Hot on the heels of MechWarrior’s return to PlayStation, a new Mobile Suit Gundam game has arrived on the PS5. With the long-running Gundam series to work with, developer BB Studio opted to release Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy in bite-sized chunks. Read our Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy PS5 review to see if this anime-inspired Gundam game is fun in episodic hits, or if a more full-fledged release would have helped.
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy PS5 Review – Tanked Graphics
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy may be a PS5 release, but it doesn’t really look the part. Graphically, environments are lackluster, and although the Gundam suits are the stars of the game, even they don’t seem particularly detailed. The only areas in which players are likely to notice much difference between console generations is in the loading times – as usual, the PS5’s speedy SSD allows for levels to load in just a few seconds. The DualSense controller is used to differentiate between different weapon types, while the speaker is also used for in-game communications. Vibration feels pretty standard, though. Still, it is nice to see even a niche game like this using the DualSense in some capacity.
The story of Operation Code Fairy is presented in episodic chunks, including anime-style animation. It follows new recruit Alma and her all-female squad of Gundam fighters in the Principality of Zeon, during the One Year War. There’s plenty of backstory for this series, seeing as the Gundam series launched in 1979 and has seen numerous expansions of its lore. While I admit to knowing next-to-nothing about the story, Operation Code Fairy does a good job at standing on its own, with a mostly self-contained tale of Zeon’s first all-female Gundam squad trying to prove themselves to the upper brass of their military.
Combat in Operation Code Fairy is a third-person affair, where the player controls a single Gundam suit. These are basically walking tanks, and control as such. That means movement has to be done deliberately, because although some suits are more nimble than others, they are all slow to turn, slow to react, slow to reload, and just slow in general. The only thing they do quickly is get destroyed. Even on the normal difficulty level, players will likely hit a wall where enemies are too strong and must be dealt with one at a time. This is where some strategy can be deployed, since each character in the player’s party possess a special power which can be used anytime their meter is charged.
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy PS5 Review – Clunk!
A broad selection of weapons can be equipped, from heavy shotguns to rocket launchers, energy swords and machine guns. Each have their own set of advantages and drawbacks, and while one weapon reloads another and be cycled to, which is something key to remember when multiple hostiles are firing upon you. There are also three types of Gundam suits, each of which are effective against one other type and weak against the other. It’s a basic rock-paper-scissors triangle of type mixing, and memorizing what each type works against should be simple for most players.
Overall, things feel clunky when fighting. Aiming is not smooth at all, despite many manually-aimed weapons requiring precision when firing. Most weapons also take a while to reload, so each miss is felt particularly hard, especially when health is running low. Even repairing mid-battle involves getting out of the Gundam suit and capturing a control point, then getting back in the suit and standing around as repairs occur. But Gundam suits are essentially massive, walking tanks. Perhaps it would feel less like a Gundam game if things were quicker-paced. There’s a certain mindset that must be considered when piloting these things, something that is not for everyone.
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy PS5 Review – Bite-Sized Chunks
Does the episodic nature of this release make sense? I’d say yes, if only because combat feels so limited. Fans are able to take in some more history of the Gundam series, fight in a few scenarios, then digest another chapter if they so choose. This isn’t an intense, 40+ hour investment of time, which many people will appreciate when there are so many other games to play these days. Even better, those still on the fence about buying this game can purchase any of the volumes at $19.99 (volumes 1 and 2 have been released, with 3 on the way), or pre-pay for all three for $49.99, while the deluxe edition which comes with a few in-game extras and PSN avatars can be had for $59.99.
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy is strictly for the fans. That isn’t to say people who are unfamiliar with the series won’t enjoy it. Indeed, with as few walking tank games out there as it is, anyone into this type of gameplay will probably enjoy things here. It’s just that being invested in the story of Gundam helps a lot, because much of the game is about taking in the story. Combat is clunky, but gets the job done, and the episodic format makes that fact easier to forgive.
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation: Code Fairy review code provided by publisher. Version 1.010 reviewed on a PS5. For more information, please see our Review Policy.