Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/15/04 | Genre: Action
In 2002, the PS2 got an action-packed title known as Gungrave that was nice to look at but didn’t play very well. Fast forward two years later and we get a big upgrade to the Gungrave franchise with Gungrave: Overdose. This title has much better gameplay, a good story, and solid graphics. The best part is that it only retails for fifteen bucks! Yes, you read that right... fifteen bucks!
Since the gameplay in the 2002 Gungrave title was its weakest points, this is an area I looked at very closely during my gameplay time with Overdose. Players will be asked to destroy just about everything in sight. As the player goes about destroying items in the world, they will be treated to some great visual effects. But more than just for eye candy, players will need to destroy items in the environment to fill their combo meter. Once this is full, you can then execute a variety of really cool looking attacks that will destroy all foes around you. However, even with an all-powerful attack, Gungrave: Overdose still causes players to take a lot of damage. Instead of frantically searching for health packs, like in other titles, players will use a shield system that is similar to Halo. Don’t’ be fooled by the recharging shield system though. Players will have plenty of challenging situations awaiting them in later levels.
The story in Overdose is the main character, Grave, and Mika, begin a quest to track down an evil drug lord and take down his companions. The story is told through anime cinema, comic book style story boards with voice-overs, and during missions. I don’t want to give away very much of the story. But like a good anime show, it may seem confusing at first but give it some time and you will learn to appreciate the story. But no matter how cool the story is, your basic goal in the game remains the same. Destroy anything and everything in sight.
For the most part, you will always control Grave. However, once you run into your two other companions, you can choose to play as them too. The other characters play almost the same so you may end up switching back to Grave after trying them out once or twice.
Another improvement over the 2002 Gungrave title is the length of the game. Overdose gives players around ten hours of gameplay time while the former title only offered players a few hours of playing time--even on the hardest difficulty setting. To increase the challenge in Overdose, players who defeat the game will unlock the Harder than Hard setting and various other unlockable costumes and gameplay tweaks can also be found.
While Gungrove Overdose is not one of the best titles released in 2004, at only fifteen bucks, it is definitely worth a look. Because of the cheap price at retail, I would consider purchasing it before renting it for five to seven bucks. Publisher Mastiff is very committed to this series in the US and we should expect to see even better Gungrove titles in the future.