Gungrave VR Review (PSVR)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
Gungrave has ended its silence as a series after fourteen long years of radio silence. A big surprise of this release after so long was the team opted for virtual reality. With this in mind has Gungrave VR managed to bring more than the mediocre releases of the past?
I think the game attempted to bring a story, but it’s so brief its hard to make anything out of what is given to you. All you find out is that a drug named SEED is rife in South City, and this drug is really bad… but there is no explanation to why. I understand this game is a prequel to a later release, but with what the story tells you, it really is hard to understand anything apart from SEED is bad…. m’kay.
You are now put into the shoes of Grave, and it is your job to take to South City, and bring an end to the distribution of the drug and the evil corporation pumping it into the streets. This brings in the gameplay which you take on in two styles, these are;
Third person, which will see you looking over the shoulder of Grave. This mode will basically see you taking on waves of enemies in areas of South City, until the boss turns up. This allows you the shoot by aiming with the reticule provided on the screen, dodge the incoming attacks by diving/rolling out-of-the-way, melee attacks and finally use special attacks. It is down to you how you take on the enemies.
The second mode is first person mode, where you can see Grave’s arms on-screen, in most of these sections you are glued to the spot. To successfully navigate these sections you have to decide when to shoot and when to use your melee swing attack. With the later in both modes being able to send set projectiles back at the enemy who has fired it – which is useful for taking them down quickly. The only first person mode where you can move is when you are on vehicle for one level, this includes a lot of projectiles coming at you are once, so the need to dodge had to be included.
Some of the levels bring a mix of the modes, depending on the part you are on, but even mixing these modes up does not stop the gameplay from becoming stale very quickly. The first person sections can be fun, but by the end of the short campaign it does become quite boring. Also adding the annoyance of some of the bosses attacks not giving you chance to recover before they attack or the additional enemies hit you again, and this all soon becomes a frustrating mess.
When it comes to the visual side where the detailing the Grave is decent, the rest of the visuals don’t really do anything to help the game, and keep you in the world. This is down this huge city being very barren and not offering much in detailing mixed with bland textures. Then add to this repeated enemy designs and what I would see as outdated visuals compared to many other games in the VR market, and it really doesn’t make for anything appealing to look at.
If you are wondering does the audio offer any saving grace… unfortunately it doesn’t. Where the sounds effects do what you would want, the music does not add anything to the action in the game and is easily forgotten. Then you get one of the most annoying sounds I have experienced in VR, as Grave’s health get low he starts to pant loudly, and this sound just continues in loop and soon becomes not only annoying but distracting.
Given what the game is doing, it was made to played seated, although I don’t see why standing would be an issue. You play the game using the DualShock 4 controller, as this allows for the character movement in the game, but also brings some odd decisions with this. For some reason although the game uses the third person perspective, they team have decided to use click turning in the game, that does not do the game any favours at all. Secondly the reticule in both the modes is controlled by head movement, when this could have easily assigned to the analogues, and really makes you feel more disconnected from the world and the immersion we love in virtual reality.
The game will take you around forty-five minutes to and hour to complete, and offers very little reason to return. You can aim to get the all the trophies for the game which will require an SS ranking in all levels, but given what you are experiencing it will be hard to want to go back. The game only comes with the campaign there is no leaderboards or anything and given the £24.99 price point it really doesn’t being value for money.
- First person mode can be fun at times
- Stale gameplay
- Some odd control decisions
- Outdated Visuals
- Very short, with no replay value
- Over priced
After fourteen years of silence, it seems that Grave has not shaken off the cobwebs of being storage for so long. The game has done very little to make me excited for the release of the later title, and it seems like the team have opted for virtual reality to be involved in the new technology. The barebones story, the stale gameplay and the outdated visuals make it very hard to recommend this to anyone, even if you are a Gungrave purist who wants to experience everything.
PlayStation VR Exclusive
Buy Gungrave VR on PlayStation Store