As one of the better games utilizing the Gundam license, Encounters in Space has a lot to offer Gundam fans, and it plays decent too. The game focuses on the Universal Century universe (which includes the One-year war from the first TV series, as well as the events of the Stardust Memory miniseries), but there are also some Easter eggs from G-Gundam, Gundam Wing, and Gundam Seed. What makes the single player modes of this game interesting is that instead of simply having one huge campaign, there are several smaller ones, each starring a different main character and having their own separate storyline. The main storyline takes players through the last half of the original TV series. Along with that, there is a game-exclusive campaign featuring an all new character and a storyline which takes place parallel to the main series. The Ace Pilot mode is a series of vignettes in which players play as different faces from the Gundam Saga. Along with a few choice members of the Earth Federation, you’ll also play as several of Zeon’s finest including Char Aznable, Anavel Gato, and even the Black Tri-Stars. There are dozens of mobile suits to choose from, and each character has their own special abilities. There is also a training mode, in which you can create a character, and train through 8 missions in order to build up his/her stats as much as possible. You can then take your pilot into a two-player versus mode, where you can build a team of any three characters using any mobile suits you wish.

The gameplay will be familiar to those who have played Konami’s Zone of the Enders, and for the most part, it serves its purpose, even if the missions tend to lack variety at times. From time to time you’ll have assignments to clear up space debris or protect a battleship, but most of the time you’re destroying a series of specific targets. The main draw of this game is how well it captures the feel of the original TV series. Much of the background music has been lifted from the show, and the new music recorded for the game fits in perfect. The cinemas even borrow clips from the TV shows, and the English voice cast handles the voice work. Best of all, you can view the cinematics, listen to the music, and read about each mobile suit in the game’s gallery. Fans of Wing or G-Gundam will be disappointed as this game only focuses on the Universal Century era, but there is even something for them as well, since a few mobile suits from alternate universes appear in this game as unlockables (sadly, the pilots of said mobile suits weren’t included with them). Ever wanted to see Amuro Ray in the cockpit of this Wing Zero? Here is your chance.

Anyone who is not a fan of Gundam will find a decent, but run-of-the-mill mech shooter. Gundam fans however, will find an excellent compilation of what made the series so compelling. Indeed, Encounters in Space serves as a ‘greatest hits’ of Mobile Suit Gundam, and stands as one of the few good games based on the mecha franchise.