In Gungrave, you take the role of Beyond The Grave, an assassin that has risen from the grave (literally). You’re tasked with exacting your revenge against a corrupt conglomerate, using your twin guns (called Cerberos) and a coffin strapped at your back. Gungrave’s story is a no-brainer really, focusing instead in the action aspect of the game.
As Grave it seems kind of odd that how unevenly matched your enemies are compared to you. They literally have no chance taking on Grave head on, which gives the impression that they were just fodder for Grave. Giving enemies more weapons or an improved AI routine and strategy would have been better.
If you haven’t heard yet, Gungrave is a third person shooter, and nothing else. As you start the game the first thing you will notice is that the game definitely is a third person shooter, on account of it’s slower pace, and heavier emphasis on going from one place, blasting everything in sight and going to the next point. One of the things that really is quite interesting and at the same time quite disappointing is how small the game actually is. To be perfectly clear on how the game works, 99% of the time you will know where to go, and you will have tons of annoying enemies popping up everywhere.
As you get farther into Gungrave you will notice how repetitive this game is. As you make it through the first level or so, you will notice every turn, and every area you will find that everything looks the same. At the same token, you are also doing the same button taping all throughout the game. So to sum all of this up, it feels like your in the same environment the whole time and doing the same thing through the whole game.
On the flip side of all of this, for the first hour or two this can be quite fun. The shooting and beating up action works pretty well, for a while. There is really nothing wrong with how Gungrave plays, in fact I kinda like the slower outlook on the game, but after awhile this also can become an annoyance to the game.
So you don’t mind the repetitiveness of the game, but I have yet to mention the last problem of the game. I am still boggled about how short the game is. You can finish the game in one sitting, in less than an hour. I am really not sure what Red Entertainment was thinking, but I would prefer a bit more levels in this high-profile game.
The controls are something that were a bit odd, but at the same time kind of gave Gungrave a different approach to the game. Don’t expect to jump right into Gungrave and be able to shoot-up everyone in sight, this is one game that is going to take some time at getting used to. To start with like I mentioned earlier, this is a game that plays quite slower. For some unknown reason, you can’t run and shoot at the same time. Pressing the L3 button enables Grave to do a slow jog, but that won’t help matters much. So, you’re stuck with moving slowly through the level, blasting away with your guns. This may be deliberate to reflect the fact that Grave is one mean and cumbersome killing machine, but a faster control would have made Gungrave more enjoyable.
When you’re blasting away, each hit you make will go to the Beat Meter, after which each filled meter will earn you Demolition Shots, much like those ’bombs’ in arcade shooters. Activating these special shots will result in Grave doing his trademark killer moves, the first is Grave spreading his legs a little and firing a missile from his coffin (think Desperado). Very cool, but a tad slow for my liking.
There are really some interesting tunes in the game. Some of them sound decent at the same time some of them really don’t go with the game. As for the sound effects those were pretty good. The sound effects of Graves weapons sound pretty good. Nothing that should get raved over, but it gets the job done.
Gungrave really shines in the graphics department. With characters being drawn using the cel-shading technique, and reasonably detailed backgrounds, Gungrave looks like a high quality anime rather than an ordinary game. The stylized anime look isn’t surprising, with the impressive CG sequences being designed by Yasuhiro Naito, the creator or the gothic action anime, Trigun.
For the most part the environments are pretty impressive, although like most of the game they can become pretty repetitive, for the most part the environments the game are pretty impressive.
The enemies and the rest of the game are detailed well enough to get the job done for the game. They don’t sport facial expressions though, which results in many faceless enemies in the levels.
Gungrave at it’s best points are really only partially fun. In some of the high action packed scenes can be quite fun. Although for the most part you will be running around a lot with only a few enemies to take on. This can get quite boring. The game also has no replay value what so ever, and the game is so short if you purchase it you will be quite angry that you didn’t get as much as you would hope for your fifty dollars.
This game had all the potential in the world. Being published by Sega already gives you that edge, but this one just doesn’t do all that would be hoped. It comes up short in almost every category. If this game still sounds appealing to you, then I would recommend renting it before spending your hard earned cash on a game that you could beat in a few days.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.