I was reading a discussion about Gundam 00: Awakening of the Trailblazer that actually quickly derailed and turned into a debate regarding SEED and Gundam 00. In response to the accusation that Strike Freedom is ridiculously overpowered, someone brought up Setsuna and his Gundams. That's an incorrect comparison.
I actually agree that Strike Freedom is likely the most overpowered Gundam in the franchise. That's why I love it, it's so dominant over everything. But this person made a point saying that Strike Freedom was best at ranged combat, while Infinite Justice had the best close quarters combat arsenal, and Akatsuki had the best defense; they were an equal team. I'm not sure about including Akatsuki, even though it DID have above average defenses, being built to deflect regular beam shots without batting an eye. But it did still get vaporized after taking a battleship cannon beam to the face, even if it did still manage to block the attack from its intended target. Anyway, as opposed to this team, the person argued that Setsuna and his mechs were always leaps and bounds ahead of the other Gundams of Celestial Being. That's kind of absurd.
Firstly, the Gundams in Celestial Being weren't overpowered. The reason they were able to wipe the floor with everyone else for much of the series was because they were far, far more advanced. The estimation was that they were a decade ahead of current technology. That's not overpowered, that's just being prepared. Would you call an F-22 Raptor overpowered for being able to shoot down an F-4 Phantom with ease? Because that's why the Exia and company were curbstomping everyone in their path until the other guys finally managed to catch up in technology; and only by copying Celestial Being's tech.
And Setsuna was no better than the rest of his team. In fact, they did the whole "role" thing better than any instance in SEED. Exia was a close quarters unit, bristling with beam sabers and swords and daggers, with only a small beam rifle to call upon for ranged combat. Kyrios was the fast interceptor, able to transform into a fighter, and armed with light but versatile weaponry like an automatic rifle. Virtue was the heavy artillery Gundam, fairly slow but with the best defenses and the most powerful weaponry, including a two handed beam bazooka. And Dynames was long range support, ineffective in close combat, but a lethal presence at range with its sniper rifle. None of them, Exia included, was any more "powerful" than the other.
This mechanic continued into the second season as the new line of Gundams rolled out. Yes, 00 Gundam was literally more powerful than its cohorts, exponentially more powerful. But they talk about that. It's because 00 has two GN Drives, as opposed to one. And the system was imperfect, and unstable. It was only until 00-Riser came into being that 00 actually delivered on its potential as the ultimate mech, and probably the most powerful in the series. And even then, though it has its moments of overpowering dominance, 00-Riser is not an invincible mech.