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Hands-On With Gungrave VR at E3

At this year’s E3, XSEED Games and MArvelous brought out quite the portfolio of ambitious games. Among them, was Gungrave VR. In 2002, Red Entertainment and SEGA released an action game that would go on to become a cult-classic, Gungrave. Featuring characters designs by Yasuhiro Nightow, who was instrumental in the designs featured in Trigun, the game was praised for its incredible presentation and over-the-top action. The game was followed by a sequel, Gungrave: Overdose in 2004 and hasn’t received another installment until now. Gungrave VR is a new take on the classic action, using VR to heighten the senses. Gungrave VR is also serving as a prequel to Gungrave G.O.R.E, arriving sometime later for the PlayStation 4.

I had a moment to try Gungrave VR for myself and wound up having a great time, albeit short. While the game was a third-person shooter, using my head allowed the main character to line-up his sights on the target I was looking at. The main character, whose name is Gungrave, had two handguns, a sword, and a special attack. Using the regular PS4 controller, I could move the left stick to move around and my actual head was the camera.

    I was plunged into a world filled with enemies. I had no context of who I was fighting or why, only that they were ready to kill me first. Gungrave VR takes place in the 3rd-person view, but uses VR to immerse players in the action, and encourage the movement of the head for aiming. Right away, the game was filled with bullets, explosions, and all sorts of gunfire. The main protagonist wielded two, giant handguns that felt satisfying to wield, as well as a blade for close-range combat. Right away, I was having a good time, and the demo had only just begun.

The game was all about action and the action was great! Soldiers, mechs, and turrets all came at me. It was fascinating to see Gungrave practice the arts of gun-fu with his dual-pistols, stretching and aiming his weapons in a deadly fashion. Some enemies came in close, which was perfect for a devastating sword attack, as well as a special move that harness the power of darkness to obliterate the enemy. I was able to slay a variety of foes, including mechanized mechanical ones. The VR helped in the action immersion and was quite a unique mechanic in gameplay. Seeing the gameplay around you, instead of just in front of you, was spectacular and the sound effects put you right into an action-filled anime. Also, I did not have to use my whole body, but just to sit down and enjoy the action. Towards the end of the demo, a massive boss took center stage, dishing out artillery fire. It was a tank-like robot with immense firepower.  As hard as I tried, I was unable to put the enemy down. Seeing the Game Over screen, my demo concluded.

 While brief, my time with Gungrave VR was great! As an avid player of VR, its a great platform for immersive action and tight gameplay. While this was an early build, Gungrave VR looks great, running at a smooth 60FPS and feeling very responsive.  While not too much was revealed during the demo, the game teases an absolutely spectacular action experience and VR adventure. Gungrave VR is slated for release on the PS VR in Fall of 2018.

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