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Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 (3DS) Review

by Zachary Miller - September 29, 2016, 7:00 am EDT
Total comments: 2


...Electric Boogaloo

Were you, like me, a lukewarm recipient of Inti Create’s 2014 Azure Striker Gunvolt? I recognized the game’s appeal, the deliberate combat and Mega Man-like level progression. I appreciated the various environmental hazards that I had to work around. I liked the clever change-ups to standard combat that new weapons brought to the table. But I didn’t like the terrible story, the character dialogue that actually played while you were going through a level, or the Synthesis system that encouraged players to replay levels ad nauseum. I didn’t like the boss fights, which relied way too hard on “stand in this one specific spot or else get hit with massive damage.” When Inti Creates announced a sequel was on the way, I felt secure with the theory that they would read the criticism and respond with a better game.

They did—sort of.

Azure Striker Gunvolt 2: Lost in New York has two halves. In one half, you play as Gunvolt, who goes through what feels like the exact same story scenario as the first game (except bosses power up with books instead of swords) and continues to engage in deliberate, strategic combat. Virtually nothing has changed, even his available skills (Luxcalibur still reigns supreme). He fights largely the same enemies. In the other half, you play as Copen, a side character from the first game who’s out to blindly kill all superpowered Adepts, GV included, even though their goals are essentially the same. Playing as Copen is a soothing, action-oriented balm to the measured gameplay of GV.

While GV’s mechanic is shooting things and then activating an electric Flashfield to zap those things, but otherwise avoiding direct combat, Copen is the opposite. He “marks” enemies by dashing into them, then wailing on the Y button to fire missiles at them. This dash move is Copen’s signature, and it lets you bounce around environments with far more freedom than GV. Copen can only dash three times before recharging (like GV, by double-tapping down on the D-pad). However, ricocheting off a wall or marking an enemy recharges the dash automatically, so the game encourages players to go nuts with Copen.

Copen also has a Flashfield-like cloud of drones who will send out an extra jolt of attack power if so needed, and their attack is modified by powers absorbed by defeated bosses, like Mega Man. Still, the drones are not Copen’s primary attack strategy.

Unfortunately, the level design is not up to the freedom provided by Copen’s moveset. They feel very similar to the levels that GV travels through if they’re not the exact levels. It’s a missed opportunity, and indicative of a theme in this sequel—not wanting to get too far afield from the first game. It’s also worth noting that almost every level just goes on way too long, or at least that’s how they feel--making return visits a chore.

Gunvolt 2’s overarching systems are the same as the first—collect so many bafmodads, synthesize new gear, accept and complete challenges, replay levels to farm materials and complete challenges (which are rewarded with materials), etc. Like the first game, this repetition is encouraged because the story mode is very short and the story itself is garbage that made me realize that most sci-fi anime has the exact some story skeleton with different superficialities. I also want to point out that one of the boss characters—who I think you’re supposed to take seriously—has a giant, pointy, purple crystal sticking out of his, let’s say, jockstrap region.

The game also commits a sin I don’t remember from the first one. Story sequences often occur during gameplay—characters will have entire conversations in the corner of the screen while you’re killing robots and avoiding deathtraps. This isn’t great because it obscures actual screen real estate but I can deal with it. I can’t deal with it during boss fights, though, because boss fights are tough in Gunvolt 2, and it’s important to see where the boss/boss attacks are at all times. If the boss or his attack is hidden by a dialogue overlay, it’s a real bummer. This is not something that should’ve gotten through testing (to be fair, you can turn conversations off prior to starting a mission).

Oh, I should mention Amiibo support. If you have the Shovel Knight Amiibo, you get access to some questionably helpful equipment early on but also an opportunity to battle Shovel Knight himself in a one-off boss fight that you will immediately lose. Both Copen and GV are at Level 1 with no enhancements during this fight so you enjoy that. One more thing: I don't appreciate it when a mysterious menu option ("???") says it will be unlocked when you beat Story mode, and then you beat Story mode with both characters, and it's still locked...with the same message.

So here’s the thing: if you really dug Azure Striker Gunvolt, you can rest assured that its sequel is essentially the same game. The Copen campaign keeps things fresh and even though the level design squanders his abilities, he’s fun to play as. For those who, like me, were hoping that Gunvolt 2 would sweeten the pot a little bit, prepare for disappointment. I think there’s a very solid core to the Gunvolt series that approaches Mega Man-like combat in a very interesting way, but everything else needs work.


  • Combat for both characters remains the highlight
  • Copen provides a fun alternative to GV
  • Twice as much game in this sequel, plus Shovel Knight
  • Achingly "anime is happening" plotline
  • Dialogue overlays DURING BOSS FIGHTS
  • Level design not as inventive as Copen's moveset
  • Same repetitious game design, though


nickmitchOctober 02, 2016


- Achingly "anime is happening" plotline

Some might consider this a pro.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, October 22, 2016

I very much prefer the level design in this game compared to the original. There's more exploration to be found, and one of the challenges actually encourages you to pick up medals instead of them just being for bonus chance purposes. I think the dialogue during battles is fine, but the problem is how much real estate they take up. Still, you can always turn it off and not have the screen obscured. I highly recommend Azure Striker Gunvolt 2.

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Armed Blue Gunvolt 2: Sō Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Inti Creates

Worldwide Releases

na: Azure Striker Gunvolt 2
Release Sep 29, 2016
PublisherInti Creates
jpn: Armed Blue Gunvolt 2: Sō
Release Aug 25, 2016
PublisherInti Creates
eu: Azure Striker Gunvolt 2
Release Sep 29, 2016
PublisherInti Creates
aus: Azure Striker Gunvolt 2
Release Q2 2016
PublisherInti Creates
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