Copen is here to take the spotlight, and he brought a fancy dash with him.
When it comes to previous Gunvolt outings, I was intrigued but played them in passing. I enjoyed them for what they were, but as a whole, it never went further than skin deep. Inti Creates makes various action games, and I have always genuinely been more a fan of their Blaster Master work. The wonderful thing about Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is that it goes for mechanics that are instantly lovable. The action has never been flashier, and the general flow of the game has never been stronger.
First things first, though. With Gunvolt 2, I generally liked the character of Copen, and he happens to be the main focus here. He is a rather mysterious figure who doesn’t make his motives very clear. In the technologically-advanced world of the game, all humans are required to get special powers. Everyone who disagrees is executed. Copen objects to this reality and tries to take down whoever is willing to harm the common citizens. Inti Creates was very keen on not sharing too many details, but we are sure to learn more as the months pass.
The demo at BitSummit 2019 consisted of two levels. One had a city background, while the other sunk you down to the sewers/labs. The levels were about ten minutes long each, with a constant flow of non-stop action. It was important here to keep going as a large chunk of your time would be spent fighting a boss. These are multi-layered encounters that throw constant curveballs during every step of the process. The Sumeragi henchmen are no joke, so some misplaced moves could lead to a bad end for you.
Gunvolt Chronicles’ main hook is a lock-on attack. By dashing into an enemy and then using your gun or special powers, Copen will directly attack that specific foe. It is a look of beauty to swipe past a machine and then throw an energy-sucking ball at it. There is a certain flow to combat that I really adore, and I felt more in control than ever before. Obviously, you can handle enemies with your simple shooting mechanic and chip away at them, but I used basic attacks in combination with the much cooler stuff.
One of the bosses really took a lot out of me. With his scissor hands and giant orange wings, he could generally defend by using a constant flow of shields. You really had to time your attacks, and shoot where needed. In the cases where he would be fully defenceless, the boss would hide in a corner and make it rough to difficult to strike back at him. There were seven seconds left on the in-game timer when I beat him, and it felt amazing.
But even outside of attacking, Copen controls like a beast. His directional air movement can make some impressive runs happen. In addition, it allows you to jump off walls and mark enemies to get those crucial hits in. There is also an instant dodge mechanic, which will take a portion off your Bullit gauge, and hovering so that you can more easily make your next move.
The new idol character, who follows you around for extra special moves, is genuinely fun as well. Lola, as she is called here, could do a fun screen clearing move in the demo. Next to this, if you destroy enough enemies, you will go into Overdrive Mode. This will restore health, increase attack power and just looks flashy. If you aren’t as strong a player, not to worry. When your HP hits zero, Gunvolt Chronicles will activate an Anthem mode. Lola will give Copen access to all of his abilities and unlimited bullets.
As you might expect from an Inti Creates game, the pixel art looks excellent. The character models in particular seemed sharp and gave a clear indication of how you are facing. The music, in particular Lola’s idol mode, was pretty great. It certainly put me in the right mode, ready to kick some Someragi behinds.
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX’s first impression was a strong one. From top to bottom, the general feeling of the game was just really good. It is clear that the developers looked at what worked, improved on it, and tried to make you feel more awesome in the process. Obviously, we will have to see how the game develops, considering you will get new moves throughout the actual adventure. However, with the time I spent with it at BitSummit, the title is in a very good place. I can’t wait to see this through in September 2019.