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It has been three years since the release of Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 and fans clamor for a third game. But Inti Creates surprisingly announces a new game in the Gunvolt series. Trailers show that the focus is on Copen, set in a futuristic world as humanity’s last hope. Inti Creates would eventually reveal this as Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. A spin-off that may hopefully branch into a new series, does this game deserve the praise and respect that the Gunvolt series is known for?
The plot focuses on Copen and his AI pod, Lola in a world where Adepts are the majority. Set a century after Azure Striker Gunvolt, Adepts are the norm while humans or Minos are targeted for death by Sumeragi’s Group of Human Evolution. After a clash against an Adept, Copen is rescued by a group of children, doubling as resistance fighters. Now he must help them while taking the fight to Sumeragi and stop them from wiping away what’s left of humanity.
If I can sum up the story in just one word, it’d would be this: depressing. Inti Creates know how to make a story when it comes to their games but I find this one to be the most depressing. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. I did enjoy the game’s plot. Much of the story only occurs during scenes when characters talk, whether it is in the base or when Copen is tackling the many bosses in the game. Woven together, it tells a tale of someone who fights and bring hope for humanity. This may be over dramatic but it’s how I see it.
But let’s ask ourselves. What about the gameplay? Well if you have played Gunvolt 2, then this needs no introduction. Luminous Avenger iX is an action-platformer where you play as Copen and go from one side to the next taking down anything that gets in his way. He plays similarly to how he was in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, except this time, Inti Creates took the liberty to perfect his gameplay. He still has his usual abilities such as air dashing, hovering and tagging enemies so he can damage after. He can also get access to EX skills, similar to Mega Man where he can use the abilities of fallen enemies against them. He also has access to a finisher called “Twin Shredder” that allows him and Lola to wipe out anything in its vicinity. It’s perfect as a way to finish off a foe. You also collect credits that can be exchanged for various skills that can be turned on & off at anytime. Copen can be customized to the player’s liking but expect a grind to get the rarer skills.
Yes, the game is more fast paced and intense. Like Gunvolt 1 and 2, you gain Kudos by defeating enemies and sometimes you get bonuses for being fancy. There are also emblems that can net you bonus kudos if you find them all. Reaching a certain amount will awaken Copen’s pod Lola and you get a nice tune to go along with the butt-kicking. In some cases this can also boost your attack, recover your health and even let you dash infinitely. But there’s a catch to it all. The game also has a penalty system where if you take damage carelessly, you lose your Kudos. Even if you use Prevasion to avoid attacks, you still get punished. Oh and Copen has access to Prevasion where at the expense of 2 Bullits, you can avoid damage. It’s a reason why this game emphasizes skill because being careless can lead to your doom especially against the many bosses you’ll encounter here. All the bosses in the game will test your mettle and they can also be fun too. Speaking of drawbacks, should you die, Lola can use her Anthem to revive you but if that happens, you’ll be rated poorly at the end. There’s a rating system where the more skilled you do in each stage, the higher your rating. The game has 3 difficulty settings that can be changed before entering a stage so if you find one difficulty challenging, you can tone it down and enjoy it. The difficulties can also reflect the end of every stage as well. Overall, this game offers plenty for everyone whether it be for casuals or the more skilled.
As for length, it’s not long. The game can be beaten in a measly 2-3 hours. With the three different difficulties, it can extend further by an hour. Plus the Special Challenges will put players to the test. Overall the game isn’t long but that isn’t the point. The game has replay value where you can challenge yourself however you please. It’s something that you can easily pick up, play and have fun. Did I mention this game is worth $15? Yep. It’s worth your time regardless.
Luminous Avenger iX looks great and it’s a huge step-up from the Gunvolt games. Character art is seen during conversations, no longer showing mugshots but instead showing their full portraits. It also happens before boss fights too so that’s a plus. Music is good. Inti Creates does a great job in terms of their music and they can range from intense to at times creepy. It fits the tone of the game’s plot though. The Lola tunes are also great and it’s always nice to hear Lola sing her heart out once you achieve a high amount of kudos. There is voice acting but it’s mostly Japanese so to anyone expecting an English dub, prepare to feel disappointed.
From my experience, I couldn’t find anything that would hinder this game. Everything about it is just so well done that I can safely say it’s worth your time. However I will say that the plot may have you feel lost unless you’ve played the previous games. That and Copen’s the only playable character. Otherwise it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this.
In conclusion, Luminous Avenger iX is a solid yet amazing game. The gameplay is refined to perfection, presentation awesome and the amount of challenge can satisfy anyone. We know that Gunvolt 3 is coming and Inti needs time so they made this to hopefully keep us busy. They made the right decision and I hope that this is just a taste of what’s to come. Want a game that is challenging and easy on your wallet? This is it. Will you side with humanity and save it? Be the Luminous Avenger!
I give Luminous Avenger iX a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth your time and I recommend it.