Review by TheMadcapLaughs

Reviewed: 02/22/08

This sequel sacfrices the first games style with less impressive graphics, less music and less exhilirating gameplay

The main character, Grave, is a man from beyond the grave and he plans, alongside his accomplices Mika and Spike, to stop the spread of a drug called Seed. Near the beginning of the journey he meets two others from beyond the grave, Juji Kabane and Rocketbilly Redcadillac who both share his goal – so they team up and the reasonably good story begins.

The gameplay is a third person shoot ‘em up, thus consisting mainly of running through rooms gunning down wave and wave of enemies. You use square to shoot, and L1 to lock on to enemies. In order to dodge bullets you can either dive to the side (with X) or block with your coffin (circle + down). However you do not have to always dodge bullets as you are equipped with a shield that will absorb quite a lot of damage before your health bar starts decreasing. Your shield bar refills if you avoid getting hit for 5 seconds. As well as guns you also have a coffin you carry around on your back for close combat by swinging it round with O. This is a VERY effective method of attack, and sometimes you’ll find yourself running towards enemies to use it rather than shooting. Finally there is the triangle button which unleashes a special attack by using up one of your Demolition Shot points (which you collect by defeating enemies)

The gameplay in this sequel feels far less exhilarating than in the first game. Yes the gunbattles are fast and fierce, but the different style this game has taken detracts from the exhilaration. As you’re shooting you will find all manner of objects are being destroyed (from crates to cars to signs), explosive barrels will explode, blood will fly and bullets will dent the walls. This complete and utter destruction is nice, but isn’t as great as the first game due to the less exhilarating gameplay. One major complaint I do have about the sequel is that the gameplay feels slightly cheap at times.

The enemies are far more varied than in the first game, which is a nice improvement. The boss designs are amazing, and some of the bosses will truly blow you away with their unique look. The level design was only reasonably good in the original, and it’s hard to tell whether level design has gotten better or worse. They are, for the most part better due to being FAR more varied than in the original with many turns, hallways and things to hide behind. However at times the design drops like a bomb. Two occasions where I particularly remember this occurring were during one of the boss fights where you’re put in a very small room which messes up the camera, and another level which has you jumping between ridiculously small platforms resulting you being unable to move very much during battle – this is not fun.

As has already been mentioned, the graphics are very well done cel-shading. However I have the weirdest feeling that the graphics may actually be worse than the first game, which is disappointing.

The music has gone downhill. It’s alright but really can’t compare to the first game’s music, and the music hardly ever plays which makes the fighting less interesting. Sound effects, though simple, suit the style of the game well. The voice acting seems to be very good.

The game is much longer than the original clocking in at about 5 hours to complete. If you enjoy it then you will probably return to it again because there are 3 different characters each of which plays quite differently.

Gameplay = 7.5/10
Design = 7.5/10
Graphics = 8/10
Sound = 4/10
Length = 5 hours
Replayability = 8/10

Final Score = 7/10

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Gungrave: Overdose (EU, 10/07/05)

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