After enjoying a fourteen year dirt nap following the events of Gungrave: Overdose, Beyond the Grave, or Grave for short, will once again have his reprieve from life interrupted thanks to Mika Asagi. That’s the problem with coming back from the dead, you do it once or twice and people start expecting it from you all the time. Grave played a major role in the war against the nefarious drug SEED (no relation to XSEED, at least that’s the story their PR and legal team is sticking to), and after his last adventure above the grave, Mika searched all over the world, trying to eliminate all traces of it until she eventually found the source of where it is being manufactured.
Mika is able to trace SEED to South City where the drug has transformed users into a new group of monsters called Orgmen, turning South City into a war zone. This problem is too severe for the living to solve on their own so once again it’s time to summon Grave to the rescue. Clad in his signature black attire and wielding his set of dual guns he calls Cerberus with his trusty coffin shield, Grave is back from the dead to send a new batch of Orgmen back from whence he came. There is no amount of coffee in the world to refresh someone after waking up from fourteen years of breathless sleep and the Orgmen are going to face the full wrath of Grave’s crankiness in Gungrave VR.
Gungrave VR is return to traditional Gungrave form except now it’s in fully immersive VR. The player will step into reanimated corpse of Brandon Heat to stop the flow of SEED once and for all (unless they decide to make a sequel) so that he may return to his velvet lined bed. Players will control Grave from both third person and first person perspectives, depending on the level. Third person levels will have Grave moving through an environment, taking out mobile monsters before finally facing off against a terrifying boss battle. Stationary first person levels give things an arcade rail shooter, as Grave will fight wave after wave of enemies. In both types of levels, Grave will have special Demolition barrages, his trusty Matrix-esque Bullet Time and his coffin for when he just has to smack someone.
After spending some hands on time with Gungrave VR, this is a a great concept to move to VR. The controls are intuitive, move your head around to change where Grave is looking, aim where you aim and fire away. When it comes to the best control for first person shooters about keyboard and mouse versus controller, but this clearly shows that head and trigger is the quickest and most accurate way to hit the target. The demo session lasted about a half hour, where both a third person and first person level was played. Both formats were easy to move around and shoot, and using the coffin to smack something never got old. Being as this is a true Gungrave experience, nothing here really broke the mold and was repetitive action but it was fun repetitive action. This style of game lends itself well to the VR platform.
Gungrave VR shows the return of character designer Yasuhiro Nightow (of Trigun fame) and the original Gungrave designers at Red Entertainment served as advisers in upgraded Grave and Mika’s designs because, well, no one wants to wear the same style they did fourteen years ago. Gungrave VR is voiced in English and Japanese and has text options for English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. The difficulty level selection is less varied than the language options but with three difficulty levels of normal, hard and kick ass there is an appropriate challenge level for everyone. Gungrave VR slated for a fall release for PlayStation VR and Windows PC.