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This page is about the game Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. For the character also known as "The Luminous Avenger iX", see Copen "The Luminous Avenger iX"

"Get ready for the apeX of 2D action!"
Tagline

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX, known in Japan as White Steel of X: THE OUT OF GUNVOLT (「白き鋼鉄のX(イクス)THE OUT OF GUNVOLT」), and also known by various shorthands such as Luminous Avenger iX, iX and LAiX, is a game developed by Inti Creates for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Steam, released worldwide on the 26th of September, 2019, with an early release on the 24th in select territories.[1][2]

Described as the "start of a new spin-off series"[3][4], iX features Copen as the main protagonist, who returns alongside his gameplay from Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, more refined than ever before.

Gameplay

Luminous Avenger iX returns to having one player character, this time main series anti-hero Copen. His basic gameplay is largely recycled from his playable debut in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, consisting of using his boosters to fly towards enemies to tag them, then unleashing a storm of homing shots to gain kudos, though there are slight adjustments. For example, Prevasion now consumes two bullits instead of one, making the game somewhat harder. The ranking system has also changed, with the three kudos settings adding a score bonus at the end of the stage, rather than affecting the score multiplier. A higher score also rewards you with a more detailed and impressive end card.

As in the previous game, you can buy subroutines that augment Copen's gear to give him differing attributes, such as giving him extra Bullits or even reducing his HP to make the game harder. However, it is now possible to buy subroutines mid-level from the pause menu and equip them on the fly without having to return to base. Materials have also been completely scrapped, with subroutines only needing the required amount of credits to be purchased. As a side effect of credit importance being increased compared to previous games, not all enemies will spew credits upon defeat, and there is no post-level minigame to earn credits from.

Copen is once again accompanied by Lola, an A.I helper that allows him to use EX Weapons to replicate the Septima of any Adept he defeats. As with past games, when the kudos count hits 1000, Lola assumes her "Idol Mode", and overrides the stage music with a vocal track. When Copen's HP reaches zero, he can be revived by "Anthem", which also triggers a second form for Lola known as the "Awakened Mode", which also appears during special moves. Another version of Anthem, "Darkness Mode", can be triggered by activating the EX Weapon "Darkness Trigger", which buffs Copen's other EX Weapons and grants him unlimited energy with which to use them with. However, this comes at the cost of draining Copen's HP whenever he isn't locked onto an enemy, forcing the player to constantly attack.

Copen, as before, has one special move: Twin Shredder, which is functionally identical to Shred Storm from the previous game, acting as a screen-clearing attack that gradually recharges. However, it is much more dynamic and features several pieces of artwork. This reflects the overall distinct style of the game, which is noticeably flashier and more detailed, with cutscenes using full body shots, result cards being more elaborate the higher your end score is and even Lola cheering the player on mid-battle as they build up a combo streak.

Stages

In a deviation from previous games, stages in iX are presented in a far more linear pattern; instead of all seven boss stages given at the start, they are staggered in two groups of three separated by an intermission stage. As in previous games, clearing the main story unlocks "Special Missions". Unlocking all four "X" pieces on the title screen also unlocks "VS Missions"

Introductory Stage

Boss Stages

1st Set
Intermission Stage
2nd Set

Final Stages

Special Missions

VS Stages

Plot

Years into the future[5], Adepts have now become the dominant species on the planet, far outweighing humans (now known as "Minos") in terms of numbers. The Sumeragi Group has now reformed as the Sumeragi Institute of Human Evolution, hunting Minos to extinction to usher in a new age of humanity.

However, one mysterious young man stands alone to protect Minos from Sumeragi's genocide. Spoken only in hushed whispers, urban legends talk of a warrior clad in pure white armour and his robotic companion: the Muse of Hope. That warrior is known only as...

... the Luminous Avenger iX.

Main Characters

Character Image
Copen - The main protagonist and the titular Luminous Avenger iX. Seen as a symbol of hope for many Minos, he walks down weary, bloody path, driven by his desire to find the mysterious "Butterfly Effect". AcuraPortrait
Lola - A combat support robot created by Copen to aid him in battle, capable of copying an Adept's Septima and using it for Copen's benefit, and can even use her "idol" mode to support Copen through song. She is known by Minos as the "Muse of Hope", whose online music videos serve as inspiration for the oppressed. LolaPortrait iX
Kohaku - A young lady who has an affinity for tinkering with machinery. She acts as the leader of a small band of Mino children, and though times may be dark, her bright, cheery personality help everyone keep going. KohakuPort
Kyota - One of the Mino children Kohaku looks after. A brash, confident young man, he looks up Copen as a legendary hero, and is fond of similarly "cool" things. KyotaPortrait
Jin - One of the Mino children Kohaku looks after, Jin is a mature, intelligent and thoughtful young man. His general knowledge is extensive, and he is good at thinking on his feet. Secretly though, he is a massive Lola fanboy. JinPortrait
Maria - One of the Mino children Kohaku looks after, having lost her parents to Sumeragi's death squads. A feisty young girl with a crippling shyness, she adores Kohaku and craves her attention, and openly resents Copen for stealing it from her. MariaPortrait
Rebellio - After being forced to serve in a terrorist cell, this gentle, peaceful young man was forcibly recruited by Sumeragi, having no choice but to comply, lest he endanger himself and his family. RebellioPortrait
Crimm - A passionate, artistic beauty guru whose charismatic, fancy demeanour belies a psychotic, narcissistic obsession with destruction. CrimmPortrait
Stella - This young, shrewd businesswoman is the head of the country's most powerful manufacturing company. Self-confident to a fault, she looks down on others and trusts no one, bar her personal assistant, whom she joined Sumeragi to protect. StellaPortrait
Dystnine - Stella's trusted assistant, Dystnine is an android who inexplicably developed a Septima, catching the eye of the Sumeragi Group, who would have torn him apart for "research purposes" if not for Stella's intervention. DystninePortrait
Isola - An idol revered nationwide, Isola effortlessly plays the part of both a giddy pop star and a straight-laced Falcon, though when it comes to her true personality, it seems even she's in the dark. IsolaPortrait
Bakto - The former don of a crippled mob, Bakto was recruited by Sumeragi in a power move. In order to secure his Family's future, he serves the corporation as one of its unwilling Falcons. BaktoPort
Blade - A mysterious swordsman whose combat prowess is rivaled only by his unquestioning loyalty to Sumeragi. Wielding a powerful electric Septima and reporting directly to Sumeragi's supervisory AI, he is said to surpass all other Falcons in skill. BladePP

Development

Luminous Avenger iX began development at the beginning of 2018 with the intention of pleasing fans until the team could begin proper development on Azure Striker Gunvolt 3[6], which series director Yoshihisa Tsuda was "having a difficult time with".[3] Because of this, the game is instead directed by series writer Toshiaki Tai. The game was built from the ground-up for more powerful hardware, which allowed the developers to overhaul the art style and make the visuals more detailed.[7] iX was announced on the 12th of May 2018 at BitSummit (as is tradition for the series) alongside Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and the Armed Blue: Gunvolt Complete Works Artbook. A short trailer and the main artwork was published, and the game was playable at the event. It was said that at the time the game was 10% complete.[3]

Falcon Silhouettes

The image teased by Aizu

On the 26th of December later that year, during a live-stream, Inti Creates president and iX producer Takuya Aizu revealed the silhouettes of the seven main bosses, later revealed to be "The Falcons". That same live-stream, it was announced that development was preceding smoothly, that the game would be out by Christmas the next year in 2019, and that more news would be out after the release of Dragon: Marked For Death in January.

On June 1st 2019, more information was finally revealed at that year's BitSummit in the form of a presentation, including a new poster, several characters and a trailer. The trailer detailed the game's premise and basic gameplay elements, as well as the planned release date. It was also announced that the game would be released on PlayStation 4 and Steam as well. A demo was present at the event, which also revealed a few members of the Falcons, some new stages and further highlighted the game's new aesthetic compared to the main series. The presentation also revealed new voice actors for returning characters, having been recast to mark the start of a new series, and confirmed that a physical release would be present in Japan, and that Inti Creates were hoping to also have physical releases in other territories.[4] They would eventually achieve this thanks to a partnership with Limited Run Games.[8]

On the 5th of September, less than a month before the games release, it was announced the game would come out digitally on the Xbox One.[9]

Soundtrack

The game's soundtrack is composed by series composers Ippo Yamada and Ryo Kawakami, and will be collected in the White Steel of X: THE OUT OF GUNVOLT Soundtrack. All vocal tracks are sung by Mayu Mineda in-character as Lola. The main theme, "Luminous Promise", was first featured in the game's reveal trailer, and Igniter returns as the Anthem theme. The song "Beyond Probability" is also used as whenever the EX Weapon "Darkness Trigger" is used, and the ending theme is "Searchlight". Other tracks include:

Collector's Edition

LAiXcollecters

The Collector's Edition

On August 23rd, Limited Run Games announced that they were partnering with Inti Creates to bring not only a physical version to the West, but a Collector's Edition, which, in addition to the game, also included: an enamel pin of Lola, a double-sided poster and an album containing all the game's vocal tracks.[8]

DLC

Screenshot 2019-08-01 at 13.19.05

Kohaku's Lolawear outfit on the main menu

By pre-ordering the game on Switch and purchasing within three weeks of release on other platforms[10], you can obtain the "Kohaku DLC Outfit: Lolawear", which changes Kohaku's outfit on the menu to one resembling Lola's. Pre-ordering the game from specific Japanese retailers also gives three other costumes: a sailor uniform, an animal costume, and ripped clothing. This doesn't affect her in-game portrait or sprite however.

Reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
Review Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.67
Metacritic 83
Review scores
Publication Score
Video Chums 88
Dual Shockers 85
NintendoWorldReport 85
Destructoid 80
TrueGaming 80
Nintendo Life 80
Famitsu 32/40 (8/8/8/8)


Pre-release

Reviewing the game at E3 2019, DualShockers called iX "one of Inti Creates' best platformers yet", with the reviewer praising the game's high speed and superior visuals compared to the 3DS games, despite complaining about the decision to map ammo reloading to the d-pad.[11]

Post-release

Upon release, iX received positive reviews, with critics praising the upgraded visual presentation, the fast pace and the upgrades and improvements to Copen's gameplay, though it did receive some minor criticism for its short length. It is currently the highest rated game in the entire franchise and the second highest rated Inti Creates game (not counting collaborations with other developers) on Metacritic, behind only Blaster Master Zero 2.

Trivia

  • The "iX" in the title (a possible reference to the Mega Man X series) is pronounced as a single word, "icks". This holds true for the Japanese version, despite the lack of an "i" in the logo.[3]
  • iX sets a number of milestones for the series, being:
    • The first major game in the series to have a multi-platform release.
    • The first major game to be released on PlayStation.
    • The first major game to not be directed by Yoshihisa Tsuda.
    • The first major game not to be localized by 8-4, Ltd.
    • The first major game to not feature mid-stage dialogue (not counting the original localization of Azure Striker Gunvolt).
    • The first game to use full body character portraits in cutscenes as opposed to just head-shots.
    • The first game to not launch as a Nintendo exclusive.
    • The first game to have a simultaneous physical release.
    • The first game to not feature Gunvolt as a main protagonist/playable character.
    • The first game to feature stages set in daytime as opposed to always nighttime.
    • The first game to not feature a purple boss.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Korean Website
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chinese Website
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Interview with Takuya Aizu
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gematsu interview with Takuya Aizu
  5. Korean interview with Takuya Aizu and Toshiaki Tai
  6. Inti Creates panel at Anime Expo 2019
  7. Interview with Matt Papa
  8. 8.0 8.1 Limited Run Games Twitter
  9. Inti Creates JP Twitter
  10. Website Product Page
  11. DualShockers Preview

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