17/12/2018

๐Ÿ”ซ Review: GunGrave Coffin Edition - PSVR ๐Ÿ”ซ #PSVR

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GunGrave Coffin Edition PSVR
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GunGrave VR Coffin Edition is a set of two games or episodes, GunGrave VR and GunGrave U.N. VR.
GunGrave is a PS2/Xbox/Anime classic brought up to date in 2018's VR and it's a solid PSVR gaming experience, but unfortunately it isn't perfect. 

I've tried the coffin edition which is two good episode/games, both with a few surprises, but also they come with some limited controls and game options.
The GunGrave and GunGrave U.N. story is a one of Guns, drugs, super soldiers and ass kicking! You are Grave, a futuristic bounty hunter who is the greatest regulator, sent in to hunt and destroy the drug called Seed that's crippling society and the crime bosses who are supplying it.
The story is a simple one and it does the job nicely enough to give the gameplay meaning and purpose. Not at anytime did I feel I was regulating drug dealers, more just shooting futuristic baddies that have upset me for some reason.
But the story works while it isn't pivotal to the gameplay.

Out of the two games you get in the Coffin Edition, I felt GunGrave U.N. VR wasn't as much fun as GunGrave VR, maybe it's because I played U.N. second but I just had a better gaming experience playing GunGrave VR. Both you can only use the dual shock 4 but I can't see how adding use of Aim or Move controllers would improve anything.

GunGrave VR is the first in the two episodes and like U.N. it's a mix of third person shooting as well as some first person on-rails gun action. 
The third person stages were a good gaming experience, you shoot your way through waves of enemies until your reach the stage boss. It seems to be the standard for every level you play in both games, but it's just good old shooting fun. The FPS stages also were fun and worked really well in VR and in GunGrave U.N. there are side scroller levels which are quite limiting but it eliminates the camera control issue I was having with the first game. 
One end boss level you're on a run away train and another you're flying about on a hover bike and it was a lot of fun and a nice switch up from the third person fighting. You aim where you look so aiming was easy.
The gameplay feels retro but in a good way. If you are a fan of the 2000's shoot'em ups this Coffin Edition is right up your street.
You have some limited moves that consist of spin attack, shoot or special attack and you can use these to their full as you have a Max Payne type bullet time control.

The ability to slow time has made the moves on offer much more effective but for most of the game I was just shooting and using bullet time as it was difficult having the right angle to use a special move. The game ranks your attacks and gives you points and awards depending on the hits, attacks, deflections you do etc. The way the ranking in the fighting is given it reminded me of the old Sega arcade fighter games. Seeing these bold S-D rank awards keep flashing up gave the game an arcade feel which suited GunGrave anime style nicely. 

The cannon fodder enemy designs are unique and some were really great looking. They all felt like just hurdles to jump over to get to the boss but they did their jobs well enough and kicking their asses was fun.
The end bosses are all quite varied in looks and attacks. None really felt as much of a challenge but all of them were fun and at the end of the game I did have a small sense of achievement beating them.

The stages are quite small, only a few open spaces make up one whole stage and the environments do look nice but are very static places and it's in the environment where you can see that you're playing an older game. There are only 6 stages in GunGrave VR and the same in GunGrave U.N. but they are varied enough for the games to feel like it was a journey, instead of just a visit experiencing this GunGrave world in VR.
The textures aren't that great and I was playing on a PS4pro and yet it still had noticeable antialiasing on what to me looked simple environments. 
Same with the sounds of the game. It really didn't add anything as the sound was a bit loud in places and again the sound and music made the game really feel it was an early 2000's era game. The voice acting as well was ok but nothing outstanding, it did just enough so I wasn't lost but there are no cut scenes or story driven parts to the gameplay.
The characters on the other hand were beautiful and really looked great. Some of the bosses were really well rendered and Grave looked so crisp and detailed. I did try to have a close look at these characters but unfortunately it leads me on to my biggest gripe about this game, the lack of options!

It became very frustrating the fact you have no options for camera or buttons/controls and what is on offer really made some of the boss fights ten times harder than they needed to be. You only have click turning and you can't adjust the speed or movement of the camera. The click turning is far too slow for such an action packed fighting game and for a lot of the time I'm running away from the fight trying to get my camera in the right place instead of kicking the ass the game is asking me too. I'm not sure who thought of having limited turning on the camera in a vr fighting shooter but it's made the game unnecessarily difficult.
Also the camera is linked to the special moves so in order for you to target your move you must have the camera behind you so unless you're facing Grave you're special move won't hit where you're aiming which made the special move again difficult to use because of the camera.
In the start menu you have no control options so you can't remap any keys, can't change camera options or personalise the controls.
On the start screen you can only access training, which is ok. You get to go over the basics and that's it.

You can access your character  as well in the start screen and get to use different skins/characters are given to you in-game. For example get a perfect S rank round and a different skin is unlocked for use.
When you start the story you get access to stage select and you can see a wire frame model of that stages end boss. You can easily replay stages and improve your ranks.

The GunGrave VR game took me a couple of hours to complete and GunGrave U.N. was a little quicker but U.N. had side scrolling stages which removes the limited camera controls from being an issue and in both GunGrave games a lot of my deaths were as a result of messing about with the camera, so I found GunGrave U.N. to be an easier gaming experience but just not as fun as the first.
Overall I enjoyed GunGrave Coffin Edition. I did feel like it was a game(s) worth playing but what you get for your money is lacking.

The game itself is fun and enjoyable but I won't say it's an essential game to play on psvr. It's short, only consisting of 6 stages per game, though being varied the games were quite limited. The design of the play areas feel limited with each stage feeling like a holding pen for the action rather than a level to explore and due to needing a fair amount of time to get the camera right way around I found the stages too small, and at the end of both games I felt like it just wasn't enough there for the cost and I felt like both games were missing the final course in a 3 course gaming meal.


Summary
I did enjoy GunGrave, this is my first time experiencing the series and if a new episode of GunGrave VR came out I'd get it......but in a sale.
This is definitely a recommendation to try GunGrave VR and GunGrave U.N., either singly or together in the Coffin Edition, but that recommendation would be to get it in a sale or ask Santa for it if you've been good that is.

Gun Grave Coffin Edition: Melting.

Reviewed by Simon Budd.