La Punishing review: Gray Raven confirms how the mobile game landscape is now extremely multifaceted, capable of offering both simple and essential experiences but also elaborate and with a certain depth, especially on a technical level. This is a concept now widely cleared through customs, which however the new action RPG developed by the Chinese team Kuro Game is keen to reiterate.
Halfway between Never Automata e Honkai Impact 3rd, the game puts us in command of a group of fighters charged with freeing the planet from the hordes of Taken who have invaded it, using spectacular combos and special maneuvers within the short but intense missions that make up the long campaign.
There are many narrative references to Punishing: Gray Raven to the aforementioned NieR Automata: from the post-apocalyptic setting to characters that we will have to check in the course of the game, often female. Constructs, as they are called: individuals endowed with peculiar abilities and cybernetic implants capable, among other things, of deactivating their own pain centers to transform themselves into real war machines.
Each fighter boasts a background narrative that can be explored or ignored beautifully, focusing rather on the heart of the action. However, it would be a shame, because among the verbose dialogues of the interlude sequences there is more than one interesting point; as well as on the enemy front, robots controlled by a sort of collective mind, a plague that responds to the name of The Punishing.
In terms of gameplay, Punishing: Gray Raven is an immediate and fun action RPG, which does not give up the typical elements of the genre (see the numerical representation of the damage inflicted) and includes the inevitable gacha aspects that have long characterized most of these productions, but it is played really that is a pleasure thanks also to a control system dry, precise and essential touch.
In fact, it is enough to touch a single button to launch the attacks, a second button to carry out the dodge (which, when performed perfectly, gives life to a special bullet time that amplifies the effectiveness of the shots), subject to cooldown and therefore not reiterable to ' infinity, and a series of small icons that appear as we beat opponents, allowing you to unleash a whole series of spectacular special maneuvers, including a devastating finisher.
One can dial one team and enhance its members, switch from one to the other at any time (even here as long as you wait for the end of a cooldown period) and take advantage of its characteristics to overcome different enemies, which also include large bosses. The management of the dodge is not as precise as that seen in Honkai Impact 3rd, which was based on the now classic Bayonetta, but this simplification does not trivialize the experience.
Rather, the highly mobile approach of the game thinks about it, that is a structure composed of very short missions without depth or complexity, which are completed quickly to marry the concept of gaming on the move, but end up just to disappoint those looking for a certain kind of consistency from such a production, which would have been perfectly capable of offering it given its many qualities.
We come then to the graphics, which can be adjusted from the options in order to bring the frame rate to 60 fps and improve the overall visual impact. On the iPhone 12 Pro these settings are managed without problems and, above all, without overheating the device as often happens in these cases. The eye-catcher is also truly remarkable, thanks to the excellent use of cel shading and a rather inspired design.
The scenarios inevitably pay duty, being re-proposed within the same paths and thus covering the heavy demands of a rather long campaign. From the point of view of numbers, however, the game resumes thanks to the many different enemies that we will be able to face, as well as to the same characters that we will be able to unlock with the credits earned up to that moment.
CommentTested version iPhone Digital Delivery App Store, Google Play Price Free Resources4Gaming.com
Punishing: Gray Raven is a very remarkable mobile action RPG, perhaps not original, but fascinating in its narrative implications, very nice to see (especially with all the graphic adjustments to the maximum) and above all equipped with an immediate and solid combat system, with a excellent impact performance and the variety guaranteed by the style and skills of the different unlockable characters. The action can get repetitive and microtransactions peep out from a certain point on, but it will still be worth it to get there considering the great qualities of the Kuro Game title.
- Immediate and fun combat system
- Excellent cel shaded graphics
- Very long campaign, many characters
- Short missions, sometimes repetitive action
- Gacha elements and freemium mechanisms