Gungrave was an action game a la 2002 Devil May Cry for PS2, which came up with an anime look and over-the-top characters created by the well-known manga artists Yasuhiro Nighthow (trigun) and Koshuke Fuhishima (Oh My Goddess!) were designed. As a pistolero, who always carries a coffin over his shoulder, killing masses of enemies had (albeit twisted) style and there was even an anime adaptation of Gungrave. 20 years later, the South Korean developer Iggypop is working on a sequel. In order to transfer the style of the original to contemporary 3D graphics, the team was also in close contact with Nightow. The original game as well as the anime series were studied in detail.
The fair demo begins with a cutscene in which the coffin-wielding protagonist falls out of the sky towards a pack of gangsters, shoots one (z)and turns the head of another as he runs past – in the deadly way, not the romantic one. So blood spurts copiously right at the beginning. The tutorial then leads through the combat system, which is initially based on the fact that I almost constantly press the trigger (left shoulder button). An auto-aim is used for the flow, so I only aim roughly in the direction of the opponents I want to target and who are closest to the crosshairs, distribute their lifeblood in the room first and sometimes lose one or other body part.
The hero isn’t all that fast, but can keep shooting (albeit much slower) during dodge rolls, as well as grabbing enemies and of course using his coffin, which not only knocks down enemies and cripples armored enemies’ shields, but also hurls missiles back at the receiver . Last but not least, there are of course powerful special attacks, such as firing target-seeking mortar shells out of the coffin or sweeping the screen clean with other thunderstorms similar to smart bombs. The aim is to hit someone as uninterruptedly as possible and thus increase the combo display, which fills the bar for the special attacks and partly unlocks special moves. Effectively used super maneuvers, in turn, give style points that affect the score at the end of the level.
Developer Iggypop aimed to retain the strengths of the original, but does hint (albeit gently) that it has addressed the weaknesses of the original Gungrave, which wasn’t particularly long and yet was criticized for being monotonous. Therefore, the repertoire of attack options has been expanded. In addition, you want to control the flow of the linear action with the peculiarities of the three enemy types, gang members, mafiosi and seed, and leave little idle time. The Seed are strange biological-mechanical mutants and in the course of a carnage other types of opponents can also mutate into Seed. Mutations for a phase change in the fight against the Obermotze were promised. For the character design of the adversary in Gungrave Gore was involved Ikumi Nakamura committed to using their artistic influence in titles like Okami and Ghostwire – Tokyo (in review) (as well as for her heartfelt presentation of the latter title, which was game director at Tango Gameworks until her departure, at the E3 2019).
Within the half hour tryout session, I wasn’t quite able to get into the rhythm of Gungrave Gore as I learned mechanic after mechanic. Especially the strong auto-aim seems unusual. But I feel like digging in further and I can well imagine that it is very satisfying then to sweep the spaces empty by skilfully chaining my attacks. In contrast to the moves, however, the boring metal corridors of the industrial complex level I played could not score any style points. Gungrave Gore is scheduled for release in December 2022.