Back in 2002, GUNGRAVE was released on the PlayStation 2 that some found to be an underrated gem of sorts. Returning back to Earth to rid those of evil with attacks, destructible environments, a gun in each hand, and a coffin that had some surprises on your back. But does Publisher XSEED Games and Developer IGGYMOB allow the dormant state of a series to be reborn? Let’s find out with GUNGRAVE VR for the PlayStation VR.
GUNGRAVE VR has you fighting and eliminating anything in your path to stop the spreading of the drug called SEED that is spreading throughout South City and hopefully stop this once and for all. Now that you have your mission, it is important that you don’t rush into battle without at least honing your skill of awesomeness. You see that’s what they want you to do…they as in the infected from women to beasts want you to be unprepared. But that’s not you Grave…no…you are a true fighter. You will need to be able to learn how to move and shoot and dodge and roll your way to success.
In GUNGRAVE VR you are playing in part 3rd person and part 1st person views. When in 3rd person you shoot by pressing R2 and are able to dodge and roll to avoid enemies, use melee attack by pressing the O button, but also have the REAPER mode by pressing L2 that will slow down time. You look by aiming with your head, which I found to work really well here and just works. The turning is done by click turning, which I get as some may be prone to motion sickness (which I never felt at all while playing), but would love to have the option for smooth turning. There are times because of the click turning that I found myself pinned in a way against enemies at certain times that could have benefited from the smooth turning.
Of course, with any level that you make it to the end, you will have a boss to fight. Each one is going to be stronger than the last with different attacks and different defenses to try and conquer. If you don’t happen to survive, you could just retry from the beginning or just continue to where you are at the beginning of the boss battle. This comes in handy when compared to going against a boss with less than half of your health. It doesn’t make it easier, but helpful.
Playing in the first-person view there are times where you could have both of your arms or a view where you are on a vehicle. When you have the view of both of your arms, they are not controlled independently, but more in unison. I think this is where having the option to use the Move controllers might come in handy. This way you could fire at both sides when the enemies are coming at you. Does this make it unplayable? No, but it just means you have to keep moving your head and firing at the same time. Speaking of firing, your guns will overheat which means they will need to be cooled down by pressing L1 which can take a little more strategy in your attacks.
One thing I really like is when you have enough beats, you can pull up the Demolition Shot where you throw your coffin up and it pulls you into this first-person view where you are shooting your gun. I don’t know what it is about it, but to me, I had fun being able to shoot the enemies that way. Another thing I like is the view from a vehicle that seems to give GUNGRAVE VR more of that arcade action that I really enjoy.
Soundwise the gunfire and explosions can be loud and when you have that in Virtual Reality and having them around you really helps. Music starts to pick up with the action and at times I felt like I was in a Power Rangers episode fighting putties before I morphed that I enjoyed. Graphics on some levels looked really sharp and seem to pop while others seemed darker when it needed to. This isn’t a bad thing, It just varies deepening on the level of where you are.
There are some things that I would love to be added. There were times that I could see having online co-op would be a blast especially when you have click turns and having to cool down your weapons. I would love to the options to add smooth turning, which I am sure could be added with a patch. I would love to see the ability to add more controls. The DualShock 4 works great, but there are times when the Move controls would come in handy or even add support for the Aim Controller. At the times when the first person levels show both of your arms that are still firing separately, but the arms seem to flow together, being able to use the Aim controller would be great here. But then you run into adding the movement in 3rd person, which could be done, but that would take some extra work. And finally, I would love to see only multiplayer so there could be a battle to have the last one standing. Yes, that might go against all of GUNGRAVE, but it still might be pretty fun.
Everything may not be for everyone, but anytime you can go into Virtual Reality and do something, become anyone, and visit another place it can be special if you have an open mind and just allow yourself to have fun. I love it when gaming from the past can somehow be brought into the world of Virtual Reality as it can be an arcade experience to a series that some have enjoyed and add into this space where you are the center of and the action is all around you. Just remember that not everyone is going to enjoy the same things, but I think there is one thing we can all agree on is that Virtual Reality is amazing and that you should never give up on your ideas that are part of your dreams.
GUNGRAVE VR is out now. A review copy was provided. To learn more about the game, please visit the site. To learn more about XSEED Games, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. To learn more about IGGYMOB, please visit their site.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to rid more of South City of evil.