Review by Super Maximum Zero

Reviewed: 09/16/04

All that a sequel should be.

GunGrave: Overdose is the sequel to GunGrave, a stylish high-octane shooter for the PS2. It was a simplistic game, consisting of mashing square and watching hundreds of enemies fall before you and hundreds objects being destroyed. Overdose sticks to the formula that made it's predecessor great, adds a load of new features, and removes virtually everything that was wrong with the original. In short, Overdose is better than the original in just about every way. More speed. More techniques. More replay. More difficulty. More longevity. More plot. More variety. More carnage. Interested? Good. Read on.

Visuals 9/10

Overdose, like it's predecessor, sports some pretty stylish, good looking graphics. What with you killing and destroying everything in sight, absorbing melee attacks, being shot at by a dozen machine gun toting enemies and a rocket man, there's a hell of a lto going on at once, and combined with the stylish look of the game, that can make for quite a show. Unfortunately, slowdown sometimes occurs. Not too often, but it happens. Personally, though, I didn't even care. It's not too bas, and honestly, it feels like the slowdown was intended (though it obviously wasn't). You might want to give this an 8 or even a 7 if you're picky about those things, but it didn't make an iota of difference to me.

Sound 8/10

Before I get into the good, I should get one ugly fact out of the way. Except during important events, conservations, boss battles, and the main menu, there's no real music during the regular gameplay. However, the good side is, you'll never notice it. The gunshots and reckless destruction, along with the occasional messages from friends, literally cover up the lack of music. No Spider-Man like eerie silence. I honestly didn't even notice until there was a pause in the action. In fact, I actually didn't realize it until after a few pauses. Anyway, as I said, the sound effects are very solid, and the voice acting is good. Whatever music there is very good as well.

Story 8/10

3 years after the unstoppable giant, Grave, single-handedly destroyed the Millenion organization and the horrible drug SEED, things...start right up again. Now there is a new party trying to revive SEED, and of course, our giant 10,000 man (probably more than that, really) killing machine, Grave, has to stop them. With him are 2 new character, Juji, a blind, foul-mouthed, equally undead swordsman, and Billy, a, umm, Undead rocker. I know how it sounds, but Billy dominating long-range attacks make that irrelevant...but that's for later. Plot plays a bigger role in this game, and it gives it a much better feelings. There are now cutscenes, as usual, but also briefings before missions, conversation before, during, and after missions, as well as between "sections" of missions.

Gameplay 10/10

Here's where Overdose really shows improvement. Complaints of the old GunGrave were plenty; too short, too easy, too simple, etc. Pretty much all of that is changed. First of all, there are now 9 stages, instead of the old 6. That may not seem like much, but stages are MUCH longer than before. There are actually several save points inside of each stage (they are automatically reached, you don't have to seek out a statue or anything). Now, there are also 3 playable characters, 4 difficulties, and a load of customizations to unlock. Getting high scores is fun, too. All that leads up to some great length and replay. Now, many people complained about Grave's walking speed in the original. Luckily, that's changed. Drastically. Grave is now 3 times faster, so much faster that strafing(L1 doubles as a strafe) is actually a viable strategy now. Difficulty wise, it's much tougher than the original. Not DMC or Shinobi tough, but enough. You'll die 50 or so times on Kick-ass, which is a "Very Hard" mode. Also, demolition shots are finally reasonable. You won't get 9 of them a quarter of the way through the stage, you'll actually have enough and just enough. I'll cover demolition shots in a minute. Now, GunGrave has always been about mashing square. However, there are plenty of ways to go about it. Grave has a number of techniques at his disposal. He can strafe, he can dive, he has defend (new technique), deflect missiles (new), he can charge (new),he has melee attacks and melee combos (the ladder of which is new) and he also has a "Bullet Dance", as I and I alone call it (there's actually a demolition shot with the name, but I don't care), which happens if you stand still a push square a few times, where Grave starts firing much faster and auto tracks nearby enemies. He can also use demoltion shots...super attacks, so to speak, with pretty much clear a room full of enemies, and is supplied by getting enough Beats. Beats are basically hits, the more you hit someone, the higher the beat, the better the reward. However, you can also keep a beat alive by hitting more people or objects before you're timed out. You can up to 999 beats, and you can realistically get them, which causes quite the grin on your face. Okay. Now, take all of that, and add 2 characters. That's the gameplay. However, before I end this long, dull review, I should mention the scoring system. The scoring system is quite good, and really gives a bit of a challenge, and a realistic challenge, to the player. You're rated on things like Artistic points (Gotten by using charge shots, switching form gun to melee during a combo, among other things), remaining life (Grave also has a shield, in which damage isn't counted for in this category...getting full credit in this category really brings that aspect of the game to life), Beat count, time, and kills. It's actually pretty fun trying a stage over again to try for a perfect score.
All in all, OverDose brings the same high-octane, destructive fun the original brought...with a lot, lot, lot, lot more. A lot of fun is to be had, and only $15 to be spent.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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