Review – Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 (Xbox Series X)
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 has been released various times over the years, ever since its initial debut in 2016 on the Nintendo 3DS. This time it’s getting a proper release on the Xbox One and Xbox Series, so now everyone can enjoy it at this point. Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is a 2D action platformer akin to that of Mega Man. Although, a better example could be Mighty Gunvolt, of which it shares its namesake. Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 continues to expand on everything introduced in the original game, and continues to build towards the third game in the series.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 does a great job at making you feel overpowered throughout your time playing the core part of each level. Fighting regular enemies, chaining together hits without taking damage, maximizing your score in each level- it’s a ton of fun. Then you hit the boss of each area. Bosses who basically have the same power level as you, and suddenly you feel like just another character, and suddenly you need to actually learn how enemies fight.
Throughout the game you play as as Gunvolt, just like in the original, who plays more or less the same. That said, you will also be able to play as Copen, who plays slightly differently than Gunvolt. The biggest difference being Copen’s ability to lock-on to enemies when dashing into them, making it significantly easier to take them out if they’re flying. If there’s anything to learn about Gunvolt, it’s that there are a whole lot of flying enemies in every single level.
Each segment of Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 has levels you can select, similar to that of something like Mega Man. Each level has an area to playthrough, followed by a boss at the end. The bosses will give you abilities to use, but unlike Mega Man, the order doesn’t feel important, as the abilities don’t exactly seem to have a particular advantage against specific bosses.
The level design in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is more than just “run to the right.” A lot of levels work more vertically, and involve going forward and backwards to find your way through the level. Although, the best addition is a way to combat ice levels. There are canisters throughout ice levels that will stop you from slipping for a period of time, almost making it worth speedrunning these levels to not have it run out. There are “puzzle” sections too, which basically encourage you to simply run as fast as you can, because you need to climb a wall and need the buff. These bits can be frustrating for sure.
The biggest gripe I have with Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is the fact that the conversations that happen take up a solid third of the screen. For some reason characters think the best time to talk is during a boss fight, where in the boss can hide behind the conversation box and make it nearly impossible to react to what they’re doing. The other option is to turn off conversations, but the explanations as to why you you’re in a certain location or what you’re suppose to be doing are lost. Plus, the option to turn off conversations isn’t exactly the most obvious, so might take most people a while to realise this is even an option in the first place.
Graphically, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is nice. Although, there are quite a few sections that feel boring. There are plenty of sections of warehouses or cityscapes that have the same background, or are just black the whole way through. On the other side though, there are some particularly good songs in the soundtrack. The issue is they seem to be pretty short loops, meaning unless you absolutely rush every level, there’s going to be a lot of repetition in the music. I like the music, but hearing the same instrumental loop every thirty seconds is incredibly frustrating.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is a lot of fun. This is definitely a game that aged better than most, especially in this genre with so many games coming out in the same genre. From the 3DS, Switch, and PlayStation, it’s about time Xbox fans get a chance to to experience this series in all its might. With all three games in the series now readily available on all platforms, there couldn’t be a better time to tackle each of the games.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 looks really nice. There are some segments that feel a bit boring, like there was a lack of inspiration or ideas on what to put in this building, but outside of that, it does look great.
Every ounce of me wanted to say I really couldn’t care less about the story because of how intrusive the conversations are. Outside of that, the game is smooth save for a few segments that things feel a bit unbalanced.
The music is good, it fits with the kind of futuristic anime style, but it’s incredibly repetitive sometimes. The character audio is clear, but almost abrasive with how out of the blue it can be and being louder than most the other sounds in the game.
Fun Factor: 7.0
All around Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 was a lot of fun to playthrough. It’s a shame I know absolutely nothing that was going on or why my character was doing what he was doing because the other option was to consistently die to the bosses because I can’t see them.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is available now on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Reviewed on Xbox Series X.
A copy of Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 was provided by the publisher.