Given that the beta for Gundam Versus is this weekend, and there really isn't an official 'here's how to play' guide from Namco, I thought I'd quickly slap together this blog to help newcomers get settled in. I'm not going over what every character does, but more just general mechanics and rules that you should understand going in. So with that, let's get this moving.
So first, here's the controls. We won't be talking about them too much, controls are more about doing than talking in my opinion, but it's a good resource. Also yes, arcade sticks will work for Gundam Versus. (Source of both photos in this blog: Neogaf)
Gundam Versus is a 2v2 tag team game. While it has 1v1 and 3v3 modes, it is designed and balanced around 2v2, and wonky moments should be expected outside of that. During a match in Gundam Versus, each team has 1000 points, and the goal is to drop the other teams point amount to 0. How is this done? By shooting down members of the opposing team.
Every mobile suit in the game is assigned one of four point values: 200, 300, 400, 500. Generally speaking, the higher the point value, the more health they have at the bare minimum. When a mobile suit is shot down, the amount of points that it was worth is subtracted from the teams point count. Meaning a team can only afford to have a 500 be shot down once, while a 200 can potentially afford to be shot down multiple times.
There is one other important mechanic to the point system. If a unit is shot down, and the total points left is lower than their value when they respawn, they'll come back with less health. So if a 400 point unit is shot down, leaving the team with 300 points, that 400 point unit will repsawn with less health. This is known as overcost, and is something to keep in mind when working with your teammate to seal the deal on a win.
Use the RX-78-2 Gundam for your first couple of rounds. It's generally considered to be the Ryu of the series, and has a 400 point cost, which allows you to get a grasp on how the point system works and survivability, as well as a higher chance to experience overcost. After you get the hang of it, branch out to the 300 and 400s, as most of the roster is located among these two point classes. Once you feel fully ready, you can choose to play as the more glassy 200s or the 500s. Just remember, you will be fodder to those that have settled in if you choose to be a 500 at first, and it will result in frusturation. There's also offline modes in the beta, so give those a run first while you get settled in.
Your end goal is to be decent with Gundam F91. It's a 300 point unit, however its skill ceiling is considered one of the highest of the cast. If you can do well with it, you can do farily well with most of the cast. You have no obligation to main the F91, but keep that in mind if you want to test how far you've come along.
I cannot emphasis this enough. Friendly fire is an active danger on every move you do, whether it's ranged or melee. If your teammate(s) are caught in an attack, they will get damaged and suffer any stun, knockback etc as a result. If you have to use a dangerous move, like Turn A or GP02As nukes, then communicate to your team member that they need to move. Those moves cover a massive area, and the resulting explosion stays for a long time. There is nothing more frusturating than you or your teammate causing you to lose a match because you two couldn't be bothered to make sure not to hit each other.
Boost is love. Boost is life.
You're going to be using boost and the tech a lot. In addition to being used for faster movement, there are three techs to it: Boost Step, Boost Dash, and Boost Dive.
Boost step, which is triggered by double-tapping up/down/left/right, cancels melee attacks and allows you to string combos. However, it also cancels the tracking of your enemy's attacks, and is very important for evasive purposes. It'll be how you get in close to those that focus on ranged attacks.
Boost dash, activated by double tapping x or whatever is assigned to Boost, is essentially a dash step, allowing faster movement. It also allows you to cancel any action, which can potentially enable so very goofy shenanigans. For instance, the Hyaku-Shiki can summon a large cannon which it mounts to fire. If you cancel out of it at the right time, it will still fire without the mobile suit having to be on it the entire time Figuring out how to cancel boost dash will let you get the most out of many cast members.
The final tech is boost dive, triggered by pressing R1+X, or the boost dive button if it's assigned. This will cancel your last action and fast fall to the ground. It's a good escape movement, but it also has a very important use. When you use boost or any boost tech, you decrease the boost gauge. It will only recover when on the ground, with one exception. If you boost dive to the ground, it will recover way faster than normal. Since standing still is dangerous, this is the one tech you'll absolutely want to work into your gameplan.
There is one danger if you push the boost gauge too far. A mechanic called overheat. If you run out of boost, which means no boost dive, you will then have two seconds to land on the ground. If you don't, you'll enter a state of inactivity, which means a free target for the most dangerous attacks.
When someone locks onto you, you'll see a yellow arrow on one of the sides of your screen, indicating that someone in that direction is targetting you. If that arrow has turned red, you need to move as they are attacking in some form.
When you're locked on to a target, you will see one of several circles appear on them: A yellow one with a line through it, a green one, a red one, and another red one with another circle in it. Generally, the circle indicates how strong the tracking/homing on your attacks will be, if at all. Anyone with a yellow circle generally means that they either can't be tracked at that time or have invincibility frames for one reason or another(usually after a knockdown). A green circle means no tracking (do not waste your ranged attacks at this range, you'll miss. Only fire if you need to harass someone off of your teammate). A red circle means you have some tracking, the double circle means the tracking is at its strongest and will hit if they do nothing.
Where do you ideally want to stay? Well, it depends on who you are playing as and the matchup. The distance required between you and your target for each state changes from mobile suit to mobile suit. To use the Gundam Wing characters, Gundam Epyon needs to be in close for maximum tracking, while Heavyarms can have more than double the distance and still have the strongest tracking. Coincidentally, Heavyarms has the furthest distance allowed of the entire cast, while Epyon requires the smallest distance. However, Epyon and Heavyarms are two very special cases which we'll cover.
Epyon and Heavyarms are the best examples for the extremes of the roster. Epyon has no ranged abilities at all. Even his shoot option is replaced by another sword swing. His gameplan is to get in close, and then rapdily alternate between using melee and shoot for a devestating melee combo once he catches his target. In addition, he has the Zero System ability, which will temporarily prevent people from locking on when used. Heavyarms however is the exact opposite. It has no melee options, you want it to stay the hell away from anyone and pick away from a distance. If someone gets in close, you are fucked for lack of a better phrase, and you have fucked up and need your team mate to help get you out of there.
This is why the offline modes exist. So you aren't picking mobile suits you don't know, getting into an online match, and then going 'Wait why don't I have any ranged/melee?'. Anyone that does this only have themselves to blame. The character select screen does indicate how they are balanced (melee, balanced leaning melee, balanaced, balanced leaning ranged, ranged), but it's hard to get a good idea until you've actually used them. Do not go online until you understand the fundamentals of how the suit you want to use works.
There are two types of gears in Gundam Versus, and you'll be asked to equip one after picking a character. The game doesn't really show on that screen what each one will do, so take a look at this chart and getting a general idea of what each will do. Some suits may work better with one over the other, while both gears can potentially work for certain characters.
The gauge to use your gear will fill up for a variety of reasons. When you or your ally is shot down, dealing or taking damage, successfully guarding. In addition, it fills faster for higher point units, when you have low health, and if the team point gauge is flashing. Once it's at 50%, you can activate it, although it's usually best reserved for guarateeing a kill. In addition, a burst attack becomes available while the gear is active, so try to land that if you can.
An important technique is escape burst. If the gauge is at full, and you use it while being comboed, you can interrupt the combo and escape. However, doing so will consume 30% of the bar, meaning the resulting timer will start at 70%.
Strikers are assists. There are over 100 of them, and they are unlocked by playing with units to level them up (merely cosmetic, no stat change), and then buying them. Different units unlock different strikers, but they can be mixed and matched with any cast member once unlocked. Experiment with them and see what fits your suit and your playstyle. It will also be the easiest way to catch someone blindsided because not many people are going to have all 100+ strikers memorized.
That should be everything for the most part. Outside of some terminology being off, and a breakdown of each mobile suit, this should help you get a better idea of what the game has to offer mechanically before the beta goes live. If you have further questions, leave it in the comment section and I'll answer it the best I can. I'll also be trying to arrange a group when it's live, so add me on PSN (Torchman006) so you can get in on the fun.