REVIEW: Gal*Gun 2 (PC)

May
23

REVIEW: Gal*Gun 2 (PC)

Take Gal*Gun, add more jiggle, and give the player a skirt-sucking gun. Hooray!

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: INTI CREATES
Publisher: PQube Limited
Release Date: 20 Jul, 2018

Introduction

Gal*Gun 2 is an on-rails shooter that released back in 2018. It’s the sequel to Gal*Gun Double Peace, and is set in the same crazy game world and uses many of the same mechanics. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the base game to review on Steam, almost two years after my colleague reviewed the PS4 version. The PC release has had a couple of minor updates since then, but no significant changes.

Gal*Gun 2 puts you in the role of an unnamed male protagonist studying (poorly) at a school that seems to be otherwise attended exclusively by attractive females, both students and teachers. One day after school he returns to the classroom to retrieve his phone, when he a large box appears on his desk. He opens it to reveal “a pair of goggles and a…hair dryer”. He dons the goggles only to find a beautiful, and rather ditzy, angel, Risu, looking at him. She explains that he’s been chosen by Angel Ring — a heavenly corporation — to be the company’s new hero on Earth and he has to slay demons by shooting them with his “pheromone shot”. Oh, and by the way, the goggles make him irresistible to almost all females. Darn.

Yes, the story is even more silly than the previous game, but if you’ve played any other PQube games, I’m sure this won’t even seem that weird!

Note: “Gal*Gun 2 – Complete Edition” was released on Steam earlier this month and includes all currently available DLC at a significant discount. This review only covers the base game.

Pew, Pew!

The main focus of Gal*Gun 2 is to shoot demons: big demons and little demons, but all rather cute demons. Along the way you’ll also need to shoot a lot of attractive anime schoolgirls (and some teachers), too, of course — the pheromone shot makes them cry out in ecstasy, after all, so it would be selfish to not use it! — but in this game the lustful schoolgirls chasing you around and proclaiming their undying love for you are only a side effect of the angelic technology given you, and not your primary focus.

Like its predecessor, Gal*Gun 2 is a first-person shooter. Providing slightly more freedom over other rail shooters, however, here each stage contains a number of pre-defined positions, with some stages allowing somewhat free choice of which of those positions the character should move to, and others making the choice for you, but all waiting for your input before moving onward each time. This means that, rather than a sort of race against time to shoot as much as possible before the game moves you onwards — and past any remaining targets — as happens in most rail shooters, this position-based shooting instead plays like a series of short encounters with breaks in-between, rather than a continuous surge forward with no control. It also has completely free camera rotation, to look about from your current position, but only very restrictive camera movement, with a few levels of crouching or standing, and peeking to either side providing the limits of movement.

Aiming with the mouse is much better than the controller, but the breast- and waist- level sensitive areas seem much harder to hit than in Double Peace, especially at range. I’m not sure if they’re smaller targets now or if maybe some of the girls’ animations get in the way, but it doesn’t feel as precise as it used to.

A new addition to the pheromone shot is the demon sucker, which is gradually charged as you shoot targets and lets you suck demons into it instead of destroying them, for bonus points. This is upgraded fairly early on to include a turbo mode, which has been known to suck the uniform right off an unsuspecting schoolgirl! In a way this replaces the “wet look” see-through upgrade from Double Peace as far as fan service goes, but the mechanics are more integrated with the rest of the gameplay. Shoot or suck demons to earn angelic currency in the form of Demon Buster Points and gifts: snacks, which are used in the game’s primary fan-service mode (Rendezvous).

The game takes place over the course of a month, with each game day allowing you to complete one or two missions before returning home in the evening. There are various visual-novel-style interludes before and after various missions, with a number of dialogue choices to make. Your goal, according to Risa, is to earn enough Demon Buster points over the month, or you fail. I’m not sure exactly what failure entails, but it’s pretty easy to earn the required points, even if you’re not good at some of the missions. As with Double Peace, there are a number of endings. As all of the personality attributes and other character development have been removed, however, I believe these are all based solely on mission selection and performance. That said, it’s very cool the way the game tells you once you’ve met the requirements for an ending, and allows you to skip to it immediately. This significantly reduces the repetition of replays to see the alternate endings.

Mission Types

There are five different level or mission types in Gal*Gun 2, as opposed to Double Peace’s two.

The first of these, attack, is basically the same as most of Double Peace. Here your goal is to fend off the besotted schoolgirls and destroy or capture the demons that have possessed some of them, moving through the set level positions as you go. Positions are shown as little blue silhouettes of the protagonist and you’re occasionally given a choice between moving to one or another, though usually there’s only one position. The zoom mode from Double Peace has been changed significantly in this mode, and the mid-level Y-button Doki-Doki mode has been replaced with a zoom-based mechanic instead. There’s no more searching for hidden items using the strange sort of x-ray zoom from the previous game, which is a nice change — I found that rather annoying — but unfortunately those items are simply no longer included at all, removing one avenue for game progression. Also, while you can still zoom in, now the only reasons to are to aim more easily at stationary targets far away, or to stare longingly into a close-by target’s eyes, allowing you to give her unrivalled ecstasy that somehow affects all other targets on screen as well — a Lovestrike, I think it’s called. It’s slow and awkward, however, and best used only rarely, if at all. I much preferred the dynamic Doki Doki from Double Peace instead.

The second is Doki Doki mode, which has also changed since the previous game. Now you’re no longer “hands on”, shooting the girl in desirable places and massaging, pushing, or pulling to complete the mission, but instead in a dream-like sequence where the girl is floating on a sort of pink cloud and you have to shoot certain hidden positions on her body to release demons. Release enough of these and you’ll blow her clothes right off, leaving her lying in her underwear — and often making titillating comments and sounds as you continue to exorcise her demons.

The third mode is defence, in which you have to prevent hordes of little demons from attacking a group of girls. There’s no schoolgirl shooting here; it’s solely about saving the damsels from demon possession. And typically you’ll be blasting and sucking the little mini-Kuronas for a few minutes before you’re done.

What I call finding objects is the fourth mode. Here you’re given a small area with a small number of predefined positions, all of which are available to move to at the start, and each of which has a number of objects hidden at that location. There’s a strict time limit in which you have to move to each position and find all of the objects by using the game’s very limited movements, shooting, and sucking objects, and looking around as best you can. Alert a demon or girl and you’ll lose some of your time in fighting them off, similar to the normal attack mode. I found this the most frustrating mode, as the objects are small, I don’t much like time limits, and the demon sucker kept running out of power at the worst possible times, preventing me from sucking concealing objects out of the way. It was still a nice change of pace from the rest of the missions, but I’d have preferred there to be no time limit.

And the last mode is versus mode, in which you have to battle the game’s only boss: the main demon from the first game, Kurona.

Fan Service

You can’t have a good gal game without fan service, and Gal*Gun 2’s developers obviously know that. To begin with, there’s the Doki Doki mode and upgraded demon/clothing sucker already mentioned, as well as a number of risque scenes with gratuitous panty shots. But we want more!

The game’s separate fan service mode is called Rendezvous and is activated by calling a girl on your phone after you’ve acquired her number, usually by completing a free or side mission in which she’s involved (some of the game’s special characters are unlocked differently). Once you meet up with her you’re then left with a little minigame a bit like Intimacy Mode from Senran Kagura, though not quite as racey. You can change her outfit, from the limited selection available (at least without DLC); her pose; and the location of the rendezvous. You can move around her — including ducking down low for more panty shots, if you’re so inclined — and shoot her with your pheromone shot, for some one-sided conversation. You can suck off her clothing, but take it from me: you’ll end up in the doghouse pretty quickly if you do. And you can fantasise about her, which enters Doki Doki mode; I don’t think you earn anything from this, but it’s good to do at least once with each girl, for research purposes. And it doesn’t penalise you like sucking off her clothes does.

Finally, you can give her the gifts / snacks you’ve earned through missions — each girl has a limited selection that she prefers — in order to increase her heart gauge. Once this is full she will be happy to rendezvous with you in the evening at your residence, though I think all the actions available there are the same as at other locations. Her comments also change at this point, and some of them can be pretty funny.

It’s not as interactive or titillating as fan service from a Senran Kagura game, and the limited costumes — and removal of the semi-transparent “wet look” from the previous game — are a bit disappointing, but it’s a nice diversion from normal gameplay, and it doesn’t take any in-game time. It’s also fully supported by the VR DLC, apparently.

Comparisons with PS4

I haven’t played the PS4 version, but based on dangerhidoltage’s review I was left with the feeling that there were a few major issues that left it with a Save for Later: price, controller aiming, and repetition. The PC version improves on all of these.

First, the price. Given that the game is now two years old, it can often be picked up for significantly less than retail, and both game and DLC can now be bought with a significant discount in the Complete Edition — which actually costs less than just the base game. As with most “gal games”, however, it’s still quite expensive, and will only really give you great “bang for buck” if you want to play through it multiple times to see all the endings and get those sweet Steam Achievements.

Second, controller aiming. As with Gal*Gun Double Peace, Gal*Gun 2 on PC supports mouse and keyboard very well, and aiming is MUCH easier with the mouse. Unfortunately, though, both games only display controller controls when explaining how to play, leaving you to find the mouse and keyboard controls on your own. This isn’t difficult, but it is a bit annoying. The ability to see and remap controls from the options menu is very welcome, even if the different control types are labelled in Japanese. If you’re keen to still use the controller, then of course you can, but after deciding mouse and keyboard worked much better in the previous game, I didn’t even give the controller a chance here.

Third, repetition. While the PC version is the same game as the PS4 version, with the same repetitive gameplay, same missions, and the same features, it does improve one repetition issue that dangerhidoltage mentioned: finger fatigue! I find it much easier to click the mouse button a bazillion times to shoot cute girls, suck demons, and remove clothing, than it is to press a controller button. Hooray for mouse and keyboard!

The PC version also offers improved graphics resolution and frame rates — assuming your PC is capable, of course — and I have to say it looks rather nice at times: like walking around inside a silly anime, although a few minor clipping issues with clothing destroys that illusion a little. I imagine the VR DLC would enhance that feeling further.

Verdict

My esteemed colleague gave the PS4 version a Save for Later and now, two years later, I’m inclined to give the PC version the same rating. While it does offer some significant improvements in graphics and control, and I enjoy the silly game world, the game’s repetitive nature isn’t disguised quite well enough by the different mission types, and it goes on long enough to outstay its welcome.

It also seems like more of a step sideways than forwards with regard to Double Peace. It has fewer options for meaningful character progression; Doki Doki mode feels less “intimate”, though is admittedly fun in a different way; some character interactions take too long and are unskippable once begun; and the game still fails to offer anywhere near the costume variation of many other gal games. I don’t think I’ll ever bother to grind for all of the Steam Achievements, but Gal*Gun 2 is undeniably good fun for at least a couple of endings, anyway.

I hope to see a Gal*Gun 3 in the future, but I hope it brings more variation and progression.

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