The game is currently available on the Japanese Playstation Store for free.
Basic play is free and players can collect every Mobile Suit without paying anything. There is, however, a catch. (And with Namco Bandai, there is always a catch)
First, players have "Deployment Points" that must be spent to enter combat. Battles cost 1 Point to enter and a player can have a maximum of only 3 Deployment Points at any time. Deployment Points regenerate at a rate of 1 Point every 2 hours but can be purchased at a rate of 1 Point for ¥100 (US$1.26), 6 Points for ¥480 (US$6.05), 13 Points for ¥950 (US$11.98), and 27 Points for ¥1,850 (US$23.33). There is currently an ongoing bargain campaign where Points can be purchased at a rate of 2 Points for ¥100 (US$1.26), 10 Points for ¥480 (US$6.05), 20 Points for ¥950 (US$11.98), and 40 Points for ¥1,850 (US$23.33). Any overflow over 3 points is converted to "Stock Points" which can be used when a player has run out of Deployment Points, but do not regenerate like Deployment Points do.
Second, while Mobile Suits, vehicles and weapons can be upgraded, there is a set limit. Player who want to upgrade beyond the limit can, you guessed it, pay a little extra to unlock the limit. Unlocking costs ¥300 (US$3.78) per Mobile Suit, ¥200 (US$2.52) per weapon and ¥200 (US$2.52) per special customizing item.
Once again, basic gameplay is free and it is possible to play and enjoy the game without having to spend anything. However, players who want to play more than 3 rounds every 6 hours and want their Mobile Suits to be the best that they can be will no doubt be spending money like quarters at an arcade.
Look forward to a Kotaku review of Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation soon!
機動戦士ガンダム バトルオペレーション｜バンダイナムコゲームス公式サイト [機動戦士ガンダム バトルオペレーション｜バンダイナムコゲームス公式サイト]