A few days ago, we announced all the games that Sega would be showing off at this year's E3. One of those was Gungrave, which Red Company is currently developing. In a nutshell, Gungrave is looking spectacular so far.
Gungrave will be released shortly in Japan; however, the visuals don't seem to be on the same pace with other elements in the game. It's not that they're bad, they just don't seem to be utilizing enough of the PS2's power (or so it comes off in the screen grabs that Sega has made public), and that's why the result thus far isn't all that impressive. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, though, maybe they'll polish things up a bit before a US version is released.
To hell with strategic and stealth elements, says Red Company. Gungrave is filled to the brim with action -- shooting, killing, running, shooting, and more killing. While this approach isn't always the most successful one, if it's pulled off correctly, the rewards are endless -- think of Devil May Cry for example.
The controls have been mapped out in a traditional fashion for a third-person action title. The left analog stick controls your players movements, and there's also a lock-on feature which makes aiming much easier; it's initiated at the push of a button. Other than that, you can also expect the extra maneuvers and moves such as rolling, flipping, and the such.
Maybe taking a few pointers from Capcom's milestone, DMC, the team at Red Company has implemented tons of new stylish animations. Pulled off with finesse and agility, these moves not only get the job done, but look damn good in the process. Such a simple task as shooting a gun is overly complicated with jumps, flips, and other eye-candies; and this addition is nice to see because it brings more liveliness to the action.
Making these awe-inspiring animations even more useful is Beyond the Grave's weaponry arsenal. Beyond the Grave's basic weapon is an immense sword as well as a gun that certainly packs a punch (OK, now this game REALLY sounds like DMC). There's a green bar at the bottom of the screen that represents your life, and it will slowly replenish when the action has ceased.
Sega definitely has something on their hands that sounds quite intriguing. With what we've seen so far, and what we hear for the future, we'll make sure to keep an eye on this title. Look for Gungrave later this year and loads more at E3; we're hoping to get a release date as well.
5/3/2002 Joseph Comunale