Gunvolt is back, and yet again, the strange Copen is the omnipresent thorn in his side. Fueled by his usual hatred for all Adepts, Copen is actually a playable character this time around.
All of the traditional gameplay mechanics from AZS1 (the OG, or vanilla Azure Striker title) are back, and Gunvolt is every bit the familiar character we remember. The crafting, the Prevasion, the Anthem, the uber skills, the different tagging bullets, they are all just as you left them, and they will be both every bit as comfortable and powerful as you need or want them to be, depending on your opt-in handicap preferences. While the Mega Man games eventually let you choose to play as Zero, however, ASG2 gives you access to your rival, who plays through an entirely different story than Gunvolt does (although, spoilers, they are much more intertwined than you believe at first) providing you an inside look to the motivations and demeanor to Gunvolt's main foil.
Copen is on a quest to save his dear sister, and rid the world of Adepts, and he uses crazy tech to do so, even going to far as to create tech that mimics the flashfield and prevasion of his chief rival and hated enemy, Gunvolt. But why bother with that, when you already have Gunvolt, you ask? Copen might have many similarities, which you can opt out of, but he is also a wholly distinct character with a much more high-speed, high-risk, high-reward gameplay style. Copen has, by default, 3 'Bullits', which act as a very modular version of the EP gauge. Instead of having 37.1% energy, you can have 0, 1, 2, or 3 bullits. A bullit enables an air-dash, which is blindingly fast, or a prevasion charge. You can reload your Bullits by double-tapping down, just like Gunvolt, and you still 'tag' enemies, in a sense, although in comparison to Gunvolt, this is flipped on its head. With Gunvolt, you tag with your gun and then flashfield them to death.
With Copen, you dash into things to launch off of them, to tag them, and when tagged, your regular rapid-fire weapon's bullets are homing and do nontrivial damage. This allows for a far more aggressive playstyle, but it still hearkens back to the defensive boss fights, just that you are expected to now use offensive abilities to also get yourself out of jams with Copen. Copen also borrows from the previous games in that he steals an ability from each boss to be able to use instead of his pseudo-Flashfield, so even more so than the previous games, it harkens back to days of yore and tugs at those childhood nostalgia strings.
The music is still stellar, the storyline is even more fleshed out than the previous game, and the character selection twin-paths gimmick is actually quite amusing. You cannot see the true ending if you don't complete both paths, and we finally get a back-and-forth banter with bosses mid-fight, which is something that was removed from the North American localization of the OG. You can toggle it off in the settings, if the text is getting in the way of your best attempts at living, but it really does add an amusement factor to the game to have your opponent taunting you while you fight them.
The amount that Gunvolt was better than its predecessors, Gunvolt 2 is superior to 1, and so if you even remotely liked 1, you need to get 2. The game has been made even more accessible to things like speedrunning and score-attacks, and it really is just that great of a game.
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Article by Marc