It's always excellent when truly stand-out games get a sequel so here's the action-packed Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2.
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Back in 2019, the original Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX completely blew me away with its incredible gameplay and distinct cast of characters that made its campaign even more of a treat. Thankfully, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 carries the torch in a faithful way yet it offers a completely new campaign as well as some nifty gameplay changes to boot. For starters, Copen and gang are mysteriously transported to another dimension. While there, they discover a tower that potentially holds the power to send them back to their world. You'll meet a collection of bosses as well as a new ally in the form of Null and the dialogue scenes are great fun with Copen remaining stoic while his bubbly friends Lola and Kohaku liven up the mood. The English voice acting is just awesome as the actors really bring the characters to life and the character portraits are gorgeously illustrated, especially when characters perform special moves. v1d30chumz 35-175-107-185
The most striking difference when it comes to the gameplay in Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 is that Copen now has the saw-like Razor Wheel instead of his classic blaster and that makes the combat a bit more melee-focused. You'll still dash into enemies which marks them then unleash a barrage of homing projectiles at them which is as fun as ever except this time, recharging your Bullits is much more intuitive as you simply need to land on a surface. By the way, to tweak the controls to be even more intuitive, I made A the dash button and disabled auto-hover which lets the gameplay be more fluid and fast-paced. Anyway, you'll amass a wealth of weapons (7 in total) after defeating the bosses and each one is impressively powerful and allows you to do things like leap higher with a giant propeller and fire a massive Gatling gun. Plus, spending earned currency to unlock upgrades adds even more power to your arsenal. 😄
Another gameplay change is that you can heal whenever you want which makes the campaign super-easy if you merely want to complete it and don't care about score. However, if you want to master Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 by achieving X rank on each and every stage, you're going to have to skip checkpoints, not heal or use your special move, chain enemies like crazy, and avoid taking damage which adds up to a super-challenging and incredibly rewarding feat. Another satisfying mechanic is that whenever your Kudos increases to over 1000, Lola will transform and an awesome vocal track from a collection of 7 unlockable ones will kick in which makes Copen enter Overdrive mode. Plus, if you talk with folks, you may gain the ability to be rescued when you fall which is nice.
Each stage within Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 is quite lengthy and features 4 hidden collectibles so on top of aiming for high scores which is a ton of fun on its own; you can also try to collect every single item pick-up. After completing the campaign, you unlock direct access to each of the 10 bosses as well as a Boss Rush mode but I wish more was included like how you get a handful of bonus stages in the original. There will be DLC but I'm not entirely sure what exactly it'll be; I'm hoping for additional playable characters. The only DLC that I'm aware of is a COGEN: Sword of Rewind crossover boss fight which comes with a brand new ability. ❄️
Finally, one of my main issues with the original is that it lacked substantial character customization and unfortunately, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 lacks such features as well. Specifically, all you do is assign EX Weapons to shortcuts, unlock passive abilities, and level-up to increase your max HP, etc. I would have loved to experiment with different loadouts in order to add some personalization to the already awesome gameplay like you can in the Azure Striker Gunvolt games. It's still great fun even without this element, though.
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 is a phenomenal follow-up to the modern 2D action game masterpiece that feels like a genuine sequel when it comes to both its story and gameplay. So, if you enjoyed the original then you'll absolutely love this, too.
- + Action-packed gameplay that's streamlined, fast-paced, and a heck of a lot of fun
- + Awesome graphics, voice work, and music
- + Achieving high scores is super-rewarding
- - I wish more customization elements were introduced to help flesh things out
- - Could use more post-game content