Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is an upcoming spin-off of the Azure Striker Gunvolt series from Inti Creates. I’ve never played any games in the series before besides a demo a few years ago, but I’ve always appreciated its style. Inti Creates gave us a chance to check the game out at PAX West 2019, and its seems to provide a refined take on a familiar formula introduced in preceding titles.
Luminous Avenger iX takes place in the far future, where the majority of humans have evolved into beings called Adepts, who all have their own Septimas — a term for special powers. Those without Septimas are known as Minos, and are being hunted and executed by the Sumeragi Institute of Human Evolution, but there are still some who stand against them.
In Luminous Avenger iX, you once again play as Copen, a mysterious antihero, first playable in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2. Copen is known as the “Savior of Minos” and rescues Minos from their fate alongside his combat support robot partner Lola. Copen must first tag enemies by dashing into them before being able to cause a substantial amount of damage, but shots toward enemies will be 100 percent accurate from anywhere on the screen. Copen’s default weapon is a photon laser gun, which has to be reloaded every so often. What I found strange is that the ammo meter for the gun is three bullets, but Copen definitely has more than three shots as his disposal, so each bullet on the meter only drains gradually, and I figure this could confuse players that are new to the series. Copen’s dash also drains the ammo meter, so it’s best to be as accurate as possible when first encountering enemies so you won’t have to reload more than you already have to. Copen can also use the Septimas of the Adept bosses he has defeated at will in the form of EX weapons, and although I didn’t get to try any of these out for myself, I’m sure they add a lot more variety to gameplay that might get stale fast otherwise. Copen also has a special move he can use called Twin Shredder, which can take out all on-screen enemies at once and then recharge over time.
Luminous Avenger iX also has a couple of returning features from past entries. Once 1000 kudos have been gained, Lola can activate her “Idol Mode,” which will replace the stage music with a vocal track. Lola can also revive Copen by activating her “Anthem” ability, which in turn also activates Lola’s “Awakened Mode” which usually only appears during special attacks. Their is also a new “Darkened” Anthem ability, but more details about it are currently unknown.
The boss I fought at the end of the level I played was a mysterious lightning Adept known as Blade. I was holding my own for awhile surprisingly since I was able to grasp the basic gameplay by that point, but I eventually succumbed to Blade’s speed. Like other games of its kind, for the bosses in Luminous Avenger you mostly just have to learn attack patterns and figure out the best ways to avoid getting hit. Even though I didn’t pass it, I thought the boss fight was amusing and I feel that if there had been more time then I would have focused all my efforts on defeating that boss. Hopefully all boss battles in Luminous Avenger iX are designed in a way which replicates the same feeling
Over time, the credits Copen gains will allow you to purchase new abilities and upgrades for tougher enemies. But unfortunately, I didn’t get to see this in more detail, as I think players who grind out enough credits will be able to unlock certain abilities as early as they can if they’re having trouble with a boss or a particular section.
As I previously mentioned, I’ve always been interested in the Azure Striker Gunvolt series, but never had the chance to get into it besides the demo of the first game on Nintendo 3DS. Since antiheroes are my favorite type of character and this new title expands on a character I’ve always been more interested in playing as, I think I’ll definitely give Luminous Avenger iX a shot. If you enjoyed the other games in the original series, especially Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, or even if you’re a newer fan, then I think it would be worth your time to give Luminous Avenger iX a chance.