later this year.