Gungrave is an anime series based on the first Gungrave video game. In a case of mutual growth, there is now a second Gungrave video game to help you enter the Gungrave world even further.
The main character - Grave - is in essence a zombie. His best friend, Harry, killed him. Grave is brought back to life to defeat crime. Armed with heavy weapons, Grave goes blasting his way through the game with a quest for revenge and only slight emotion.
The game begins in a clunky manner. "Mika", a 17 year old girl, interrupts you ever 5 seconds as you fight your way out of a building. She's telling you how to use your various skills. Yes, every game needs its training mode, but this one is rather annoying.
The storyline is well done, with a lot of anime interactions to watch. It's like getting a free movie along with your game purchase. It gives welcome breaks between the actual gameplay. Gameplay involves one thing - blasting with unlimited ammo. Anything that moves, you blast. Even things that don't move, you blast. You can tear away concrete pillar supports and many other in-game objects.
This isn't a game of great soundtracks. Even the times that there are music, your incessant blasting drowns out the sound. Your immersion is full and complete in the stream of bullets.
I feel torn about the graphics. On one hand, the environment is interactive. You blow away plants on the side of the hall. You leave bullet marks in the walls. Lights cast shadows, and the coffin you carry has good detail levels. You can break through walls.
On the other hand, though, the game's graphics aren't up to modern day standards. The wall textures are obviously textures and very repetitive. The characters' movements are klunky. The palate of colors used is very simple. I'm all for dark, moody anime. That's my favorite style. But the game has very bright whites and very dark shadows. It makes the game look "washed out" rather than film noir.
I also had to laugh at some scenes which seem taken right out of the gameplay of other recent games. The challenge was almost exactly the same.
Another issue I had mixed feelings about was the difficulty level. This game was deliberately made to be "mature" - i.e. only people 17 or older could play it because of the gore. However, Gungrave is an anime series that many teens (and younger) love. They're really going to want this game. Why deliberately add gore so that parents will not want to buy it for them? You could easily have had the blast-em-up repetitive fun without the mature-earning gore level. The game is certainly set up well for younger gamers. The tasks are 1) blast everything in sight and 2) follow the obvious yellow marker to the level end. There are no puzzles or real challenges - it's a relaxing blast-fest to blow a few hours in mindless fun. This is normally the perfect game for many teens while they have an hour free before dinner. With the gameplay being perfect for non-adults, and the topic being perfect for non-adults, to make the gameplay mature for blood reasons seems to be unwise.
That all being said, Gungrave fans will love the game, and anyone who enjoys the kill-a-few-hours-blasting type of game will enjoy it as well. It's like tetris - you don't need to invest hours learning button sequences or complex RPG character building. You can sit down at any time, move along in the storyline, enjoy the anime and relax with the blasting. And best of all, you can usually find it for under $20!