Preview: Gungrave VR – Arcade FPS Action That Doesn’t Benefit VR
The virtues of VR are wasted in Gungrave VR.
While standard videogame ideas do work in the virtual reality (VR) realm, most developers and players realise that a title made specifically for VR utilises the techs unique features. Titles like Rez Infinite for example work just as well – if not better – in VR than on a standard flat screen, while others like upcoming experience Gungrave VR offer little in the way of uniqueness or novel VR implementation.
Gungrave VR saw its first western showcase earlier this month on the XSEED Games stand during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018. Developer IGGYMOB announced the title last year, reviving the franchise by continuing the storyline from the 2004 sequel Gungrave: Overdose whilst optimizing the VR version from the original 2002 title.
If you’ve not heard of Gungrave before the videogames are very much in the on-rails, bullet hell style of gameplay where players have to destroy waves of deadly enemies with a few boss fights thrown in for good measure. For the E3 demo there were two sections on offer, one showcasing a first-person section while the other was in third-person.
Diving straight into the FPS portion of Gungrave VR there were no major surprises instore. With bold flashy visuals that popped up with score combos and words like ‘Great’ it’s all about killing all the enemies as quickly as possible using a pair of dual wield pistols that don’t require ammo, they just overheat so they needed venting every so often.
Like many of these titles success is a mixture of being reasonably fast but more importantly learning each opponents’ pattern, with some flying around at distance while others dive straight at you. While a reasonably entertaining blast this first-person section doesn’t exceptionally shine as a good use of VR as most of the time is spent looking at one small area where most of the enemies spawn from.
The first-person section may have been underwhelming but the next area helped to improve the overall experience with far more dynamic gameplay. Now able to see the character Gungrave VR adds a camera control option giving greater dexterity over where you can look – useful when playing on PlayStation VR. Obviously gameplay stayed the same with waves of enemies to blast through using those powerful guns, or when charged a devastating superweapon best saved for the boss.
Each section has been design to be short and intense, roughly taking around 10 minutes each. With that in mind Gungrave VR will likely feature plenty of set piece action, here’s hoping that IGGYMOB will venture more towards the third-person levels than first-person.
The latter does tend to be seen as the easier fit for VR, putting players inside the character for a more immersive experience. As videogames like Moss highlight, that’s not always the case with Gungrave VR’s third-person action much more enjoyable – if a little less frantic – than its counterpart, which feels like a downgraded Robo Recall. There will always be a market for this kind of gun filled action, whether VR enthusiasts have already had enough of wave-based shooters is another issue entirely.