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Gal Gun: Double Peace (PlayStation 4) artwork

Gal Gun: Double Peace (PlayStation 4) review


"It's hard to describe Gal Gun: Double Peace with a straight face, but fairly easy to enjoy actually playing it."


How would you like to hop into a slice-of-life anime series? I have to admit that I sometimes would love to do precisely that. And since Gal Gun: Double Peace allows me to take a bold step in that direction, I can't help but recommend it to other people who share my interests... even though the game has some mild issues.

The idea in Gal Gun: Double Peace, which is the sequel to a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 title that never made it to America, is that you are a high school student who has just been shot with a super-sized dose of sex appeal. This was an accident on the part of an angel trainee, who was distracted because she saw that you were being targeted by a pesky demon. Unfortunately, it's an accident with some distressing ramifications: if you don't find your one true love by sunset, you're doomed to a lonely existence.

Because you're super irresistible at the moment, and also a youth, the game takes the form of a rail shooter that plays out almost entirely at the local high school. There's a nearby park and a waterfront pathway, but mostly you'll explore classrooms, the library, the track, the gym and so forth. Other students--all girls--and a few faculty members--all women--will swarm you as you try to navigate the building. They are drawn to you until sundown, and they won't take "No" for an answer. However, you can blast them with your love gun, or caress them briefly in a mini-game, and they'll collapse to the floor in obvious bliss as you flee the scene.

A stage begins with you strolling through a particular area. You'll automatically do whatever is necessary to navigate while the camera follows the action as if you are viewing everything through a GoPro feed. Sometimes, you'll climb onto the top of book shelves to escape the mobs, or you'll duck into a hallway and watch ecstatic girls rush past you as they search for your sexy bod. In a few cases, you'll even venture into underground caverns, and suddenly find yourself looking up into the changing room. You pervert!

Fan service, as you might suppose, is a big part of the Double Peace package. When you're in the aforementioned cave and peering through a hole in the floor, you will see panties. More typically, as you roam a stage, you can zoom in and view the girls up close, seeing through their outer layer of clothing to the bra that lurks beneath. Despite being rated M for Mature in North America, though, the game quite appropriately doesn't aim for more than mild titillation. You won't see any actual nudity, or indeed, much of anything that wouldn't appear in a PG-rated anime. Considering the age of some of the characters depicted, that's for the best.

To be sure, there is still plenty of innuendo, despite the lack of actual sex. Girls make occasional comments that suggest their minds are in the bedroom. Ahead of one particular mini-game, you can choose to make a lewd comment from one of several menu options and your lady friend will say that she's not quite ready for you to "do it," though intercourse isn't even on the protagonist's mind at that particular moment. Elsewhere, some poses are rather suggestive, though the lovely ladies remain fully clothed.

The game element that potential observers are most likely to find objectionable is the "Doki Doki" mode. It comes in two varieties. As you move through an area, you can press the Triangle button to freeze the action and then highlight the girls currently on the screen that you wish to interact with more extensively. Then you have a set amount of time to move a cursor over their bodies and touch them on the face, chest, or thighs. Do so often enough and their meters will fill and they'll sigh in contentment. Target the wrong area and they'll look mildly displeased. A "final" version of this mode centers on your courtship target. She stands around with her arms crossed or whatever, and you need to touch her all over to fill a meter and win her love.

So, then, Gal Gun: Double Peace is basically just a game where you roam hallways and leer at girls who throw themselves at you and like it when you fondle them, right? Well, that's not entirely true. There actually are some compelling gameplay systems lurking behind the scenes. Also, there are tons of endings. I beat the first story path in maybe an hour and a half, but I didn't get the good ending for that character. You have to really pay attention if you want to see everything the campaign has to offer, and if you want to snag each Trophy.

Playing through a stage is easy. You can continue as often as you need to, provided you don't mind taking a hit to your score. But playing through the game properly is more difficult. Before stages, girls make requests. You need to find items to win their affections. And you have to answer dialogue prompts in certain ways, and adjust your stats so that you have more choices... which is done by purchasing items at the in-game shop with currency that you earn based on your rank. At the same time, you need to scan areas to find hidden student body cards, and you need to scan student bodies to find bust size and hip measurements and such, so that you can gather more vital stats on your unlikely journey. That's to say nothing of the combo-based scoring system.

I don't want to pretend that any of those meatier elements suddenly turn Gal Gun: Double Piece into a profound experience. They don't change the core mechanics, but at least they give you reasons to keep playing. Unfortunately, it's far too easy to screw something up until you really come to grips with the various systems, which means that committed players will want to keep multiple save files going at once. And you might want to look up some FAQs for help with finding objects, or answering dialogue prompts, since the process is far from intuitive. It's entirely possible that even after making such efforts, you will miss out on half of what the game has to offer without even realizing it. I really do feel like the developers could have handled that aspect a bit better.

At least they succeed where it counts, though. Like I said at the start of the review, Double Peace makes you feel like you've hopped right into an anime. There aren't a lot of purely unique environments, but the ones that are available do resemble background artwork that you've probably seen in dozens of anime series by now. Wandering through them is a real treat, and the game knows better than to stress you out while you out while you do it. I'd much rather evade girls who are trying to profess their misguided love for me than an undead horde, for instance. The first activity is a great way to wind down after a tough day at work or whatever. The second one just leads to stress, and I have plenty of that already.

If you aren't horrified by rampant fan service and you don't mind the thought of playing through a generally repetitive rail shooter in search of a high score or unlockables, though, I definitely recommend giving Gal Gun: Double Peace a shot. If you think the whole concept sounds excessively tacky, and especially if you believe anime and fan service are beneath you, then it's probably in your best interests to stay as far away from the game as possible. I can't imagine that you'll find much to like about it. I plan to keep my copy around, though, if only as proof that not every shooter must necessarily involve aliens, zombies or terrorists. Sometimes, adoring schoolgirls work just as well.

4/5

honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (August 15, 2016)

Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.

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