Azure Striker Gunvolt (2014)

bnr_GV_en

“You do a lot for me, Joule. You give me the strength to keep going.”
-Gunvolt

 

 

Kx18GL1dNEW  >Loading: DAPPERZAFFREMAGE.wrm

Azure Striker Gunvolt. A bit of a mouthful, but a pretty cool title; I personally prefer it over the more accurate translation, ‘Armed Blue: Gunvolt’. Whichever may be your flavor, though, one thing was certain – I had utterly no idea where this game came from before I saw it. I carried a 3DS with me a lot that year of 2014, which made it even more surprising that I had never seen a promotion of it, with how much time I spent on the handheld busing back and forth the city. So when a friend sent me a proper trailer link and told me ‘It’s Mega Man’, I thought:

Ehhhm. And then he enunciated, ‘Well, Mega Man X-ish.’

I grew up with Mega Man. But I also grew up with Mega Man X, and although even mini-Dapper-Zaffre appreciated the former being ‘first’ to the latter, Mega Man X was just so much more up to my speed as a child. The NES classic was frustratingly unforgiving, while the SNES successor was by far flashier, easier, and actually had a story to it, which little-DZ loved. So click away I did, and discovered this modest little azure gem in the mines of Nintendo eShop.

Today’s subject is brought to us by Inti Creates, a company fashioned from ex-Capcom employees, who have worked on the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series (among other things), and even collaborated with Comcept on Mighty No. 9. If I recall correctly, at that time, Mighty No. 9 had still been but a Kickstarter and concept art, Maverick Hunter X fell through, and I needed my Capcom fix. What really caught my eye was that launch purchases of Azure Striker Gunvolt would come packaged with a cute little 8-bit platformer, Mighty Gunvolt, explained by Keiji Inafune himself in a video as being a fun little side game that featured both Gunvolt and Mighty as playable characters in a throwback to classic Mega Man. So I thought, ‘Hey, even if Azure Striker Gunvolt strikes out, at least I do get a cool little platformer out of it too.’

Yes, what drew me into the world of Gunvolt wasn’t even the main game, it was the idea of getting a bonus out of it too. I’m nothing if not a thrifty character! Yet, now that I type this it occurs to me that it’s one of the few video game purchases in past years that I certainly did not regret. Mayhap not the must-have top-page title of the summer, but a hardy little contender in its own right. So… what’s the electrifying draw of this three year-old title?

 

 

The 8-Bit Review
gameplay Gameplay: 7/10
The key to playing Azure Striker Gunvolt lies in his name. Gunvolt’s (or GV’s) assault comes in two halves: A gun, and vo- well, you get the idea. Flashfield, the latter of those, can be activated at the press of a button, generating an electrical field around him that has a number of secondary uses. It can nullify a fair number of physical projectiles, light up dark areas, and slow GV’s descent when falling. Both Flashfield and GV’s firearm, the Dart Leader, do negligible damage on their own, but are devastating when paired together. By ‘tagging’ enemies with the darts fired from his pistol, GV can use Flashfield to channel electricity into whatever has been marked. Depending on the type of firearm he is equipped with, he can stack lock-ons on individual targets for even higher damage, and tag multiple enemies to zap entire groups at once.

ASG22Stop missiles before they even connect, and fry the enemy at the same time with Flashfield.

Though extremely powerful, Flashfield does have a limited use in the form of GV’s ‘EP’ gauge. The player’s main concern in Gunvolt is effectively managing his EP, which most of his abilities require in order to use. Aside from Flashfield, EP can also be spent on double jumping (‘air hops’) and shielding GV from harm (‘Prevasion’). While it recharges on its own after a few seconds of disuse, it can also be filled on the fly by double tapping downward. It actually poses a problem if you’re trying not to get hit in the middle of a firefight, since GV must be standing on solid ground and is rooted to the spot for a moment. Manual recharging becomes vital in keeping him at his fighting best.

ASG23Gunvolt’s abilities take EP to use. Don’t get caught on a low gauge!

The penalty for not keeping an eye on the EP gauge is the Overheat status. Running out of EP takes away GV’s electrical abilities for a few seconds while the gauge slowly charges back to full, leaving him without Flashfield and limited to just a single jump, making it difficult to properly dodge or damage enemies. This also takes away Prevasion, leaving him entirely vulnerable to incoming attacks. There are also a number of things in the game that can deprive GV of his charge, too, even inflicting the Chaff status, which is Overheat with a longer window of vulnerability.

ASG24
Without mobility and Flashfield, damage can start piling up.

Throughout the game, GV does have a limited degree of customization, most of which will depend on how much time and materials you’re willing to pour into certain equipment. The lightning adept is able to equip a firearm, one pendant accessory, two ‘contacts’ (that also function as accessory equips), and a ring (a more defined accessory slot that generally boosts GV’s mobility).

ASG14Don’t stress too much. Equipment can be changed on the field, too.

Gunvolt might be a bit confusing to control at first, and most of the damage one will take early on will certainly come from mistakenly activating Flashfield on a projectile that will pierce right through it. Learning how to properly use his mobility, however, is a very pleasing feeling, and figuring out how to navigate past oncoming fire within the usually tight corridors in order to set up combo assaults is key to racking up higher scores and faster completion times.

ASG09Knowing when and where to zap enemies is key to racking up those Kudos.

To its credit, Azure Striker Gunvolt doesn’t make repeated use of stage gimmicks outside of their original appearances, so each location does have its individual feel to it. Datastore has a modest take on using GV’s Flashfield to drag magnetic obstacles and platforms to proceed, taking a casual, measured approach in its route. Utu Media Tower features launchers that propel GV in the direction they’re facing, making for a speedy gauntlet that rewards accurate jumping and dashing. Stratacombs has complete darkness, spiked floors, and enemies that crawl below your firearm’s range, serving as that one stage you can talk about with your friends who will all go ‘Oh, that stage’, only shaking their heads in empathetic consolation.

ASG25Ah. It’s gonna be one of -those- days.

In between missions, the players can visit a dealer to sell spare materials and upgrade GV’s equipment, accept and/or redeem QUILL’s bonus challenges for rewards, set up skill and equipment loadout for the next mission, and visit Joule for a rather cute little conversation between the two that sheds a little bit of light on how they have been getting along with their new arrangement. This is also where you can view a quick guide that explains a number of Gunvolt’s controls and mechanics, and save your progress.

ASG16Materials AND labor? What a sham!

Those conversations between GV and Joule aren’t just for kicks, either. Speaking with her prior to a mission increases the chances of her septima, the muse ‘Lumen’, reviving GV in the next stage. Being revived with Lumen’s Anthem might cost you a higher rank, but it empowers him with unlimited EP, double jumps, and air-dashes!

ASG27“Go, Gunvolt! Zap to the extreme!” – not an actual Lumen quote

The only pressing issue with the gameplay’s action is that, after awhile, it lacked variety, especially after a few repeat playthroughs for materials. Enemy variation is absent save for two stages, which do provide a range of mooks suited to the location. The 3DS’s tiny screen tends to make it so that there are only a maximum of three on the screen at any time- four in a particularly cluttered section. The small range of the active screen probably meant that more complex enemy formations would be problematic – too many in one spot would make aiming difficult, but having some outside the view would be unfair to either the player or the target depending on whoever shot first.

While the stages were creative in how they would be an obstacle to your progress, the enemies seem placed about the area with a mind for racking up high-scores first, and challenge second. Oftentimes, I could have sworn they were just standing in a particular spot for no other reason than to give GV something to shoot at, sometimes not even bothering to raise their weapons as he stood there for a few seconds. The placements that actually set up a good ambush for GV are far and few throughout the game, making enemies much more of a nuisance to your score multiplier than to GV himself.

ASG32The boss fights, on the other hand, will merrily destroy a reckless player.

Azure Striker Gunvolt is a game that seems to be pretty solid, with just a few quirks that hint towards a few dropped ideas. The shop has a Sell menu that divides your items by category, and strangely has a selectable option for your guns, despite them being unsellable and permanently in your inventory. QUILL makes it a point to let you know that your starting necklace is important and tied to having Prevasion enabled, but most necklaces you can get have that anyways, even if they don’t tell you so. Upgrading your equipment requires crafting two of the item, requiring double the amount of cash and materials, and then merging the two together to get a ‘+’ version, which is a simple, neat approach to upgrading, but doesn’t seem to take into account the brevity of one standard playthrough.

Barring one specific stage for grinding, or hawking off most of your material drops, the amount of cash needed to create and upgrade most of the higher accessories requires quite a number of stage runs to the point where natural skill and memorization will probably outweigh the benefit gained from the accessories themselves, which offer nice but sometimes awkwardly implemented bonuses. You’ll likely learn how to deal without a majority of the game’s accessories by the time you can even afford them, and given each accessory’s cost, the average player won’t experiment terribly much with them as cash and rare materials take some time to grind. Many of the niche accessories will probably be overlooked in favor of the much more boring but practical movement upgrade rings, for double jumping and air dashes.

ASG13Higher ranks can help with the grinding, but not much.

The EXP system falls prey to the same oversight, having an absurdly high level cap that feels unneeded in the 3DS version. Leveling up GV provides a scant 5 HP to his total health – for comparison’s sake, his lowest possible max health is 200. By the time one hits the higher levels where that bonus truly shows on the health gauge, that bonus health will probably be unneeded because the behavior of the game’s enemies is rather static, and their tricks will most likely be ineffective at that point.

Leveling up GV doesn’t even boost his EP, which would make for a useful bonus. Nor does it change how he utilizes his equipment. Fortunately, there is a saving throw for the EXP system in the form of GV’s special skills, which only unlock at certain levels. Acquiring the screen-clearing ‘Voltaic Chains’ does offer a satisfying bit of accomplishment for leveling up sufficiently, and the skill that temporarily doubles Flashfield’s power is a must-have for easy speedrun boss clears.

ASG11Not to mention, they just look and sound cool.

Azure Striker Gunvolt certainly does have its replay value, in the form of those QUILL challenges, which slowly but surely nudge you towards no-hit, speedrunning gameplay that takes a good number of tries to nail down perfectly. There’s no actual reason to start a new game, though, given that GV’s only benefit from leveling up is increased health, which is useless to experienced players in the first place. If you really wanted to get technical about it, there’s even an accessory that drops GV’s health back to the initial 200. It’s impossible to lose your original gear as well, so if you’re trying to play through the game as a stock GV for the challenge, you can simply just throw on the appropriate items.

Gunvolt did wring fifty playtime hours out of me, and I’ll admit that I come back to the game about once a year for pure ‘funsies’. But aside from score attack, Gunvolt lacks a certain something to keep you coming back outside of personal bragging rights. The PC version comes with a host of new modes that go far in extending Gunvolt’s replayability- but, alas, this is the digital 3DS version, with no set plans to receive that content in the near future. You’d have to simply be a fan of the Azure Striker to keep coming back to this version of the game at this point.

visual Visuals: 7/10
Aaaaah, visuals. Azure Striker Gunvolt is a 2D handheld game, with graphics reminiscent of a Game Boy Advance title – a pretty one at that. One main concern I had was whether or not the tiny space of the 3DS screen would get in the way of discerning enemies from scenery, but that turned out to be a non-issue, even with how much of the screen GV and his Flashfield ability take up. Only when enemy placement was absolutely claustrophobic and GV had eight tags streaming around the place did things seem cluttered, but for the most part, Gunvolt’s a pleasant sight in everything, especially in a HUD that does neatly cram everything in the 400 x 240 top screen. Health, EP, maximum and active tags, current weapon, skill charges, score, multiplier, Kudos, and enemy health are all constantly displayed in a way that makes each and every one of those easily readable at a glance, without narrowing the screen’s open space. The one exception to this, the dialog box, can be disabled in one tap of the () button to instantly bring back the bottom portion of the screen in a hectic moment. I’m almost even grateful that the bottom screen doesn’t try to share those elements, instead opting to display your equipped special skills and EXP bar, so you don’t have to constantly swap which screen you’re looking at in a fight.

ASG06Little did he know, the HUD had to dump the radar in favor of skewing the text 15 degrees.

Gunvolt features a rather animesque look to it – fitting, given that it even has its own OVA now – and I have to admit I adore Yoshitaka Hatakeyama’s character designs, particularly those of the Sumeragi adepts. The seven main adepts have that whole ‘seven sins’ theme to them, and it shows in both their normal and weaponized designs, which really stand out even from other Sumeragi personnel.

ASG19Merak, the “Slothful Conjurer”. He just wants to go home and play “World of Robocraft”.

I’d have to say my only complaint about the enemy designs falls on the normal fodder types. They don’t come with much variation, and after awhile they kind of blend in with each other. I suppose it becomes inconsequential eventually; players start see any sprite on screen as a target that hasn’t been properly zapped yet. Like I said above, though, this could have been handled better.

ASG21You will see these two. A lot.

audio Audio: 9/10
Azure Striker Gunvolt is one of those titles that has a soundtrack that deserves headphones if you’ve got them. The 3DS’s speaker does not deliver when it comes to this OST. I hadn’t thought about it much the first time I played it, until the soundtrack started popping up on YouTube, and it became very apparent the handheld’s speakers were missing out on a good bit. My favorite tracks tended to be the stages that had a lively tune to them, perfect for dashing through obstacle and enemy alike:

 

 

 

 

…though Gunvolt also had a few slower tracks for what, in all fairness, were the less ‘forward’ of stages. Gotta go with the mood, I suppose, and they do at least accomplish that.

 

 

 

Surprisingly enough, Lumen’s whole ‘idol’ characterization wasn’t just for show in the story – hitting that 1000+ Kudos mark swaps the stage’s usual music with a selection of J-pop songs by Lumen, which continues as long as you remain above that point. It’s actually a neat touch to the game, even if its utterly jarring the first time you activate it, enough to probably take damage and immediately lose it unless you’re expecting it. According to searches, Lumen’s voice actress, Megu Sakuragawa, actually is a J-pop singer herself!

 

Character audio is in subbed Japanese, more notable in the patched version which added more dialog between the hero and the cast and voiced a few scenes that I’m fairly certain weren’t so in the original English release. Given the pace of the game, you’re probably going to be skimming dialog on the fly a lot more than standing still to listen to it, so the lack of a localization on this front really doesn’t wind up detracting from it at all.

story Narrative: 5/10

ASG26

In the near-future, certain individuals known as ‘adepts’ can utilize a recently discovered power called ‘septima’, granting them powers that manifest in a variety of ways, from control of a particular element , to energy manipulation. The story’s young central protagonist, only known by his codename of ‘Gunvolt’, fights alongside QUILL, an armed resistance that counters a powerful conglomerate known as the Sumeragi Group, who captures, exploits, and experiments on adepts. During a mission to destroy a virtual idol being used by Sumeragi to locate and capture adepts, Gunvolt discovers the source of the ‘muse’ is another adept, held against her will to broadcast the idol, and cannot bring himself to go through with his objective. He leaves QUILL and frees her from Sumeragi, becoming a freelancer that takes on assignments from QUILL to support himself and the girl, Joule, who must now hide from Sumeragi’s attempts to reclaim her.

ASG04You know Sumeragi are the baddies, because they chained a 14-year-old in a room with that man’s face.

Azure Striker Gunvolt has an intriguing story of adepts and humans, and the conflicts of both sides with varying degrees of extremism that bears consequences against those caught in between. Unfortunately, much of the lore is skimmed through in the game itself, requiring the player to dabble in side materials to actually grasp many of the quirks of the setting.

Playing the original English release by itself spurred more questions than it managed to answer within the relatively short main campaign. An update patch answered quite a few of those questions by giving context to the stages, antagonists, and support characters surrounding GV, but it’s still just a ‘passable’ understanding of the story, enough to get the player from start to finish of the first game. It’s a shame, because I do have to say that, were this a review of Azure Striker Gunvolt as a whole, it is quite the burgeoning narrative and I can certainly see why it warranted those side materials, an OVA, and a sequel. There’s a lot of world-building and flourish a player just doesn’t get to see in the first game itself.

ASG15

On the localization side of Azure Striker Gunvolt, the original 3DS release suffered heavily. As I said, the game came without the original’s mid-mission chatter between GV, support characters, and the stage’s antagonist, which meant whatever story was revealed through such was cut from the game, or minutely shoved into cutscene dialog. This lack of context for the narrative was compounded by quite a bit of the setting’s lore only being properly explained in the aforementioned side materials, only some of which had an English translation.

The audio drama doesn’t seem to have an official dub or translation, though a subtitled version does exist out on the internet. A patch was eventually introduced that alleviated this, restoring those in-game conversations (albeit in subbed Japanese), at least offering us a chance to understand more of each stage and answering a few lingering questions the original English version raised. It improved the characterization of the antagonists, and changed QUILL from an absent organization that handed GV missions to an actual support team. The patch was a boon to the game’s English release, and in itself warrants a replay for a better understanding of the game’s setting. Everybody in the cast benefits from this update… save for poor Zonda, a midgame antagonist who went from being a dangerous enemy with a lustful persona, to an almost comical, definitely annoying villain.

ASG30Imagine this x30. That is no exaggeration.

The updated English release does wonders for the characterization of the cast, even with what little we have to work with through the playthrough. Gunvolt himself is a snarker to the bone, but ultimately a good-natured middle-schooler who has been forced into a decidedly mature role. Joule is quite a supportive friend who finds herself stuck between trying to eke out an existence of her own, while looking after Gunvolt in her own ways. QUILL, despite Gunvolt leaving them in the prologue, still cooperates with and enables Gunvolt and Joule to live some semblance of a normal life, providing them with fake identifications and handing over assignments to GV so he can pay the bills at the end of the month. Even the Sumeragi adepts get a minute bit of screen-time beyond just being another health bar to take down, from the comically lazy (and grossly inhumane) Merak trying to defeat Gunvolt solely for paid vacation, to the jealously enraged Viper who wants to beat down Gunvolt for taking away their muse and his personal crush.

ASG20He came up with this plan to kill Gunvolt while his MMO’s server was down. Really.

The best part of the update was seeing the connection between the QUILL members and Gunvolt himself, those few lines of dialog that invoke a sense of friendship and camaraderie. Asimov is the leader of QUILL and a founding member, who saved Gunvolt from Sumeragi previously and served almost as a father figure to him. Moniqa cares about her allies, but maintains an air of professionalism as she feeds intel to Gunvolt in an obvious emulation of Asimov’s leadership. Zeno is a laid-back joker who is most probably the smile of the group, but is just as capable on the field as the other officers.

ASG28He’s also quite the savvy Capcom and Inti fan, apparently.

Gunvolt’s story is one that might be a bit played out by now in clichés, but it’s still capable of a few twists and spins that make it satisfying enough to see to the end. Joule can easily come across as the central ‘protect me’ story token at first, yet it becomes apparent that Gunvolt needs her even more than she needs him. Sumeragi doesn’t just appear as a grossly influential and evil organization, they actually have a point or two about the dangerous nature of adepts and leaving them to their own devices. GV’s own sense of justice and the circumstances surrounding him take a direction I didn’t even see coming, in an epilogue that satisfyingly tied together all of these concerns. It’s just unfortunate that Gunvolt couldn’t emphasize its own story and lore within the boundaries of the game alone.

 Accessibility: 8/10
I’ll come right out and say it: Gunvolt’s not going to challenge you unless you challenge yourself. If you were to just go for the ‘normal’ ending, without regard to high scores or the optional challenge objectives, you could most probably beat Azure Striker Gunvolt within three hours. This game is quite forgiving on new players, with the aforementioned ‘Prevasion’ ability that just completely nullifies most forms of damage as long as GV has energy to spare and isn’t using Flashfield. EP poses a little bit of a hurdle at times, but that can be fully restored in a second with a double tap of the Down button. It’s possible to skip through entire sections of most stages without a care, dashing through enemies and projectiles, only stopping to recharge EP so you can dash through more enemies and projectiles. GV can be an invincible wraith of bishonen determination, only needing to attack obstacles and the stage bosses.

ASG29Those dark spikey areas from earlier? You can literally stroll across them with Prevasion.

Fortunately, this makes for a game that’s quite easy to start. Checkpoints are plenty, health pickups aren’t hard to locate in the stage, and bonus pickups reward additional drops at the end of the stage- if you find that you’re struggling to get high scores and low times for higher ranks (for more mission drops), these make it possible for a casual player to earn more loot and upgrade their gear. It’s a nice balance between having to excel at a stage, and being able to enjoy exploring or taking it easy.

ASG33Exploration will be required at one point or another if you want the good stuff.

Save for the true endgame (and additional challenge stages afterward), Gunvolt can be played for breezy enjoyment, and the Steam release even features an Easy Mode for those seeking a cozier experience. While GV might prove confusing to control at first, getting the hang of trading off between movement and offense on the handheld doesn’t take terribly long, and the degree of customization allowed through his equipment will certainly allow anybody to make up for whichever area they might be lacking in. Previous stages can always be replayed for more cash and materials to upgrade with, and each run only levels up GV more and more, so there’s little to keep even the most novice of players from eventually beating that one boss that’s been holding them back.

ASG31In lieu of Git Gud, you can always just jam a giant electric sword in their face.

diff Challenge: 5/10
Notably, Gunvolt’s main challenge is that which you set for yourself, and it is a quirk that becomes prominent the moment one starts aiming for high scores and those elusive S Ranks, especially if you’re taking on QUILL’s bonus challenges for the money and materials. Suddenly, what was a love tap from a mook becomes a score-ending, stage-restarting nuisance. Checkpoints go from beloved sights to untouchable traps that reset your score multiplier for using them. Special attacks must be considered thoroughly before use, as they’ll also reset the Kudos multiplier, but can be used to gain a massive amount when timed properly. A score run is quite the contrast from a first playthrough, and by no means an easy change!

ASG17Some QUILL challenges are very simple. Others will require good planning, though.

Outside of high scores, though, there are a small amount of things that will offer a traditional, proper challenge. There’s the true ending, which you will not see if you’ve gone through the game relying on Prevasion. (It forces you to play without the life-saving ability, through a segment that will be absolutely brutal if you can’t properly dodge.) Gauntlet stages are a new take on the previous ones, but with rather cruel twists. There’s also the patched-in Boss Rush, which sees Gunvolt take on every boss in the game one after the other, including one whose fight was based around a certain gimmick that, you guessed it, is not granted to Gunvolt in this stage.

There are even quite a few PC-exclusive bonus modes that tried to invoke this as well. Though I’m a 3DS player myself (which is missing this content), I’ve seen an actual Hard Mode, which drastically decreases GV’s survivability and alters a few things to be deadlier, and a strange mode that litters the stage with instant-death spikes, but gives GV infinite EP and air dashes to navigate with.

ASG34The floor is spikes. (And also lava.)

All in all, Azure Striker Gunvolt is a game that’s not entirely sure whether it wants to be a casual or difficult play, and looks to you to decide for yourself, rewarding the latter with a more proper ending, longer game time, and in my opinion, much more fun. Though if you’re looking for the former, fear not, it’s not hard to discover on your own – the instruction manual itself even pointed out being able to recharge Prevasion to remain invulnerable as long as you need.

ASG12Getting one of these for the first time is immensely satisfying.

unique Uniqueness: 6/10
Nostalgia factor. Azure Striker Gunvolt doesn’t try to hide its Mega Man roots, despite being a rather unique and separate entity from the Blue Bomber. Being an Inti Creates game, of course there’s going to be a little bit of love for their origins tossed into the game, and it is an addition that’s subtle but fun.

There’s the Lethal Lavaliere accessory, which boosts score but makes all spikes in the game fatal to Gunvolt. There’s the Dullahan gun rewarded for a true clear, which does away with the ability to tag enemies, but fires extremely powerful bullets instead- pretty much the Mega Buster, when you look at it. There’s the certainly iconic semifinal stage boss rush lobbed at Gunvolt with very little rest in between. Gunvolt will even comment briefly in a certain conversation with Joule how a movie (coincidentally a reference to Mighty No. 9) reminds him of a blue gunner he was fan of himself. Two other Capcom and Inti games pop up in (lawyer-friendly) mentions, too.

ASG35Dullahan doesn’t tag, but kills most enemies in about three rapid-fire shots.

Gunvolt’s departure from Mega Man norms is part of the charm, though. You’re free to pick which of the six adepts you want to take on, but none of them bestow attacks or powers on Gunvolt when defeated, leaving you with total freedom to pick the stage order without having to worry about weapon weaknesses. Gunvolt’s main gimmick doesn’t boil down to peppering the enemy with pellets – his firearm is definitely not the Mega Buster, and most of Gunvolt’s destructive ability lies in himself instead, putting an interesting spin on the effectiveness of firearms in a 2D action game. Gunvolt doesn’t gain upgrades from hidden capsules strewn along the stages- he must gain them on his own with a modest crafting mechanic in the game that forces the player to prioritize what will assist their play-style the most with the limited amount of funds and materials GV will have, grinding notwithstanding. Unfortunately, in trying to ditch Mega Man conventions, Gunvolt wound up strolling right into ‘unnecessarily drawn out crafting system’ territory.

ASG18Honestly not a bad trade-off for not having to memorize what order to greet these guys in.

pgrade Personal Grade: 8/10
Azure Striker Gunvolt tried to be something different, and it didn’t fail. It could have used a little bit of polish and expansion in my opinion- perhaps something to be found in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2? It is a fun little action-platformer that is most certainly a good successor to Mega Man in its own right, without leaning too much on its roots – I daresay even better at both than its ‘mightier’ twin. Gunvolt itself came and went without much buzz, and it had a lukewarm reception, but is still a worthwhile play. A modest game for a modest price that possibly could have been a little more, but didn’t pretend to be more than it was, either.

azurestrikergunvoltlogo.jpg

Aggregated Score: 6.9

 

The Dapper Zaffre Mage is a beleaguered purveyor of positive vibes and merry thoughts, who was once described as a cinnamon roll for reasons beyond his ken. Occasional exasperated ramblings and odder oddities can be found over at his Twitter.

 

Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Wa/rrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to entertainment journalism. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a podcast and webzine with paid contributors! See our Patreon page for more info!becomeapatronbannerbuybutton

 

7 thoughts on “Azure Striker Gunvolt (2014)

  1. I do agree, the challenge of Gunvolt is kind of unsure of what it wants to be. What I didn’t like is the true ending is hidden and most may not know of it’s existence unless they do some google searches by chance. You’re right, if you go through without trying to achieve the true ending, it can be a dull experience. But I had a blast doing the extra stuff in the true ending. The boss fight was epic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done on your debut post, DZ! You have an interesting and enthusiastic voice in your writing, and I’m glad we snagged you aboard our team! It was nice to read such a well-rounded take on a game I hadn’t the slightest inkling of, and you answered all the questions I had about the game. Have you played Mighty No.9? That’s the big controversial one, right? Any take on it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for having me, Well-Red~! I’m happy to be aboard.

      I actually have touched a little bit on Mighty No. 9. Not enough to give a great take on it; a friend had just decided to pass the time with it and let me sit at the controls for a bit.

      I had gone through about two stages of it, and, I will admit, there was at least some good amount of work put into it. From what I saw, it could have used a little bit of polish, and definitely some playtesting, to fix a few quirks and oversights. In an odd way, it almost parallels Gunvolt in that some things are missing in its original release, but could be a salvageable good game if the developers put in some post-launch overtime to patch the problematic areas. I do believe a rushed development caused most of these problems, especially under pressure from the Kickstarter angle.

      I guess we’ll just have to see where it goes from here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never got around to the Gunvolt stuff, but I do love me some Mega Man. I saw Gunvolt Burst on Switch, so maybe I’ll give that one a shot now that your review of the original has piqued my interest.

    Good stuff and a great read.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We’re a lot alike, CBA. I love Mega Man but avoided this spin off stuff after the No.9 debacle. I was very interested in the Gunvolt on the Switch though. Maybe we’ll see who gets to it first!

      Like

    • Gunvolt Burst looked pretty good. It seemed like they took the concept of Mighty Gunvolt and decided to expand on it even more- and Mighty Gunvolt was pretty fun in its own right, so I was looking forward to Burst the moment I heard about it~.

      Liked by 1 person

Kindly leave a civil and decent comment like a good human being

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s