Does anyone even remember the last Gungrave title that was ever released? Well, you can be forgiven if you don’t as you have to go back as far as 2004 when Gungrave: Overdose was released on the PS2, yes that’s 2 generations ago. I was still changing my daughters nappy at that time and I’m happy to say that now she is almost ready to take her final exams. XSEED games decided that it was time to bring the title back to our current generation of gamers, but this time they tried to utilise the use of the PSVR.
I think the main problem with VR games that are released now is that the developers either nail it (Resident Evil 7 for example) or fall way short of the mark and hit their hands with the hammer they were using to hit said nails home. Gungrave falls into the latter of the two I’m afraid. In what is now a VR market for fans, games really need to stand out and have immersive substance to them. I mentioned Resident Evil; the game drew you in, put the fear of the almighty into you and took a good few hours to complete once you had stopped to change your underwear on numerous occasions.
Gungrave consists of 5 extremely repetitive levels. Yes, you can add more levels to that if you grab hold of the Loaded Coffin Edition, but unfortunately that’s just more of the same. Each level will take you a maximum of 10 minutes to complete and your movement within those levels is rather restricted. Its more like an arena fighter and the constant changes between 3rd person to first and also side scroller in some cases is annoying. If I’m playing a VR game I want to be the eyes of the character, not viewing whats happening from over their shoulder or from a distance side on.
Apparently Gungrave takes place straight after the last game. I say apparently because after an initial cutscene introducing us to the game, there is no story whatsoever. Each level is not a continuation from the last and there is no cutscenes or story as to why you are where you are. 2 of the levels are set in first person, and that is where the game does shine a little from behind some dark clouds, however, being fixed in place so that I couldn’t actually walk around was frustrating, but not as frustrating as what these levels did to the horrendous graphics of the game.
In first person mode you can really see the awful layering of the VR graphics and the busier it gets on screen, the more noticeable it is making it look like an awful 2D rendering. For example; you have multiple missiles heading your way. The first hits you which leaves a blood splatter across the camera, but as you move your vision around, the blood splatter has an external border around it, then when you look at following projectiles you can see the exact same thing. It made me feel like I was playing something along the lines of Operation Wolf where you can see perspective of depth along the bottom of the screen with lines and then enemies would move across the screen on those lines. The further back the enemy was, the smaller they were, but you CAN see all the layering involved. It did start to feel that XSEED had not progressed much past the graphical capabilities of the PS2.
In 3rd person view, Graves character looks almost decent, but enemies are blocky. The framerate runs smoothly enough but the graphics have most certainly suffered due to this. Its not as if its a minor error within the game, the more you play, the more you notice and it really does distract. I guess those who remember the PS2 version may be taken on a nice nostalgic trip toward those days, but on a current gen machine, its unacceptable. I even tried to get some screenshots to show people these things, but the screen grabs were horrendous, and a lot of the time, you couldn’t clearly work out what was going on within the screens parameters, even tho I had just played it.
Then we move on to the audio of the game. It isn’t any better than the graphics. There are precious few lines of dialogue. Grave is obviously the strong silent type and the enemies make grunts when they die like they are stuck on the toilet trying to pass one of the worlds largest turds (perhaps they were imagining this game while they were having a dump, I dunno). The music within the game does work well, its full of looping thumping tunes which should always be a part of a game like this, but again, I started to get bored of it before long as its the same thing over and over.
For a woefully short game, it certainly isn’t worth the price that it is on sale for, you will be finished within an hour or 2 feeling ripped off. There isn’t even any replay value to it, there’s no unlockables within the game other than completing all levels with an SS rating gives you the option to play as Grave when he was alive, but outside of the main game the only other thing to do is use a training room to learn your skills, but once you have done that right at the start whats the point in returning?
Now, I do always hate to bring a game down so harshly, but there just isn’t anything within this game that saves it from being a failure other than maybe the nostalgia of playing PS2 styled graphics on a PS4?
They have tried and failed and for that I can only score this game a 3/10 and the only reason its that high is that what they have done does look and play quite nicely, but there is just way too many obvious faults within the game not to mention the poor length of gameplay