Punishing Gray Raven Closed Beta Impressions | Combo Constructs

Punishing Gray Raven Closed Beta Impressions

Punishing: Gray Raven made quite an impression when it released in China. Developed by Kuro Game, it is a lightning-fast sci-fi-themed action RPG that western players looked upon with envy. Several months later, the confirmation of a global release appeared, putting an end to the speculation and to the waves of English players finding their way into the crowded Chinese servers. This summer, we'll get to assemble a squad of Constructs, the warriors in this game, to fight the Corrupted hordes. We've tried the game for many days during the closed beta, and here are our Punishing Gray Raven closed beta impressions.

Punishing Gray Raven Global Closed Beta Impressions | Action Gameplay

Punishing Gray Raven Global Closed Beta Impressions

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Some players are mistakenly comparing this game to Genshin Impact, perhaps out of desire of seeing more games like miHoYo's hit. However, those who know better are looking to Honkai Impact 3rd as comparison, ironically another game from miHoYo. But that's enough about comparisons, it's time to see what Punishing: Gray Raven has in store for us.

The first thing that you should know is that this is no open world game; instead, you control a Construct in straightforward and small arenas built for quick action. Sometimes you may enter a level where you must use stealth to avoid enemies, or activate a few mechanisms along the way, but the overall idea is simple: clean the area and move on to the next one.

However, the action is extremely well realized, with a focus on combos, which can be aligned by pinging at just the right time. Each character has a few different combos that depend both on timing and matching a few of these pings. It's a clever system that is somewhat original and adds to the already frantic gameplay.

Another aspect that ramps up the adrenaline is the dodge, as this is another crucial mechanic. A perfectly timed dodge will trigger slow motion for a couple of seconds, enabling you to dish out justice on an enemy and eventually turning the tide of battle. I can't stress the significance of mastering the dodge mechanic.

Same as it happens in Honkai Impact 3rd, you control one character at a time but can freely switch between a squad of three at all times. There's a short cooldown period, but it is designed in such a way that you can create two-character combos, if you tap the portrait right in time.

Punishing Gray Raven Global Closed Beta Impressions | Construct Story

You'll have a team of Constructs in no time, as usual by resorting to a character gacha system, called R&D (Research and Development) here – here's our Punishing Gray Raven tier list. You're guaranteed an S-rank Construct every 60 attempts and an A-rank or above Construct every 10 pulls, so it's not that terrible.

There's also a weapon gacha, something that is infinitely less appealing that pulling new Constructs, but eventually you're going to have to focus on this as well, especially because you can aim for a set of specific weapons, instead of entirely relying on chance.

The main campaign won't take you ages to complete, although things can get tricky around chapter six. There is a bit of resource grinding to do, but it doesn't feel as harsh as in other similar games. The story gets more interesting because you have this Hidden branch, where you occasionally control characters such as bosses, giving you a very interesting look on the other side of the barricade – the storyline feels less linear, and sometimes you even feel sorry for bashing creatures that ended up being more misunderstood than evil.

You'll often stumble upon progress walls, requiring you to finish a mission from the Hidden path before resuming your Normal storyline. To do this, you must level up your Constructs as required, something that can be done through many ways. You can spend your stamina by auto-completing missions, or make your way to specific resource gathering levels.

Or you can try other events when you have unlocked them, such as cooperative raids. Other interesting and rewarding ways of leveling up is by challenging yourself in the War Zone and Phantom Pain Cage events, sometimes based upon a rank system that requires you to achieve certain thresholds before you can claim the rewards.

Your Constructs are people too – well, part of them – and need some leisure time as well. That's where the Punishing: Gray Raven housing system enters – called a Dorm, you can decorate and craft furniture, increasing the well-being of your chibi characters. Completing missions in the Dorm rewards you with presents, among other things, that can be gifted to the Constructs to raise your affinity level. Bonuses such as voice work, personal stories, and curiosities can be unlocked through gifts.

Punishing Gray Raven Global Closed Beta Impressions | De-Constructed

In terms of graphics, Punishing: Gray Raven isn't quite up to the standard of its direct rival, Honkai Impact 3rd. The bleak and grim tone of the scenarios is understandable, but that's not enough of an argument to justify the somewhat stripped locations such as deserts and devastated urban areas. More detail to the arenas, especially in textures, would go a long way, and the same can be said about the Constructs – they are definitely stylish, but the 3D models could feature a bit more detail.

To end our thoughts on this Punishing Gray Raven global closed beta, I'll say that this is a thrilling action game that will please fans of the genre. You will make use of your skills, your reflexes, and the ping system is something that only the best players will make the most of. The downside of it is that it can and will get a bit repetitive if you don't take regular breaks, since you're eventually going to hit a point where the resource grind gets in the way.

Still, the western release will surely be received with arms wide open by fans of stylish action games. The Punishing: Gray Raven release date is set for this summer on Android and iOS.

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