Thursday, August 21, 2014

Azure Striker: GUNVOLT first impressions.

Azure Striker: GUNVOLT is a game on the 3DS eShop that comes out on Friday, August 29th.
I have to say, first impressions were good. Good music, good game, decent controls.
You play as Gunvolt, the Azure Striker. He's a blonde dude with a ponytail that goes down past his waist, and as his name suggests, he fights with electricity.

The sprites look absolutely stunning. So do the backgrounds. Visually it's a treat to behold.
Unfortunately, something I noticed is that bits on the HUD tend to overlap with other pieces of it. Gunvolt has an energy meter below him, and it is sometimes obscured by the forefront of the heads-up display. Not exactly game-breaking, but it's a little annoying.
The controls are a little less good. They're competent enough I suppose, but I don't appreciate only being able to shoot in two directions.
Years of Contra and Castlevania have trained me to want to shoot diagonally or upwards when there's an enemy in that direction. I hope it's not something really simple, because that would be pretty embarrassing.
And so onto the soundtrack. My god they did a great job on the soundtrack. It's like The World Ends With You almost.
I haven't heard a lot from the soundtrack so far, but what I've heard so far is great.
After dying once, a piece of awesome music starts up (More awesome than what's in the rest of the soundtrack) and Gunvolt gets a Super Saiyan aura around him. And he kicks tons of butt.

There are a few weird issues with the voice-acting, in that sometimes clips seem interjected at random.
All of the voice acting seems to be in Japanese, but to be honest that's actually kinda cool. It gives the game a certain mystical flair that a lot of games these days lack.

So all in all, aside from hand-cramps from the way I had to hold the 3DS, I had a lot of fun with Gunvolt in my hour or so spent with the game.

With the purchase of Azure Striker: GUNVOLT you can also get a free demake version of the game (Available between August 29th and November 28th), known as Mighty GUNVOLT. It features Gunvolt, Beck from Mighty No. 9 and the angel, Ekoro.
Ekoro is from a game that we never got in America. A rail-shooter called Gal*Gun.
Mighty Gunvolt is an NES styled demake of Azure Striker: GUNVOLT. A rare case that you see an official demake.
It marks the first appearance of Beck, the hero of Mighty No. 9 in any game, and Ekoro in an American release.
Maybe if there's enough positive response to this game Gal*Gun will get released here.
Anyways, it's a lot like Megaman in almost every way. The graphics, the gameplay, the difficulty......
The music is a pretty cool set of chiptune remixes of the soundtrack from Gunvolt.
At first, I thought that the enemies and stages were a little too nerfed compared to the ones in Azure Striker. Then I reached the first boss and found out that the difficulty had been seriously cranked up. I thought the first boss I got to in Gunvolt was hard...
Personally I think it went a little too far in the NES styling. First off, there aren't any 3D features. Second is that it uses the NES aspect ratio as opposed to the widescreen aspect ratio of the 3DS.
And third, it uses a lives system, which has always annoyed me. Plus, there's no options menu or save feature. It's got a lot of the good things about classic NES games, but it's also got a lot of the things I dislike about NES games.
The weird thing is, that if I was really good at Mega Man or Mighty Gunvolt I could probably beat it fairly quickly. It's only five stages, and I personally think that it's worth the price of free, but I wouldn't buy it myself.
NES style games have been taking a resurgence these days, but a lot of them are ignoring a lot of the good things we've gotten out of these almost forty years of gaming innovation.
Not taking advantage of the 3DS widescreen is a little bit annoying. Not having save features is also annoying because we've had them since the original Zelda and a game in this day and age not having any kind of save feature is bizarre.
I'm the kind of guy who likes to see the older things improved with better technology. That's part of why I like a lot of remakes. They usually polish the problems with the game while improving what we liked about the original.
So after having rambled on about the things I didn't like, I do have to say that if they would add in some modern save features and remove the lives system it would be a lot more tolerable to me.
Anyways, Beck seems a little overpowered. Gunvolt is pretty cool to play as, but Ekoro has her own stage.
Beck can slide under low ceilings, Gunvolt puts out an energy line you can control with the D-pad or Joystick, and Ekoro can make a defeated enemy join you and back you up with extra firepower, as well as fly short distances.
The boss for the stage Ekoro goes through is a tentacle monster that's held a girl captive.
And it sends out octopi to rub up against her cage suggestively.
Anyways, I'll see you on the 28th with my full Azure Striker: GUNVOLT review!
If I feel like being punished some more I might decide to go up against Mighty Gunvolt again.
Azure Striker: GUNVOLT will be priced at $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop, and will be bundled with Mighty GUNVOLT.