Originally posted at G4@Syfygames, 8/19/15.

Dear reader: Get ready, because I’m going to tell you about the most fun game in the world, and beyond that, I’m going to teach you how to play it. You’re thinking to yourself: It’s Call Of Duty. No. It’s League of Legends. No, wrong again. Mario Kart? Still wrong. Smash Bros.? Street Fighter? Chess? Wrong, wrong, and crazy wrong. However, chess isn’t a bad analogy, as this game is sort of like chess in its reliance on move and countermove. The only difference is that this game is played at a hundred moves a minute, and they’re all super-easy to do. Are you ready? Are you prepared to learn how to play the most fun game in the world?

I’m ready to teach you. I’m ready to show you the world of Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost.

If you have yet to read the first installment of this guide series, please do so. This guide is written with the intent of being foundational as well as sequential, so each entry should logically build upon the previous chapter.

In this lengthy installment of my guide to playing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost, we’ll be covering how to begin playing the game, starting with the main game screen. You will see a HUD display with your chosen suit in the middle, and I’ll explain the elements of this screen in-depth, and why those elements are so important. 

First, let’s start with Player Health, at it’s pretty self-explanatory. Here’s the numerical value of how much health your particular suit has. Getting hit lowers that number. This is visually represented in the Enemy Health bar, as well. Match time is pretty straghtforward, as that’s the amount of time that’s left in the match. The Radar shows where people are.

Weapons are displayed in the lower-right corner, and vary from suit to suit. However, they almost always carry some sort of ammo count and cooldown / reload period when those ammo stores are exhausted. The number indicates how many shots are remaining, while the bar serves not only as a visual indicator of that ammo count, but as a meter letting the player know when the recahrge / reload is complete. Furthermore, you’ll see some weapons have a small “CHARGE” bar underneath. Hold the corresponding button — usually just Shot or Melee on its own — and once that’s finished charging, you can expect to see a super-powered version of the attack being charged, or even something completely different.

In some cases, you can even deplete ammo from one weapon and charge the same weapon, then fire the special shot while the main ammo stock is still reloading. Some attacks can even charge multiple levels for extra-big hits. EX Burst — which is the meter on the lower left — will restore all weapon ammo stocks when activated, but more on that in just a moment.

Enemy lock is based on the player’s range to their designated target, varies by suit, and it graded in three circles: green, yellow and red. Green means the designated target is out of range, yellow means that the suit is in range with limited weapon tracking (projectile weapons will “home” in on targets), red means that you are within range, and any shot fired at a stationary opponent will likely hit, barring a step dodge or a well timed boost dash — but we’ll explore that in tomorrow’s lesson. Red lock is also considered melee range, as the distance gap at that point can either be closed rather quickly, or is likely already gone.

Most importantly, you’ll be watching the Team Health meter. It is the end-all, be-all metric on who’s winning and losing a match. It’s divided into six bricks, with each brick representing 1000 points — thus, the total team health is always 6000. This is due to every mobile suit in the game being assigned a “Cost,” and this amount is subtracted from the team’s health budget when the suit has taken enough damage to be forced into respawn. So, let’s wax hypothetical: you’ve chosen a 3000 point suit, and you’ve just lost all of your individual suit’s health. To respawn, 3000 points are deducted from the team’s health stock, leaving the two players at 50% team health. Suits can fall into the 1000, 2000, 2500 or 3000 point ranges, and the lower the cost amount, the higher that suit’s relative fragility will likely be.

A 3000 point suit may have a large amount of Boost, insanely powerful weapons and a lot of individual health, but the tradeoff is that it represents 50% of that team’s health stock. A 1000 point suit may have slightly less powerful wepons, have less boost and have but 3/5 of the health of a 3000 point suit, but losing one means losing only 1/6 of the total team health. As such, cheaper suits are better utilized as expendable backstabbers and support fighters, whereas more expensive ones are suited to the classic “tank” or “anchor” roles.

The genius in this system is in the need for good team compostion, but beyond that, the skill of the players on a team can make just about any combination worthwhile and viable. Two powerful 3000s can overwhelm a team ill-prepared to fend off their assault. But a team of two scrappy 1000s can get picked off over and over again, and they’ll still keep coming back with just as much ferocity, whereas the 3000s would have but one life to live. 2500s are strong leaders and possess lots of strong, specialized options, and 2000s are your standard mid-tier, well-rounded fighters.

However, something interesting happens when you don’t have the budget to afford a full respawn. Say you have a team made up of a 3000 point suit and a 2000 point suit, and the 2000 point suit gets destroyed, leaving 4000 team health remaining. Then, the 3000 gets shot down shortly thereafter. In order for the 3000 suit to respawn, you go over your team’s remaining shared health budget — enter “Cost Over,” which is the most dangerous part of this game, by far.

In the previously-stated scenario, the 3000 point suit would respawn by assuming that it would take 3000 to replace it, but since there is only 1/3 of the required budget, you only spawn with 1/3 health. This creates a scenario where the 3000 point suit is now much easier prey, and all eyes will be on taking out / defending the suit with the lowest health. In this current hypothetical scenario, if the 2000 point suit gets destroyed again, it eats the last 1000 points of team health and ends the match. If the 3000 point suit gets killed, the same thing will happen. The only difference is that the 3000 suit started at a pretty severe disadvantage, due to the team not having the required budget to “afford” its respawn.

If a unit goes into Cost Over, you’re going on the extreme defensive if it’s you or your partner, or the extreme offensive if it’s an enemy teammate. That person is the easy kill, and is the key to quickly clinching the match. So, you must work with your teammate to manage not only your own individual health by utilizing offensive and defensive techniques, but you must also constantly manage the team health stock as well. It’s economy management, meter management, and high-speed action — all at once. But it’s surprisingly easy to manage, all things considered.

Certain suits are built for certain playstyles and Burst types, as well. In a game where you start with 95 suits available and unlocked right from the start, finding the one that suits your preferences takes a lot of exploration and experimentation. Most 2000 point suits are solidly mid-range in everything, the iconic RX-78-2 Gundam being what is essentially the “Ryu” of the game, and thus is probably the best suit to start learning how to play with. Most of your G Gundam suits — God Gundam, Master Gundam, Spiegel, etc. — are built around melee combat, and thus are best suited to rushdown tactics whereas suits like the Double Zeta excel at ranged combat.

Melee suits benefit from Assault Burst, as their projectile options range from limited to nonexistent. Gundam Wing‘s melee murder machine Epyon is a prime example of this, as it has zero projectile capability whatsoever. However, other suits such as the Turn A, Gundam 0083‘s GP03 and the aforementioned Double Zeta benefit greatly from Blast Burst, as it allows the ability to step-cancel their already-powerful shots, thus linking them with amazing speed into a nigh-unstoppable torrent of fire.

I bet you’re asking yourself, “What’s step-canceling? That sounds awesome.” Well, I’m going to tell you all about it…tomorrow. But for now, I’m moving onto covering what the Boost Meter and Burst Meter are for.

Boost is the game’s most important resource. Seriously, everything you’ll do depends greatly on proper Boost management. Higher-cost suits will usually have more gas in their tank, so they can ususally fly around a bit longer. Lower-costs suits are usually quicker and lighter, but have much less Boost to work with as a result. You won’t see this as an amount, though — the gauge is the same for all suits, but the rate of drain is where you’ll notice the difference. While you use it, you burn it out. While you’re airborne, you don’t regenerate it. But it recharges as soon as you land, and it’s a very fast process. However, the speed of that process depends entirely on how much Boost is left in the tank when you make landfall.

If you keep enough in the take to maintain a 50% charge, you can expect a recharge time of about 1/3 of a second, which gets you moving again as fast as possible. A stationary target is one that’s getting lit up, so stoppage time is to be avoided or mitigated wherever possible. However, you’re going to get into situations that will burn more boost, and that will incur the wrath of precious downtime. If you redline your Boost meter, say to 10% remaining, you can expect to have a 1/2 second recharge delay. It doesn’t sound like much, but in the middle of a match, it’s the difference between dodging a beam rifle shot and taking it squarely in the chest. Burning it out completely sends you into Overheat, which will drop you like a stone, and leave you at a standstill for about 2/3 of a second. You’re a sitting duck if you Overheat, so make sure you stay aware of how much you’ve got left in the tank.

The Burst meter builds as you deal and take damage, when you or your ally get shot down, and when you successfully block attacks. Once it’s at 50%, you can activate it by pressing Shot + Melee + Boost, or use the R3 button shortcut (clicking the right stick inward). This initiates a very brief cutscene where it announces to the other players that you’re in badass mode, and buffs you according to your preferred Burst type — Assault for melee and offense, Blast for ranged attacks and defense. Blast Burst lasts longer than Assault Burst does, and a 100% charge will give you about fifteen seconds of buff time whereas Assault Burst will only give you about eleven seconds (from what I’ve been able to time, that is). There are other suit-specific effects that certain Burst types grant, and in a game where 95 suits are available from the start, that is a whole other guide subject in and of itself.

Once Burst is active, you have access to a Super attack that will do extreme amounts of damage to the intended target, provided it hits. Some require a melee attack to land, some are massive beam projectiles. My personal favorite is a good old-fashioned colony / asteroid drop, courtesy of Char Aznable’s Sazabi from Char’s Counterattack (it’s my all-time favorite mobile suit, too). If a Super attack misses, you’ll be able to continue your offensive pressure with those enhanced properties while the Burst time permits, but only as long as you’re using Assault Burst. If you’re using Blast Burst, whiffing a super will use all your meter and thus end your powerup time, so it’s best to throw that attack at the very end of your meter when in that mode.

It’s also important to not get killed during Burst, as it will eliminate any unused meter, just as it’s important to not take much damage while in Burst, because you won’t be earning meter for getting hit. Due to this, I recommend activating it only when you have the suit health to take a few hits, just so you don’t burn all of it for naught. I also recommend using Burst when you are in a dire situation and need an ammo refill on everything, as it restores a fair amount of Boost as well as fully recharging all weapons and most extra skills / utilities.

At this point, it’s best to leave it as it stands until next time, where I’ll start to get into a few advanced tactics and systems. I’ll show you how they relate to everything that’s been discussed in the prior two entries. See you tomorrow!

Corrections: Mathematical errors in Cost Over calculations pointed out by Redditor /u/dattroll123. Thanks for reading!