GunGrave (PS2)

Review

posted 10/25/2002 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PS2
As the dark figure continues to destroy, kill, and maim, his ‘beat meter’ adds up. As long as the beat stays constant with SOMETHING to shoot at, be it the bad guys or background, the beat gauge keeps increasing. Conceivably you can have literally hundreds of shots going as you work your beats higher and higher. The game tends to push you to simply button mash; since the characters animation tends to become more fevered and exciting to watch the higher the beat goes.

The nice thing is that there’s almost always something to shoot at. Be it cars along the streets, tables and chairs in restaurants, or just windows and random debris, you will be able to rip apart just about everything you run across. Bullet holes will stay in the backgrounds, and there are plenty of animations to keep you shooting everything you can see. If you completely fill up the beat gauge you will be able to let loose one of four Demolition Shots. These are basically powerful attacks that get rid of just about everything on the screen in dramatic fashion. Each offers a different animation, and slows everything down so you can savor the pure destruction you have caused.

Other than the Demolition Shots and the regular gun, your character is limited to only one other move: the mighty coffin twirl. This fast move gets rid of all enemies directly surrounding you, but loses track of your beats. Our hero tends to lumber around, kind of like you would expect with a heavy coffin on his back. He tends to be a little slow, and could have used a few more defensive moves, in my opinion.

We’ve already established that the cut scenes are among the most impressive this reviewer has ever seen, but the in game graphics aren’t too shabby, either. In fact, the transition from cinema to game play is extremely smooth, without there being a glaring difference. The in game graphics are using a similar style of cel-shading as the cut scenes, but tend to not look as clear, and get a little lost in non-stop explosions and gun play.

Each of the six levels is unique, and ultimately offers several different styles of backgrounds in each. The enemies are also different from level to level, adding a lot to the overall style of this game.

What GunGrave lacks in depth it overcompensates with style. The characters themselves are designed by Yasuhiro Nightow, who is probably best known for his work with the anime Trigun. There is no doubt that the game does a great job of making you feel like you are playing an anime, something that has been attempted, but never quite like this.
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