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Fates are sealed as paradigms shift and a new era unfolds.
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Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 is a Run-and-Gun game in the Azure Striker Gunvolt Series developed by Inti Creates, with assistance from Keiji Inafune of Level-5 comcept as "Action Supervisor". It is the fifth game in the Gunvolt series (following Luminous Avenger iX 2) and the third main numbered entry (following Azure Striker Gunvolt 2). The game was released for the Nintendo Switch on July 28th, 2022 and for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on August 2, 2022. A PC version for Steam was released on October 13, 2022 while the Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 versions were released December 15, 2022.

Eden's defeat at the end of Gunvolt 2 put a temporary halt to the disaster looming over the planet. However, the myriad trials Gunvolt has endured caused a metamorphosis within him to activate, awakening to a dangerous new power only known as "Primal Dragon" and causing his Azure Striker powers to run amok. Desperate to stop himself from losing control, Gunvolt turned himself over to Sumeragi, his former sworn enemy, and with the power of 1000 Glaives, sealed himself away.

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Many years later, Shadow Yakumo, a sister organization of Sumeragi, receives word of a dangerous threat lurking in the depths of Sumeragi's facilities. Kirin, a Battle Maiden from Shadow Yakumo, is sent to assess the situation, and uses her power, Radiant Fetters, to stop a transformed Gunvolt on the verge of rampage. Now with Gunvolt by her side, Kirin sets forth to stop an outbreak of Primal Dragon incidents caused by Gunvolt's rampant power, but unbeknownst to them, a shadowy organization from a distant land seeks to use that power to change the world as we know it...

Gunvolt 3 aims to completely alter the gameplay of the Gunvolt series in ways never before seen. Kirin and Gunvolt work together as a Tag Team, using each others' powers to wreak havoc on enemies. Kirin is a melee-focused Adept whose Septima, Radiant Fetters, allows her to use talismans to disable enemy Collision Damage and chain together attacks to defeat multiple foes in succession. By building Fetters Gauge, Kirin can tag out and trade places with Gunvolt, whose awakened might has evolved his powers to their most potent iteration yet, giving him access to the almighty Voltaic Arts. In lieu of a traditional equipment system, players can obtain Image Pulses, illusions given form by the combined power of Azure Striker and Radiant Fetters. Image Pulses can be equipped to the duo to grant them passive boons or summon them for powerful support or attacks, and can be upgraded by spending Credits to strengthen their abilities.

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This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Obtaining all non-DLC Image Pulses and beating the Final Boss rewards you with the Joke Ending.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: After Kirin is killed by Gunvolt and Moebius's Astral Order, she is bestowed the powers of Djinn's Wish and Golden Trillion, resurrecting her and powering up her Septima to grant her infinite Talismans.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The plot point regarding Xiao's plans with Mytyl's muse powers and his partnership with Nori at the end of the second game is completely ignored, let alone mentioned, save in the Joke Ending. Likewise, Copen's escalating crusade goes unmentioned.
    • Despite it being a core theme for the series, the Adept and human conflict that was established in the previous two titles is not followed up on.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: As with previous titles in the series, the highest level you can reach is 99. By the time you collect all non-DLC Image Pulses, you'll likely already have reached the maximum level cap.
  • Actionized Sequel:
    • The trailers demonstrate Gunvolt's new range of actions. In addition to having more flexible mobility in the air, his Flashfield has been replaced by the ability to fire salvos of electric bolts at Tagged foes. Kirin can do the same, with every successful Arc Chain, she can repeat the process and remain in the air as long as the enemy is marked.
    • The gameplay is much faster paced, being akin to a 2D platforming Stylish Action, Kirin's talismans and Gunvolt's Dart Leader shots can now be aimed and auto-locks on enemies. Upon marking and tagging foes, GV and Kirin can then quickly warp into them and finish them with an Arc Chain and Voltaic Arts respectively.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite being on the cover art and advertised as a main character like in previous games, Lumen has little impact on the game's plot overall save for exactly one critical plot development late in the game. She mostly stands around bantering with Gunvolt and Kirin once in a while while the latter two do most of the heavy lifting.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • In Serpentine's stage, you get to hear some... pretty interesting Enemy Chatter from the male ATEMS members about how they want her to dominate them (sexually). Kirin and Gunvolt are pretty weirded out. B.B. unsurprisingly joins in on it.
    • Subverted in Golden Palace 2 "Karma" where Serpentine's illusion of Male Zonda blatantly flirts with Kirin and all but outright suggests a threesome with her and Gunvolt, but as anyone who's played 2 knows Zonda is actually a young teenaged girl.
  • Alternate Universe: The Nova boss battle takes place in one where Nova gained the Azure Striker Septima in addition to Psychokinesis.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The time period of this game is even more difficult to pinpoint, since 20 Minutes into the Future is no longer in effect due to the Time Skip with only a vague mention of "several decades". The only definitive hint as to how far along this game takes place relative to the prequels is in the Asimov boss battle, which is heavily implied to take place in a version of the Luminous Avenger iX timeline. Assuming the timelines are synched, it would at least place Gunvolt 3 before 100 years in the future.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: BB's stage, Holy Night XIII, happens on Christmas eve, where a berserk BB laments that no one accepts his invitation to go on a date, causing him to lash out until Kirin and GV stops him.
    BB: Listen up, everyone! Christmas is officially cancelled!
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Clearing D-nizer Mode unlocks a Passive Image Pulse in the main game that applies a Palette Swap to Gunvolt. Clearing the harder versions of D-nizer Mode unlocks new colors to use.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Similar to the Bullit Dash, Kirin's Talismans and Gunvolt's Darts have a soft homing property that allows them to lock on if the firing angle is close enough to the target, ensuring that you don't have to perfectly line up your shots to hit them.
    • There is now a Log feature that allows you to read dialogue from the pause menu, so you don't always have to look at the bottom of the screen to get all of the lore. It even includes skipped dialogue if you skip past it by progressing far enough, ensuring you don't have to slow down just to read the text.
    • A small but significant change was made to the scoring system in this game: Unlike previous entries, where losing your Kudos at any point means that you likely have to start the entire stage over if you're going for a high rank, in this game your Kudos are "banked" into score at each checkpoint without actually taking your Kudos away, ensuring you aren't completely screwed if you die.
    • In addition, triggering Anthem doesn't delete your Kudos like it does in previous games; it simply freezes your ability to earn Kudos until you clear the current area or beat the boss. This actually makes it more beneficial for your score as opposed to dying since you get to keep your Kudos.
    • Similar to the Autochrome fight in Luminous Avenger iX 2, the battle against a rogue Sumeragi seaplane robot in the Stormy Megafloat stage takes place over a bottomless pit. If you're in the air when it's defeated, the defeat animation won't start playing until you land on solid ground. If you still fall into the pit anyway after it's defeated, the game immediately respawns you on solid ground without taking any health like usual.
    • Since the chance of bosses getting an Auto-Revive is completely random, you get a bunch of free boons if it happens; on top of the bosses having much less HP than normal, SP Skills instantly recharge and Gunvolt does not revert if you used his SP Skill for a Skill Finish, allowing you to quickly take out the additional health bar. You can also get a second Skill Finish for even more Kudos, and the game gives you a bonus Image Pulse for free.
    • Due to the game's heavy reliance on Arc Chain for certain stage elements and enemy gimmicks, Gunvolt's Lightning Assault (his counterpart to Arc Chain) costs no extra Fetters Gauge to execute initially, allowing him to get around these without worrying too much about burning additional Fetters Gauge. This can be exploited when playing as Special GV; since points are meaningless when going for SS Rank, you can quickly generate more Fetters Gauge than normal by using it to earn Double/Triple bonuses over Lock-On Flashfield in many situations. The game does have an Obvious Rule Patch, however; if you attempt to spam Lightning Assault on a boss by Button Mashing, the game will start draining your Fetters Gauge at an astronomical rate.
    • As Special GV is on a timer and thus must move as quickly as possible, the game subtly makes a few adjustments to prevent wasted time. For example, any Multi-Mook Melee rooms in the second half of the game no longer spawn extra mobs that do not give Kudos (and thus skips the associated dialogue), and bosses will never Auto-Revive.
    • There are no unique Image Pulse drops on Very Hard Mode aside from its First Pulse bonuses, allowing the player to freely grind the easier Normal and Hard difficulties, where Passive Image Pulses are usable, for elusive drops.
    • Gunvolt gains a permanent Power-Up Magnet in D-nizer Mode as if he always has Carerra's Passive Image Pulse equipped, as Credits are required to purchase new equipment and Gunvolt cannot get them any other way except drops.
    • As the final stage in D-nizer Mode is a Boss-Only Level, Gunvolt is awarded an item that automatically maxes out his Fetters Gauge for free so that you are not required to conserve gauge on Golden Palace 3.
    • Version 1.1.0 tweaks the Image Pulse collection system by guaranteeing players will receive at least one new Image Pulse if possible after completing a mission. This massively cuts down on the Luck-Based Mission nature of collecting them.
  • Arrange Mode: D-nizer Mode was added in the 1.1.0 update. It is an endurance mode where you play through every stage in the game up to the final ZedΩ fight while exclusively using a special version of Gunvolt. Rather than having access to Kirin, Gunvolt can "Dragonize" and temporarily transform into Anthem Gunvolt, but using Anthem Gunvolt fills the G-Counter at the bottom left; if the G-Counter reaches 100%, it causes a Non Standard Game Over. Credits earned in the mode can be used to purchase special Passive Image Pulses to supercharge Gunvolt's abilities. After clearing D-nizer, you can play harder versions, including Abilities Off (disabling Accessories) and Zero Counter (disabling Accessories and D-nize).
  • Art Evolution: In addition to carrying over animated character portrait during Limit Break from Luminous Avenger iX 2, now skill names are given distinct typefaces for each character, such as cursive kanji for Kirin, comic sans-like font for Shiron, thick stocky font for Grazie or even shaky distorted font for berserk GV's Vanishing World.
  • Assist Character: The new Image Pulse system allows Kirin and Gunvolt to summon illusory copies of other characters, including ones from previous games, to attack their enemies. The trailer debuting this shows one of this game's bosses being summoned, followed by Viper and Jota. According to the developers, there are over 150 of these assists to collect and use.
  • Auto-Revive:
    • Dying as Kirin has a chance to trigger Lumen's Anthem, upon which Gunvolt is released and goes Berserk, harnessing limitless power to annihilate all who stand in his way. There's a catch this time though: due to how unstable Berserk Gunvolt's powers are, Anthem has a hidden time limit on it, represented by the edges of the screen blinking red at accelerating pace. While the time limit is fairly generous, take too long, take too many hits or use too many skills and Gunvolt will lose his limiters and transform into the Primal Dragon, causing a Non Standard Game Over as he heralds The End of the World as We Know It. Obtaining and equipping The Djinn Passive Image Pulse (only available as a Very Hard Mode award) guarantees Anthem will activate upon death.
    • After a boss is defeated, there is a chance that Layla will appear and cast her Djinn's Wish Septima, reviving the boss and effectively giving them a fourth health bar. She is scripted to always do so during the last fight with ZedΩ (complete with a unique dialogue line) as well as when Kirin dies to Berserk Gunvolt's Astral Order.
    • The "Resurrection" Elise DLC Skill Image Pulse grants Kirin a buff that summons Elise to cast her Septima if Kirin dies, resurrecting her with full health and boosting the Fetters Gauge. It can only be used once per stage.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • One of the moves Kirin can learn is a Dash Attack that can be performed by pressing the R button while in the reload stance. This causes Kirin to rush forward with invulnerability, and an upgrade obtained in the second half of the game adds a slash attack to the end. Unfortunately, this has very little application throughout the game, as reloading requires Kirin to be on the ground, a situation she rarely finds herself in during stages if playing optimally, and in boss battles there are generally more efficient ways of dodging attacks via Arc Chain.
    • Gunvolt's air dash can now tag enemies the same way Copen can do so in his own playable appearances, which sounds cool on paper. The problem is that unlike Copen, who has vastly superior aerial control, Gunvolt gets very little bounce off a foe when he collides with it, meaning that unless the thing you're attacking has suffered knockback and/or you're holding the directional stick away from the foe on impact, more often than not you'll just end up getting yourself hit and losing precious Fetters Gauge.
  • Background Music Override:
    • As per usual, although the mechanics have been changed slightly to accommodate the updated Kudos system. Upon reaching 1000 Kudos, Lumen will appear and start signing, signaling Kudos Song Lv. 1. Gain enough Kudos to hit Kudos Song Lv. 2, and the Kudos counter will turn gold and Lumen will sing the game's theme song, "Memoria of 'He'". Increase it further still to Kudos Song Lv. 3, and the song will be replaced by "Traces".
    • Layla's Djinn's Wish Passive Image Pulse replaces the music with her own song, "Boundless Myth".
  • Bag of Spilling: Gunvolt does not have any of the guns or clips from the previous game, although this can probably be Hand Waved by the Time Skip, with the closest equivalent being the Elise 2 DLC Passive Image Pulse that allows him to Tag up to nine times with no decrease in overall damage. However, he also does not have access to the Azure Spirits or additional SP Skills from the previous game directly (he uses a souped-up Crashbolt when tagging in with Kirin and uses powered-up versions of Crashbolt and Grand Strizer during the True Final Boss Fight), though he's kept all three of his regular offensive SP Skills (though once again they're tweaked so that they're either his Limit Break depending on how much of the Fetters Gauge was built up before transforming or regular attacks while in Anthem).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The True Ending ends with a new Adept crisis in full swing as Primal Dragon incidents sweep the globe, and Gunvolt himself has disappeared to parts unknown. However, Kirin's efforts have ensured Gunvolt's survival, and by his sacrifice, Gunvolt's efforts have created a path of hope towards a brighter future.
  • Book Ends: The first boss fight in the game is a Primal Dragon Gunvolt. The final boss of the game is a Moebius-empowered Gunvolt.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Lola (P-Bit Mode)'s Flashshield is a fairly standard defensive tool, but considering that Kirin does not have an equivalent ability outside of parrying projectiles (unlike Gunvolt's Flashfield), it helps cover the gaps in her defenses when required.
    • Likewise, Lola (Idol Mode) simply provides healing, but its short cooldown and instant use makes it useful in a pinch.
    • B.B.'s passive Image Pulses give Kirin additional air jumps after using Arc Chain. Very basic upgrade, but considering Kirin needs to stay in the air to maintain Chain combos, having additional air jumps can make the difference in high scoring.
    • Desna's passive Image Pulses similarly increase the height of Kirin's (ground and air) jumps. Very basic, but it works works for helping Kirin position herself properly to launch her talismans to keep Arc Chaining or just to better reach a platform otherwise unreachable.
    • Monica's passive Image Pulses increases EXP gain. As leveling up means unlocking more slots for passive Image Pulses, it's very beneficial in the early and mid-game.
    • Xiao's passive Image Pulses gives a 50% chance for an enemy to drop extra Credits upon defeat, and Shiron's passive Image Pulses increase the value of Credits obtained. As Credits are needed to level up the stronger Image Pulses, these make farming much easier.
    • Tenjian's passive Image Pulse boosts the power behind Kirin's sword strikes, while Kirin's own passive Image Pulse boosts her offensive power against a foe she's tagged and performing an Arc Chain on. Nothing fancy, but particularly useful on higher difficulties against beefier enemies.
    • Gunvolt has a ton of new toys to utterly decimate foes, including his new Voltaic Arts, but to offset his overpowered attributes all of his Kudos Bonuses from the previous games have been eliminated except for Double/Triple and Skill Finish, and he cannot earn Kudos at all with his other moves besides Lightning Discharge, his standard R button attack. This means that in spite of all the crazy One-Hit Kill maneuvers you can pull off, aiming for Kudos as Gunvolt essentially still boils down to tagging and frying just like every other game.
    • The Elise 2 passive Image Pulse simply lets Gunvolt Tag more. The catch is that he can now Tag up to nine times with no decrease in overall power, meaning his effective attack range and damage just skyrockets.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The final two missions consist exclusively of boss battles.
    • Unlike previous games, where Secret Missions are harder variants of existing stages, the Secret Missions in this game are simply boss fights against each stage's respective boss, allowing you to practice them without having to repeat whole stages. Secret Mission 13 serves as the resident Boss Rush.
  • Boss Rush: In a twist, the final three missions do not include a boss rush, since there are only four ATEMS Knights available split up amongst three stages. The closest is Golden Palace 2, which features fights against Jota/Viper, Zonda/Tenjian, Teseo/Merak (added and optional in Version 1.2 onwards), and Serpentine, but there's still an actual stage in between each encounter. There's also the standard traditional boss rush as Secret Mission 13.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: During the decades he was sealed, Gunvolt began emitting an energy byproduct known as Dragon Radiation, a malignant form of radiation that causes other Adepts to become Primal Dragons, but has no immediate effects at low doses. However, due to the lengthy Time Skip, the large amount of Dragon Radiation emitted has begun to cause Adepts across the country to become Primal Dragons, causing them to run amok and cause havoc. In addition, Adepts who become Primal Dragons emit Dragon Radiation that affects weaker Adepts around them and even machines, turning them hostile.
  • Break Them by Talking: Serpentine's illusions attempt this in addition to literally trying to break the heroes. In addition to adopting the powers of the originals, the illusions also inherit the "personality" of the original but twists them to psychologically torment their target. Late in the game, Gunvolt and Kirin encounter illusions based on the Sumeragi Swordsmen and Eden's Seven, who sow seeds of doubt into Gunvolt over whether he has been truly fighting for the right things. Kirin, who is an outsider to Gunvolt's past, helps reassure him that no matter what he did in the past, the only thing that matters is what he does today.
  • The Bus Came Back: In-stage dialogue, officially referred to as "Story Mode+", returns in 3 after being mostly absent from the Luminous Avenger iX duology.
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • Gunvolt reveals that he left Quinn after accidentally harming her with his Primal Dragon powers.
    • In the True Ending, Gunvolt uses Astral Order to escape his timeline and attempt to Screw Destiny to save the future.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Gunvolt DLC Image Pulse, which depicts the Azure Striker Gunvolt version of Gunvolt, changes Gunvolt's Kudos scoring mechanics to be identical to that of previous games, with Double awarding +100, Triple awarding +250, and Skill Finish awarding +500 on minibosses and +1000 on bosses.
    • In D-nizer Mode, the Passive Image Pulse system is renamed to "Accessories" and all of the "Image Pulses" are renamed to sound like equipment that Gunvolt would wear in the previous games, such as "Fetters Ornament" and "Heirloom Bell+".
    • The plot point of Gunvolt's Septima "evolving" in scope and power to a new level is eerily similar to Asimov "breaking" his own Azure Striker Septima and becoming an Elemental Embodiment of electricity in Luminous Avenger iX. Indeed, some reading in-between the lines hints that state was Asimov's own Primal Dragon transformation.
    • Much like the last two main games, Gunvolt's tutorial level involves using his discharge attack to open shutters.
    • In the True Final Boss battle of the first game, Asimov mentions that Project GUNVOLT was designed to create a limitless energy source. In 3, it's revealed that they turned Gunvolt into exactly that while he was being sealed, in the process generating enough spare energy that the entire country was able to ditch fossil fuels.
    • Gunvolt states that he based his new air dashing abilities off Copen's tricks back in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, who could Tag enemies with his air dash just like Gunvolt can in 3.
    • In one chat, Shiron mentions about purple shiba inu, and Lumen remarks that sounds familiar. In the first game, one chat has Joule claim that she was bitten by a purple shiba inu. In both cases, Gunvolt is not convinced such a dog exists.
    • During the requisite midpoint crisis, Gunvolt is inspired by Teseo's ability to turn into data to turn himself into pure electricity and warp to the top of a ballistic missile.
    • Near the game's climax, ATEMS takes over UTU Media Tower and weaponizes Layla's Magic Music to knock out all nearby Adepts, a tactic nearly identical to Sumeragi's plans for Project Muse back in the original game. The similarities aren't lost on Gunvolt, as he reminisces about Project Muse during the final stages. The similarities only get stronger with The Reveal of ATEMS' intent to use Layla's Magic Music to control Moebius in order to change the world for the better. ZedΩ even directly brings up how he knows about Gunvolt's battle against Nova in the first game.
    • The Sunglasses of Lightning Accessory, the D-nizer Mode version of the "Azure Striker" Asimov Passive Image Pulse, is named after the Cool Shades that Asimov sports in the first game.
    • Starting from version 1.2, falling down a specific bottomless pit will instead cause a wormhole to appear and whisk Kirin and GV to meet Merak and Teseo. Back in the first game, Gunvolt reaches Merak's room also by falling down a pit where a wormhole appears to take him to Merak.
    • Asimov retains his Flashfield charge attack from his original boss battle. If you are in Berserk GV state (via Anthem), you can block it with your own Flashfield just like in the original game.
  • Call-Forward: The Asimov fight is all but stated to take place in an Alternate Universe version of the Luminous Avenger iX timeline. The fight takes place in the same room where the Butterfly Effect is located in the Bad Future, and Asimov wants to use Radiant Fetters to prevent his "dead end", indicating that he is losing stability over his human form and is anticipating his transformation into Demerzel. He also mentions wanting to "remove unnecessary parts" when he makes Kirin his new "Queen", in reference to Mytyl's fate in iX as a giant brain hooked up to a machine.
  • Christmas Episode: Downtown Christmas takes place on Christmas Eve. Kirin notes that the Sumeragi infantrymen were pretty pissed about being deployed the night before the big holiday.
  • Collision Damage: While present normally, one of the main features of Kirin touted in early gameplay previews is her Tag ability, which allows her to pass through enemies without being harmed by them.
  • Combination Attack:
    • The Dual Boss Limit Break attacks featured in Golden Palace 2: Incandescent Blade is Jota's Phosporescence combined with Viper's Reflugence, while Wonder-Ice Prison is Zonda's Phantasmagoria combined with Tenjian's Frigid Blossom/Seven Slashes.
    • Similarly, Lazy Noisy Fortress is Merak's Lazy Laser combined with Teseo's Impregnable Fortress.
  • Combos: Kirin has the ability to activate Arc Chain with the A button after tagging at least one foe. Executing multiple enemies in rapid succession with Arc Chain without touching the ground starts a Chain, which multiplies Kudos gain for each kill and grants additional Kudos bonuses.
  • Company Cross References: One of the chats has Shiron geeking out over a video game where you play as a mech-riding corgi fighting demons in a castle.
  • Conlang: A very Downplayed example. When the UTU Media Tower was taken over by ATEMS and converted it into their personal palace, a news headline and a ticker has the words and sentences blurred out. However a closer look reveals that the words are actually in English and one of the sentences misspells the Japanese name of UTU Media Tower, "Amaterasu" as "Amateur-Terrace".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the Stormy Megafloat stage, Kirin brings up Gunvolt's fear of water, in reference to Merak's stage in the first game where Gunvolt was unable to use his powers underwater. Gunvolt clarifies that his Primal Dragon powers have enabled use of his Septima underwater, and that powers aside he has conventional swimming training.
    • A few chats involve the other Dragon Saviors members building model kits based on old Sumeragi war machines. These include the Mantis and Spyder prototypes that never made it to full production, both of which Gunvolt recounts fighting several decades ago during his previous operations.
    • One chat has the team checking out the beta for Sumeragi's latest installment in the "September" series, which originally started as an MMO called "September Record" played by Elise and Merak in the voice dramas in the first game. For better or worse, the series has been continuing so long that the latest installment is subject to Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo and Overly Long Title: "September Universe Tri-Age Spirits: Prologue of Reminiscence IV (Working Title)".
    • Many of the Passive Image Pulse effects take inspiration from the characters that they are attached to.
      • Quinn's Image Pulses all deal with healing, as Quinn herself was a source of support for Gunvolt for a good chunk of his life.
      • "Azure Striker" Asimov is one of the few Image Pulses that affect Gunvolt by making it easier to perform Voltaic Busters, since Asimov has the same Septima as him.
      • Elise's Image Pulses enhance the Wall Jump ability, calling back to her acrobatic stunts in her boss battle.
      • Stratos's Image Pulses give Life Drain, a trait shared by his own Septima.
      • Carrera's Image Pulses function as a Power-Up Magnet as Carerra's Septima revolves around manipulating magnetism.
      • Copen's Image Pulses boost Kirin's maximum Talisman count, similar to how Copen can increase his maximum Bullit Gauge in Gunvolt 2 and in his own games.
      • Tenjian, a natural swordfighter, boosts Kirin's sword damage.
      • Desna's Image Pulses increase jump height, alluding to how her EX Weapon for Copen functions as a Double Jump.
      • Gibril's Image Pulses function on Critical Status Buff and Discard and Draw, based on the self-harming nature of her Septima's full powers.
  • Cooldown Manipulation:
    • Teseo's passive Image Pulses will reduce the cooldown time of Skill Image Pulses by certain percentages.
    • Apollo's passive Image Pulse reduces the recharge time of any of Kirin's talismans that miss a target.
  • Costume Evolution:
    • The key art for the game shows off Gunvolt's new Badass Longcoat, which has a more armor-like and futuristic appearance than the previous ones and sports the Sumeragi emblem on the back.
    • The Sumeragi mooks now sport completely new uniforms very distinct from Luminous Avenger iX, the helmet visors now take up the head portion, and they now wield a more practical and compact rifle rather than a BFG that is standard issue amongst mooks in prior games.
  • Covert Group: Shadow Yakumo is a shadow organization to Sumeragi that essentially exists to keep them in check and crack down on them if they do anything too unscrupulous or suspicious. Very few people within the company, and even fewer outside it, are aware of their existence or how they operate. This is why Kirin operating out in the open as leader of the Bureau of Dragon Saviors is considered abnormal, since ideally no one should know about her at all. Of course, it's a plot point that Sumeragi has become very good at burying things even Shadow Yakumo struggles to dig up. It took them years and a premonition of one of their own to discover what Sumeragi did to Gunvolt and hid him. And the premonition was actually for an even bigger secret they misattributed to GV.
  • Critical Status Buff:
    • "Golden Trillion" ZedΩ's passive Image Pulse boosts Fetters Gauge generation at low HP.
    • Gibril's Passive Image Pulses boosts Kirin's melee and Talisman damage at low HP.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The Official Premier Trailer states that Gunvolt dismantled Eden, indicating his route in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is the canon one rather than Copen's.
  • Damage Reduction: The Jota, Ghauri, and Grazie passive Image Pulses reduce the amount of damage Kirin takes by varying amounts.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: After being defeated, Primal Dragons expel the Dragon Radiation from their bodies and revert to normal, afterwards joining the Dragon Saviors on their quest.
  • Deflector Shields: The Lola (P-Bits Mode) Image Pulse summons Flashshield for a brief second, protecting Kirin from destructible projectiles.
  • Demoted to Extra: Grand Strizer returns from 2, but is relegated to paid DLC.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Averted for both Kirin's tailsmans and as a first for Gunvolt in this title, as he can now aim his gun up and down when in previous games he had to rely on a different gun's trajectories.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • In Cyber-Kowloon, Shiron's dialogue will differ depending on whether or not you are detected by his camera turrets.
    • In the Forest stage, B.B. is scripted to take out specific enemies if the player is spotted in certain parts of the stage, and the designated enemies are specifically set up in such a way that avoiding them with normal means is rather difficult. However, if you manage to avoid them and defeat them without being spotted, the characters will react accordingly.
    • Kirin's Limit Break name is normally called "92nd Rite Divine Ruin-Heresy" where she combines her attack with GV's, but if used during the S-FIT stage (where she's all by herself), it will be "Divine Ruin-Arc" and the invocation will be different. During the Final Boss fight, Kirin's line, invocation, and tone for "Divine Ruin-Arc" will be different.
    • GV's portait is normally that of his sealed Raiju-self, however, if he's called into action, his dialogue portrait will change to reflect it. Kirin's portrait when GV is active will be illuminated and will speak with an echo effect like Lumen's.
    • In Prado's boss intro, Prado shouts "Little kitten!" at the end of her opening battle cry, directed specifically towards Kirin. In D-nizer Mode, where Kirin is not present, this phrase is omitted from her boss intro.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Gunvolt has a new Kudos Bonus called "Electric", which can only be obtained by defeating 4 or more enemies in a row with Lightning Assault and awards a huge Kudos stash, far more than Doubles or Triples. This works similarly to Kirin's Chain mechanic, but is far more difficult in execution, as for the additional kills to count, Gunvolt must tag another enemy within the very limited window of Bullet Time after using a Lightning Assault and defeat that foe to keep the combo going. Gunvolt cannot turn around or jump either, as doing so cancels the Bullet Time and thus ends the combo.
  • Discard and Draw:
    • The resident Kudos booster equips in this game come in the form of the True Zonda Passive Image Pulses. When equipped, your max HP is capped in exchange for boosting Kudos gain. Unlike previous games, you can stack them, since there are both 1★ and 3★ versions of her; doing so boosts Kudos gain even further but caps your HP so low that it automatically puts you into "critical HP" status.
    • The DLC Passive Image Pulse "The Beast" Gibril increases Kirin's sword and Talisman damage when she has Chain 4.0x, but decreases it when she has Kudos Lock.
    • As SP Skills no longer remove Kudos on use and recharge faster than previous games, Skill Finish bonuses have been removed entirely except on bosses and minibosses, preventing you from cheesing mooks for free points.
    • The "Primal Dragon" Gunvolt passive Image Pulse causes you to start every stage as Special GV. Starting the stage with Gunvolt this way makes him considerably weaker; Concentration only slows the rate of Fetters Gauge depletion rather than halting it completely, Prevasion takes a whopping 30% of the gauge, and Gunvolt's damage output is significantly reduced (although not enough to matter on mooks). In return, Gunvolt can regenerate Fetters Gauge from Kudos Bonuses, and completing the entire stage without letting the Fetters Gauge deplete awards a unique SS rank for bragging rights.
    • The Shiron DLC Passive Image Pulse decreases the damage of Kirin's Talismans and disables her ability to earn Kudos Bonuses in exchange for massively increasing the Kudos earned by dealing damage.
    • The Mytyl DLC Passive Image Pulse reduces the consumption of the Fetters Gauge when playing as Gunvolt, but in return increases the Prevasion consumption. Also, it can't be used in conjunction with the "Primal Dragon" Gunvolt Passive Image Pulse.
    • The Zonda DLC Passive Image Pulse drastically reduces Kirin's sword damage, but greatly increases the damage accumulated by her talismans. This prioritizes Arc Chain kills over simple hack-and-slash.
    • The Kirin XX and "Anthem" LUMEN DLC Passive Image Pulses lock GV into only being able to use Luxcalibur or Voltaic Chains respectively as his SP Skill, preventing him from using any other SP Skills but removing the need to obtain a certain overcharge percentage of the Fetters Gauge before switching him in.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the mission "Holy Night XIII", BB is causing havoc and planning to ruin Christmas because he couldn't get a date. Justified since he's Brainwashed and Crazy, but Kirin calls him out on it during the Casual Danger Dialogue.
  • Distant Sequel: Kirin reveals that the game takes place several decades after the previous installment. This is even alluded to in promotional material, in which Gunvolt is referred to as the "eternally young man" and retains his 14-year old appearance despite the Time Skip.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Copen (Megante Leon)'s Skill Image Pulse has GV1 Copen appear and summon Doppler Desire clones of him that surround Kirin, dealing damage to nearby foes and deflecting projectiles.
  • Double Jump:
    • Kirin can jump once after performing an Arc Chain to cover extra distance and reposition herself for a follow-up. B.B.'s Passive Image Pulses give her extra air jumps after Arc Chaining; his basic 1★ Image Pulse enables one extra jump, while his 3★ counterpart (obtained as a First Pulse reward from Very Hard Mode) can be upgraded to give you infinite air jumps.
    • Gunvolt meanwhile has infinite air jumps by default much like when he had Anthem on during previous games. This includes Special GV, though like with most actions in this state, it will drain Fetters Gauge albeit at a slower pace.
  • Double Unlock: Purchasing DLC Image Pulses does not actually give them to you right away. It instead adds them to existing Image Pulse drop pools, at which point you must farm for them like regular Image Pulses.
  • Downloadable Content: Packs of new Image Pulses with various effects are released every several weeks. Like most Inti Creates DLC, they cost $1.99 but are free for the first two weeks.
    • EX Image Pulse: Stratos and Ghauri adds new Skill Image Pulses based on Stratos and Ghauri, as well as new Passive Image Pulses based on GV2 Joule, Elise, Gibril, and GV1 Gunvolt.
    • Ex Image Pulse: Elise and Asroc adds new Skill Image Pulses based on Elise and Asroc, as well as new Passive Image Pulses based on BB, Shiron, and Corvette (the name of the Sumeragi executive in the intro stage).
    • Ex Image Pulse: Merak and Teseo adds new Skill Image Pulses based on Merak and Teseo, as well as new Passive Image Pulses based on Apollo, Cayman, and Elise.
    • Ex Image Pulse: Nova and Desna adds new Skill Image Pulses based on Nova and Desna, as well as new Passive Image Pulses based on Nova, the Plasma Legion, and GV2 Gunvolt.
    • Ex Image Pulse: Carrera, Gibril, and Milas adds new Skill Image Pulses based on Carrera, Gibril, and Milas, as well as new Passive Image Pulses based on Kirin XX, Lumen, Mytyl, and True Zonda.
  • Dramatic Disappearing Display: If Gunvolt tags in via Anthem, all HUD elements disappear. This is a subtle indicator of Gunvolt's power in this state: The lack of health gauge showcases his invincibility due to permanent Prevasion, and lack of fetters gauge means he can fire off his skills with abandon.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The final boss is Gunvolt, who is under Demonic Possession by Moebius and is unable to control his powers or body.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If Anthem is triggered at all during a stage, the game will cease to provide any Kudos to your score until you destroy a Hexapyle and bring back Kirin.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Gunvolt receives visions of a Bad Future from Moebius depicting him going on a rampage and razing the entire planet to the ground. In order to stop the prophesized future from coming to fruition, he either kills himself (in the normal ending) or Kirin seals Moebius using her Radiant Fetters (in the true ending), whereas if Gunvolt spends too much time in berserk state after Kirin is down, he will actually cause said apocalypse to happen.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Prior to the start of the game, Gunvolt willingly turned himself over to Sumeragi, his former enemies, due to his inability to control his Primal Dragon powers, under the impression that their Glaives may be able to keep him contained. It worked... for a while, at least, but as Gunvolt's powers continued to grow over the years the Glaives became less effective, and if it weren't for Kirin arriving at exactly the right time he would have broken the seal and caused untold destruction.
    • Zed and Layla decide to help Kirin stand up to Moebius at the end of the game, bestowing upon her their Septimal powers in order to resist the might of Astral Order.
  • Eternal Engine: The Abandoned Factory mission takes place at a natural gas processing facility that was shut down due to Sumeragi's Gunvolt Electric operation producing enough free energy to the country to make fossil fuels entirely obsolete. The gimmick of the stage is volatile gas that will detonate when struck by explosives such as missiles, destroying all nearby obstacles and mooks and coating the floor in fire.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The background of the mission select screen shows the office that the Bureau of Dragon Saviors works out of. At the start of the game, when Kirin and Gunvolt are given the room, it is a pristine, barely-touched area populated only by Kirin, Gunvolt and Lumen. As each of the first four stages are cleared, new members are added to the Dragon Saviors, who add their own little personality to the office and gradually transform it into a crowded workspace.
  • Fission Mailed: Shortly into the final battle against Moebius-possessed Gunvolt, he activates Astral Order, which renders him invincible as it drains Kirin to death. Just then, Zed and Layla butt in with their septimas to revive Kirin and counter Astral Order, restarting the final boss fight.
  • Forced Transformation: Prior to the start of the game, Gunvolt's powers went out of control and turned him into a Primal Dragon, and so he voluntarily surrendered himself to Sumeragi in the hopes of containing his Septima, which they did by sealing him with 1000 Glaives. Unfortunately, as his powers grew even stronger over the decades of sealing, the Glaives eventually became less effective and he broke free from them. And it took Kirin's Radiant Fetters (plus Lumen's creation) to properly seal him and contain his Septima to a manageable level.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the very first mission, Kirin comments on how Sumeragi was able to keep Gunvolt's sealed state buried from almost everyone, even the likes of Shadow Yakumo. As it turns out, Sumeragi was hiding more than just GV in that facility under even deeper security and secrecy.
    • Layla's Djinn randomly showing up during the Primal Dragon rampages in the first half of the game to Auto-Revive the bosses (and all of them commenting on the rush they're getting from her Magic Music) were in fact tests conducted by ATEMS to determine how successful actually controlling the sleeping baby Primal Dragon Moebius would be.
  • Gacha Games: A Xenoblade Chronicles 2 style system is used in this game with the Image Chips, collectable emblems scattered around each stage. After collecting them and completing a stage, they will be exchanged for Image Pulses at random, which can come in multiple rarities. Any duplicate Image Pulses will be converted into Credits (5,000 for each 1* and 10,000 for each 3*) to spend on upgrading Image Pulses.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One property of the Arc Chain that is never outright stated is that holding forward while performing it causes Kirin to dash through the target, rather than just stopping in front of it as normal. A number of boss attacks require you to figure this out on your own to dodge them.
    • The game does not fully explain how regaining Fetters Gauge as Special GV works. In addition to earning Double/Triple bonuses with Lock-On Flashfield and Lightning Assault, he can additionally earn back Fetters Gauge by performing Voltaic Buster. While this consumes a chunk of Fetters Gauge, it also recovers gauge based on how many enemies are taken out in a single Voltaic Buster, which can range from refunding the cost (if you only defeat one enemy) to earning back much more than you would have earned otherwise from a Kudos Bonus if you defeat several at once.
    • In order to get access to the bosses added in later updates, the player has to perform unintuitive maneuvers which are only hinted by the game's official website.
      • Merak/Teseo: In Golden Palace 2, jump into a bottomless pit in the penultimate area of the stage after the final checkpoint but before the Hexapyle.
      • Nova: In the Moebius boss battle, equip either of Nova's Image Pulses, then get hit by Moebius' Limit Break as Gunvolt.
      • Asimov: In the Moebius boss battle, equip any of Asimov's Image Pulses, then get hit by Moebius' Limit Break as Berserk GV (Kirin must die first to trigger Anthem).
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. The new heroine Kirin wields a sword while Gunvolt uses his classic dart pistol and electric Septima.
  • Happy Ending Override: At least as far as Gunvolt's fate is concerned. Gunvolt 2 ended with what is possibly the closest to a happy ending the main series can get, with Eden's machinations dismantled, all parties involved surviving, and Mytyl being reunited with her Septima and allowed to live a normal life with Gunvolt choosing to stay away from her and living a life with Quinn. The start of this game involves Gunvolt suddenly suffering massive Power Incontinence and being forced to leave behind Quinn when his powers accidentally hurt her to be sealed away by Sumeragi, in the process nearly causing the end of the world and awakening to a world that has changed so much that it's virtually unrecognizable. There's no word on what happened to the rest of Gunvolt's old comrades or even enemies (i.e. Copen) aside from the possibility they went on with their lives without him.
  • Harder Than Hard: "Merciless Tasks" (Very Hard Mode) is described by Lumen herself as the sort of thing only the likes of Cayman would take with relish. All the difficulty of "Demanding Tasks" (Hard Mode), including a set HP amount and bosses with both higher health and new moves, but also adds the difficulty by disabling passive Image Pulses outright and rendering Skill Image Pulses usable once per mission attempt and only regenerating if you restart the whole mission. Only the SP Skills regenerate during gameplay as usual.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Completing the True Ending unlocks "Demanding Tasks" (Hard Mode) and "Merciless Tasks" (Very Hard Mode). Completing missions under these difficulties increases the chances of obtaining rarer Image Pulses, and completing a mission for the first time under these tasks will guarantee a specific rare Image Pulse as outlined in the initial briefing.
  • Heal Thyself:
    • Lola (Idol Mode), Asimov, Quinn, and Joule passive Image Pulses instantly recover a portion of HP and (in the case of the last) fills the Fetters Gauge.
    • "Golden Trillion" ZedΩ Skill Image Pulse instantly recovers HP, grants Regenerating Health, and additionally grants flaming wings that deal damage to enemies that they touch.
  • Heart Container: The regular Asimov and Male/Female Zonda passive Image Pulses boost Kirin's maximum HP by 100 each when fully upgraded. This might not be noticeable on Normal Mode at a high level, but on Hard Mode (where Kirin's HP is capped regardless of level), their effects still apply to raise the cap.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Dragon Saviors become this in Epilogue ATEMS. Once they receive word that Zed is still active in Japan, they decide to spread out and intercept him by force to figure out what his plans are, even if they don't immediately suspect him of anything.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Played with; the game's three difficulties are referred to as "Standard Task", "Demanding Task" and "Merciless Task" by the main menu and UI, but in the game's How to Play section they are simply called Normal/Hard/Very Hard.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: The Sumeragi executive in the tutorial stage claims that, while they did indeed lie to Shadow Yakumo about the sealed Gunvolt, they have the Primal Dragon completely contained thanks to the 1000 Glaives that were forged for this purpose. Kirin barely has time to state even this many Glaives can't contain that much power before Gunvolt wakes up and proceeds to break loose of them.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Djinn's Skill Image Pulse, an exclusive Very Hard Mode reward, gives Kirin temporary invincibility.
  • Invocation: Whereas Luminous Avenger iX 2 removes skill chants in favor of animated skill cut-ins, Gunvolt 3 brings back skill chants while keeping the animated portraits. Only one character in the entire game eschews invocation, but then again, you can't really expect a mindless dragon to say a few words before obliterating you.
  • It Can Think:
    • Lumen in this game is a product of the combined powers of the Azure Striker and Radiant Fetters used to create Image Pulses. Unlike other Image Pulse constructs, she is capable of freethought and communication, which GV speculates is due to his strong connection with her original self.
    • A darker example comes later in ATEMS Episode, where Zed finds out to his horror that Azure Spirits are apparently sentient, which is bad news since they have the innate ability to drive Adepts berserk.
  • It Only Works Once:
    • "Astral Order" Moebius instantly fills a portion of the cooldown gauges of all other Skill Image Pulses that are on cooldown. However, it can only be used once per mission, and as you cannot swap a Skill Image Pulse that is on cooldown, it effectively locks you out of a Skill slot for the remainder of the mission.
    • Likewise, the Invincibility Power-Up can only be used once per mission, but lasts for a full 90 seconds when fully upgraded.
    • The unlockable Very Hard Mode difficulty renders any Skill Image Pulse to one use per mission.
    • The "Resurrection" Elise DLC Skill Image Pulse can only be used once per mission, but in return will revive Kirin to full health and boost the Fetters Gauge when fully upgraded.
  • Joke Item: One of the Passive Image Pulses that can be obtained after beating the Boss Rush Secret Mission is GV? (question mark included), which turns Gunvolt's sealed form into a blonde puppy with a blue ribbon. And yes, it does affect the dialogue portraits too, even in the Chats.
  • Jump Physics: The DLC Passive Image Pulse "The Muse" Joule makes Kirin's jumps floatier.
  • Killed Off for Real: Averted in this game, as Kirin abides by a Thou Shalt Not Kill policy. It's only played straight in the normal ending when Gunvolt kills himself to prevent the end of the world.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Cayman's passive Image Pulse gives a chance for Kirin to survive a lethal hit with 1 HP.
  • Legacy Boss Battle:
    • Sunrise Palace 2 involves Gunvolt and Kirin facing illusions of Viper, Jota, Zonda, and Tenjian as Dual Boss midbosses. Not only do they use their attacks from their past appearances, they even combine their Limit Breaks for a stronger Combination Attack Limit Break.
    • The Version 1.2 update added an additional boss battle with Merak and Teseo tag-teaming, which can only be accessed by jumping into a certain bottomless pit in Golden Palace 2, in the third area right after the last checkpoint before the Hexapyle. The fight also includes additional new dialogue. After encountering them once, the fight is unlocked as a Secret Mission.
    • The Version 1.3 update added a boss fight against Nova, which can only be accessed by equipping Nova's 3* Image Pulse and then being hit by Moebius' Damnatio Memoriae while playing as Gunvolt. Unlike the above boss battles, however, Nova's fight is almost completely revamped, with Nova using an updated moveset, lacking Lumen's Deflector Shield, and gaining both of the Mini-Mecha of his One-Winged Angel form as two Attack Drones aiding him. He also possesses the Azure Striker Septima he secretly sought for so long.
    • The Version 1.4 update added a boss fight against Asimov. This fight is a heavily upgraded version of his True Final Boss battle from the original Azure Striker Gunvolt along with several upgraded moves from Luminous Avenger iX. When he Turns Red, several of his techniques even bring to mind altered versions of Demerzel's.
  • Life Drain: The "The Gluttonous Fly" Stratos passive Image Pulse allows Kirin to heal a small percentage of the damage she deals as HP.
  • A Lighter Shade of Gray: While Sumeragi continues to hold a rep of an Obviously Evil Mega-Corp, they're not strictly all bad, as Kirin points out throughout the game. The Bureau of Dragon Saviors is a purely heroic division of the company, and Kirin notes that despite their atrocious actions against Adepts, they have genuinely worked toward making life in a post-Adept society a slightly less terrible place, with "Gunvolt Electric", Sumeragi's attempt to harness Gunvolt as an energy source, having changed millions of lives.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Image Pulses can turn into a bit of a Last Lousy Point for this reason, as they are completely RNG. It's easy to end up grinding the same stage multiple times because it just refuses to drop the missing Image Pulses you want. The upside being the grinding can quickly build up the Credits to upgrade Image Pulses. Version 1.1.0 tweaks it by guaranteeing at least one new Image Pulse will drop per completed stage if available.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: An instrumental version of "Sign" from the Butterfly Log album serves as the theme for the game's Bad Ending, with piano tunes standing in for the singing portions of the song.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Gunvolt takes the form of a blue wolf while Kirin is the active character, following her around as she battles. When their EP is at least 100%, Gunvolt can transform back into human form and swap places with Kirin.
  • Magic Music: Layla's Septima, Djinn's Wish ("Cyber Djinn" in Japanese), is functionally identical to Anthem, but for the bad guys. During the game's climax, ATEMS takes over UTU Radio Tower and broadcasts a song that incapacitates every Adept in the area except the heroes, who are protected by Lumen's song.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Viper's Passive Image Pulses extend the amount of invulnerability you get after being struck.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: As per previous games, although in a twist, the usual alarm to disable the room early only appears once in the game. In all other cases, Kirin and Gunvolt are locked in the room and must rely on the assistance from a support character to disable the alarm system, making it more necessary to defeat all enemies.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Normal Ending: Defeat the final boss. Although Kirin successfully manages to defeat Gunvolt, it's not enough as Moebius continues to rampage out of control. At risk of losing himself permanently and causing the complete annihilation of the world, Gunvolt musters the last of his strength to impale himself on Kirin's blade, fatally wounding him. As Gunvolt fades away into nothingness, Kirin collapses in shock and disbelief.
    • True Ending: Defeat the final boss by using the infinite Talismans granted by Djinn's Wish to full lock Moebius without dealing damage to it. Kirin successfully manages to seal Gunvolt and Moebius' combined power, stabilizing their fusion. Gunvolt, realizing that he must change his own fate to stop himself from bringing the world to ruin, uses the power of Astral Order, transforming into an azure light and vanishing into the night. In the aftermath, Primal Dragon incidents begin to rapidly increase all over the planet as a result of Moebius' awakening. ATEMS reaches a mutual agreement with Sumeragi and depart on peaceful terms, while the Dragon Saviors are set to work subjugating Primal Dragons across the country. Kirin, at peace with the fact that Gunvolt has survived their shared ordeal, resolves to continue fighting for the future that Gunvolt sacrificed himself for.
    • Secret Ending: Collect 150 non-DLC Image Pulses thoroughout the game and defeat the Final Boss while getting the True Ending. This unlocks a fully-voiced Joke Ending parodying a Magical Girl show where Mytyl reveals she was given back the pendant containing her Septima by Xiao and is now journeying through the world of Adepts in "Striker Princess Mytyl".
  • Mundane Utility:
    • During the Time Skip in which Gunvolt was willingly contained by Sumeragi, Sumeragi started using Gunvolt as a makeshift energy source to power the entire country, using the excess electricity that was being emitted from his body. So much was being emitted that Japan was able to completely ditch fossil fuels, though as a consequence, Dragon Radiation suffused within the electricity was spreading and building up without anyone's knowledge across the country.
    • At one point, Lumen suggests that B.B.'s Geist constructs could make good backup dancers for her concerts.
    • In the second half of the game, Apollo is called in during certain stages to use his Septima on crates, turning them into makeshift floating platforms.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Romeo's Image Pulse drops a statue of him on a random part of the screen, alluding to an Easter Egg in Luminous Avenger iX where a statue of him appears in the prologue mission if you Ground Pound a specific spot.
    • The final boss' skill Astral Order is highly reminiscent of Zonda's Paradise Lost. Both are used by adepts who possess the power of the Muse, both cause their wielders to sprout large wings, both render their users completely invincible, both drain their victims to death, and both are stopped by outside interference (Astral Order is countered by Zed and Layla after it temporarily kills Kirin, while you (the player) need to sing a song to counter Paradise Lost).
    • "Potential World" is mentioned in the Flavor Text of Special Mission 13, a phrase previously used by Kirin, when referring to Moebius's powers after being warped to the Grave Pillar.
    • The 1.1.0 update added the ability to play as Kirin XX, which gives Kirin all of her Secret A.I. Moves from Luminous Avenger iX 2, including infinite talismans, a talisman spread shot, clone summoning, and summoning swords. Her Limit Break is also replaced by a version of 88th Rite - Pale Mist.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Invoked by Sistina, who derides Kirin for "[bringing] a sword to the gun fight." While Kirin can prove Sistina wrong by defeating her with minimal assistance from GV, she can also tag him in to turn the fight into a proper shoot-out.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Unlike previous games, bottomless pits do not kill you immediately. Falling into one simply deals damage and puts you back on the last safe platform, and the Elise 3 DLC passive Image Pulse can cut that damage down by up to 75% fully upgraded. Justified as Gunvolt is the one who saves Kirin from falling, though this still applies even if Gunvolt himself falls in.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If the player dies as Kirin, there's a random chance that Anthem will play and you shift into a berserk Gunvolt, who is nigh-unstoppable until the next checkpoint, where Kirin is automatically revived to take control again. Use Gunvolt's powers too much as the edges of the screen turn red, however, and he turns into his final Primal Dragon form as he roars with an "Invocation" of "Vanishing World" — before it's implied everything is destroyed as the game boots you straight back to the title screen.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • "The Adept Slayer" Copen Skill Image Pulse instantly kills any enemy in the game when fully upgraded if his shot connects.
    • If Gunvolt's Fetters Gauge is sufficiently high (at or around 400%, which can only be accomplished with Image Pulses) and he has the "Azure Striker" Asimov Image Pulse equipped, it is possible to get a successful Voltaic Buster on bosses at full HP, instantly one-shotting them.
    • The DLC Passive Image Pulse "Grand Strizer" GUNVOLT features the return of the SP Skill Grand Strizer from ASG2, which if used at sufficiently high Kudos level can one-shot bosses even at full HP.
  • Optional Stealth: The gimmick behind the Forest stage is that various enemies are equipped with sensors or detection ranges that trip if Kirin/Gunvolt walks into them, causing them to attack. The heroes can evade detection by using Arc Chain to warp past any sensors and attack where enemies can't see them, diluting their threat level.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: "The Adept Slayer" Copen's Image Pulse summons GV1 Copen to fire a Greed Snatcher bullet. It's relatively slow for a ranged projectile attack, but if it successfully connects it does an entire health bar of damage. For this reason it's also the most expensive Image Pulse to upgrade in the entire game, taking a whopping 200,000 Credits for Level 2 and 500,000 for Level 3, but once fully upgraded, it is a guaranteed One-Hit Kill on every boss in the game. The only boss immune is the Final Boss on Hard Mode or higher, who is immune to lethal damage anyway.
  • Parrying Bullets: Promotional material shows off Kirin's ability to deflect projectiles by slashing them with her sword.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Unlike the previous games, the supporting cast expands over the course of the game as the Berserk Adepts are taken down. Because of this, it is possible to miss chats that can only be seen with fewer characters after progressing far enough in the game.
  • Pinball Scoring: Thanks to the game's updated scoring mechanics, it's now possible to earn millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of points if you play well enough and stack True Zonda Passive Image Pulses to pump your Kudos gain. The score counter even has a billions digit this time around.
  • Player Nudge: After getting the normal ending for the first time, Lumen, Kirin and Gunvolt hold a conversation where they note that Moebius isn't evil, just a victim of its own powers much like the other Primal Dragons earlier in the game. They go on to strongly hint that they should find a way to neutralize it without using force.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: An instrumental version of "Twilight Skyline" from the Butterfly Log album, which was released in December 2020, is used as the theme for the True Ending and features violin strings standing in for the singing portions of the song.
  • Pokémon Speak: When first encountering the Sumeragi anti-Adept ninja enemies in Cayman's stage, the ninja introduces himself by shouting "Ninjaaaaa!".
  • Poor Communication Kills: Upon encountering Moebius, Gunvolt receives a sudden vision of a Bad Future where he causes The End of the World as We Know It, which ZedΩ comments on even if he doesn't know the details by explaining Moebius's ability to bend fate to a particular future. Gunvolt sees this vision again after the initial fight with Moebius and when the baby Primal Dragon possesses him trying to attack Kirin, and assumes from this that Moebius intends to force him to enact that future. However, actually translating Moebius' Starfish Language in its Special attack and Image Pulses shows that Mobius is trying to kill Gunvolt in order to save the world due to it seeing said future where the Azure Striker destroys it, and is attacking Kirin as well because she's a threat to Moebius doing this. Their inability to recognize what the other really wants results in the Final Boss battle where, in the Normal Ending, both Gunvolt and Moebius end up dead by Kirin's hand when GV forces it.
  • Posthumous Character: Lumen is present via Image Pulse despite her death at the end of the first game. It's noted that while Gunvolt can summon many other characters through Image Pulse, Lumen is the only Image Pulse who's actually sentient, which he theorizes is likely due to his strong connection to her original self.
  • Power Copying: Not literal power copying, but Gunvolt demonstrates an ability to partially emulate the abilities or powers of enemies he's fought in the past and present via Image Pulse thanks to Lightning Can Do Anything.
  • Power Gives You Wings:
    • ZedΩ gets a set of flaming wings when he activates his Septima, which deal damage if the player touches them. You can also get these by using his Skill Image Pulse.
    • After being possessed by Moebius, Gunvolt's true powers are unleashed and he manifests a pair of azure butterfly wings nearly identical to those seen on Lumen.
  • Power Limiter: Unlike previous games, where Anthem boosts the hero's powers, in this game it's the only thing keeping Gunvolt from losing control in the event that Kirin goes down. Unlike Radiant Fetters, Anthem can only keep Gunvolt contained for so long, and even with Anthem holding him down he gains an explosive increase in power. If Gunvolt spends too much time in Anthem, his full power unleashes itself, causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Power-Up Food: Layla's Skill Image Pulse summons her to throw a canned drink or energy beverage on the stage. Picking it up restores a small portion of HP and boosts Credit drops for a limited time.
  • Power-Up Magnet: Carerra's Passive Image Pulses (fittingly) allow Kirin/Gunvolt to suck in nearby Credit drops. Notably, it's one of the only Passive Image Pulses that still functions on Very Hard difficulty and/or using Kirin XX, since it has no effect on gameplay other than vacuuming Credits.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Gunvolt. For platforming, he retains his infinite jumps and air dashes he could get from Anthem in previous games. For combat, it goes without saying that he has Prevasion, but his moveset has been greatly expanded. His Flashfield now is active as long as he's not discharging energy, acting similar to Copen's Flashshield. Speaking of Copen, Gunvolt can also now dash into enemies to lock on to them, dashing into them again causes him to warp right through them, dealing damage in the process. If Gunvolt dashes into an enemy that has been tagged 3 times, he'll perform the Voltaic Buster, which is a One-Hit Kill on all enemies on screen, and if a boss's health is at least 1/3 depleted, it also works on bosses. He can also mimic Kirin's Arc Chain via Lightning Assault, as if he didn't have enough abilities. And that's all before Anthem triggers, upon which Berserk Gunvolt can now launch a pulse that instantly tags all enemies hit with multiple Tags, unleashes Astrasphere every time he discharges at Tagged foes, incorporates a Luxcalibur into his Dash Attack for extra damage, and he can spam Voltaic Chains with abandon for his Limit Break.
  • Rank Inflation: Ranks scale from B to S++, Completing a stage with "Primal Dragon" Gunvolt active without reverting back to Kirin awards a unique SS rank emblem (with Gunvolt's braid attached) that is attached to your standard high score on the mission select.
  • Reincarnation: It's strongly implied that Gunvolt did this to himself in the game's True Ending with Astral Order. Aware that he is unable to continue existing in his current state as he is destined to cause total annihilation, Gunvolt physically regresses to an infantile state and travels across time and space to be reborn, supported by the game's final line.
    At that moment, a life gave its first cry on this earth once more—
  • Remixed Level:
    • The Megafloat "Neptune", Sumeragi's fully automated offshore product storage and shipment facility, is visited twice in the game. The first time is during a heavy rainstorm to subjugate Apollo, an Adept pulling a labor job on-site who suddenly turned into a Primal Dragon. Later, Kirin and Gunvolt are sent back to stop Prado, who has turned the facility into a Hailfire Peaks level and intends to steal the Binding Brand hidden deeper within the facility.
    • The final main level for Epilogue ATEMS is the Futures Institute, the very first level in the base game. Unlike the original, the level takes place during daytime, the giant barriers have been removed, and all of the Sumeragi infantrymen have been replaced by more threatening Mecha-Mooks.
  • Regenerating Health:
    • The Milas passive Image Pulses regenerate health every several seconds depending on rarity and upgrade. The fully-upgraded three-star version will regenerate health every second.
    • The Quinn passive Image Pulses will regenerate Kirin's health for every several seconds GV is out on the field.
    • The "Adept of Overclock" Shiron and "Golden Trillion" ZedΩ Skill Image Pulses while active will regenerate health over time, with the latter including several other bonuses in the package.
  • Riding the Bomb: After rescuing the Berserk Adepts, ATEMS makes their introduction into the plot by firing five missiles at Japan which are able to pierce through the barrier Sumeragi erected around the country to prevent such attacks, prompting Gunvolt and Kirin to have to board and stop the missiles by force before they can cause damage. However, GV and Kirin suspect something is off when they notice that there are ATEMS soldiers on it, with the one's chasing them with jet-boards (or on-foot as ninjas) being the majority of its passengers with those inside being its remainder. This is because that while they do disable the missiles, the missiles were never meant to be an attack; ZedΩ reveals they were meant to simply allow him and his Knights to pierce through the barrier through their special properties and infiltrate the country, making it a subversion. Indeed, the heroes realize as they disable the missiles that they don't possess any explosive payloads, but instead generators that produce a powerful forcefield which, while capable of devastation through pure physics if they strike ground, aren't nearly as dangerous as originally assumed.
  • RPG Elements: Downplayed, much like the Luminous Avenger iX duology. Kirin still gains EXP and Levels, which increase her max HP and Passive Image Pulse limit, but the ability to gain new abilities on leveling up has been removed in favor of Image Pulses. Challenges and Item Crafting also do not return from the second game.
  • Running Gag: Mocking the Buddha statues that shoot lasers happens with relative frequency throughout the game.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with Gunvolt using Astral Order to regress into an infantile state and essentially reincarnate himself to give both himself and the world a chance at a better future. Epilogue ATEMS also adds Azure Spirits scattering across the country once more, with Kirin obtaining one of them after Zed subdues the Brainwashed and Crazy Layla and the latter gives it to her.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Epilogue ATEMS focuses heavily on the Azure Spirits as the Plot Coupon of the week, implying that they will lead to the secrets behind Primal Dragonization, culminating in a fight with an Evil Knockoff of Primal Dragon Gunvolt formed from a mass of Azure Spirits. However, just as Kirin and ZedΩ are about to take their haul back fully intent on properly researching them, all the Azure Spirits they've collected suddenly manifest and possess Layla, causing Luxia to go berserk and forcing ZedΩ to fight and save her. Shortly afterwards, all but one of the Azure Spirits vanish to parts unknown, leaving most of their efforts in vain much to ZedΩ's disappointment and regret. The only notable plot development to stick is Layla giving Kirin that final Azure Spirit in what's implied to be a Sequel Hook.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dragon Radiation could be considered Gunvolt's equivalent to the Maverick Virus, with the Dragon Saviors standing in for the Maverick Hunters.
    • After Kirin tells Cayman about her new airborne attack, he calls it a Shoryuken. When she talks to him about her second talisman upgrade, he starts to call it the Shinku Hadoken before she cuts him off.
    • Prado's blue/red contrast and the attack she uses depending on which way she's facing is a reference to Silhouette Mirage where Shyna and her rival, Zohar has that same contrast, and even use different attributes depending on which screen they're facing. Her Septima's gimmick combined with the elements involved complete with one side of her body predominately using a certain element also brings to mind Shoto Todoroki, complete with her Septima's name "Hot & Cold". Gil also comes to mind with the colors and elements.
    • Black Badge's boss introduction — the camera panning up to him standing on top of a tower and panning down as he jumps off-screen and descends — is a mirror of Hivolt's.
    • One of Black Badge's Skill Image Pulses has him fly across the top of the screen and drops presents that contain credits and health items, much like how Rush could drop items for Mega Man in several games.
    • At the start of the Mystic Mist stage, B.B. upon entry, shouts "Cowabunga!"
    • The Mini-Boss of the Sandstorm stage, the Aspis, is similar in both name and form to the Desert Aspis from Mega Man ZX Advent that was also fought in a desert stage.
    • From the Version 1.2 update, Teseo drops yet another one when pointing out Gunvolt's new canine form.
      Teseo: [News Flash!] Gunvolt has rejected his humanity! lol
    • One of the conversations at the base has Gunvolt asking Kirin if she's met any other sword users like her, with him specifically reminiscing about having met a red samurai who also used talismans to fight. While Kirin denies that samurai would even exist outside of cosplayers, this conversation references the Nightmare Mode ending of Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, where Zangestu is suddenly seen in the world the Gunvolt franchise.
    • Another conversation with Shiron has him talking about a game where he plays as a mech-piloting corgi that fights through a demon-filled castle, referencing Curse of the Moon's sequel.
  • Stylistic Suck: In-universe; in the Cyber-Kowloon stage, Kirin complains about how seedy and run-down the area is in spite of claims that it's the best entertainment district around, calling it a "dump". Gunvolt claims that it's the "theme" of the place.
  • Superboss: Nova and Asimov function as this with their additions in Versions 1.3 and Versions 1.4 respectively. Not only can they only be accessed in-story by taking specific actions during the Final Boss battle, their movesets are essentially upgraded and revamped versions of their original fights as the Final Boss and True Final Boss of 1. They also have the benefit of a Turns Red phase that further enhances and revamps their fighting style, effectively acting as a second phase, and their difficulty is comparable if not greater than the actual Final Boss of the game.
  • Super Mode: Gunvolt functions as this for Kirin.
    • Gunvolt can only tag in when the Fetters Gauge is at least 100% full, and when deployed, Fetters Gauge constantly depletes and is used up when attacking or Prevading damage. The tradeoff is Gunvolt being magnitudes more powerful than Kirin; he summons a flurry of Crashbolts to nuke half the screen on summon, is unkillable, has infinite air jumps and air dashes, can attack from range, passively destroys physical projectiles when not attacking, and has access to "Voltaic Arts", even more powerful techniques that eat through the Fetters Gauge but rip through enemies even harder.
    • If Kirin goes down and Lumen's Anthem activates, Gunvolt will unlock his full power and take Kirin's place, allowing him to utterly devastate the rest of the stage at the cost of no longer being able to accrue Kudos and removing the HUD (except the boss bar) entirely until a Hexapyle is destroyed. He discards his Dart Leader completely in favor of using his septimal powers exclusively, he now flies instead of running, his Flashfield's contact damage is amplified, can now lock-on entire enemies and decimate them with Voltaic Arts, and constantly launch volleys of electric bolts when Flashfield is activated.
    • The Final Boss on Hard Mode and above will trigger a power-up upon using his second Limit Break, signaled by Gunvolt's blue energy butterfly wings turning rainbow-colored, gaining both increased attack and defense for the rest of the fight. Thankfully, Moebius itself doesn't receive this defense boost, though it does get a full heal right before forcing Gunvolt to power up.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Kirin points out that since the Bureau of Dragon Saviors is officially a part of Sumeragi's corporate structure, they still need to do some pencil pushing just like everyone else despite being mostly field work-oriented. It's noted that until Apollo and Shiron came along, they needed to borrow manpower from other branches just to do paperwork, and due to being a new branch it was difficult to find employees willing to help out.
  • Take a Third Option: Kirin ultimately pulls this off by sealing Moebius and Gunvolt with Radiant Fetters. The prophesized future results in Gunvolt destroying the world, while Moebius is using Astral Order to cause a chain of events that results in Gunvolt's death to prevent it. Kirin sealing them away prevents both outcomes.
  • Take That!: During the optional boss fight with Teseo and Merak, Kirin goes on to remind the former on how memes, and his way of speaking sprang from the "dark ages" and is considered obsolete today leading to Teseo's This Cannot Be! moment. In other words, she considers the new 10's and 20's as the dark age of the internet.
  • Taking the Bullet: When Kirin's attempt to seal Moebius fails and Moebius attacks, Gunvolt jumps in front of Kirin to protect her, causing him to become captured and ultimately subject to Demonic Possession.
  • Tag Team: Kirin and Gunvolt are this, with the catch being that Gunvolt can only be tagged in when the Fetters Gauge is at least 100%, and it slowly ticks down over time, as Gunvolt uses his new abilities, or when he takes damage.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Compared to both Gunvolt and Copen, who would bluntly kill all the Adepts they encounter for either pragmatic or vengeful reasons respectively, Kirin doesn't kill, as a shrine maiden that is doing her best to help people even despite her Blood Knight tendencies for getting into fights. It's to the point that the antagonists are outright shocked that she doesn't finish them off. In the normal ending, being forced to kill Gunvolt shatters any optimism or positivity Kirin had.
  • Time Skip: In the true ending, several weeks pass after the encounter that saw Gunvolt and Moebius's combined powers sealed by Kirin, followed by Gunvolt disappearing to parts unknown.
  • The Unintelligible: Moebius speaks in a garbled mess of echoing vocal commands. Even its SP Skill chant is a mess of seemingly random characters strung together, but if you take a QWERTY keyboard and move one key up from each letter or symbol, you can decode what Moebius is saying.
  • Video Game Dashing: Gunvolt's air dashing has been heavily upgraded. In addition to gaining the ability to angle his air dashes a la Copen, he can now Tag with them like Copen if dashing into an untagged target. Dashing into a target that has 1 or 2 Tags causes electric bolts to target them and deal massive damage. Dashing into a fully tagged target with low enough HP initiates the powerful Voltaic Buster, where he pulls the target sky high before piledriving it into either the ground or another enemy, obliterating it instantly.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: No characters from the past two games except Lumen are present except as Image Pulses due to the Time Skip, and their fates are never addressed.
  • World's Strongest Man: Gunvolt is called the world's most powerful Adept by the trailer announcer, which is emphasized by not just how he's Took a Level in Badass, he's outright considered Kirin's Super Mode in the Tag Team.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Despite confronting and defeating each ATEMS knight, all of them survive and escape with the Binding Brand regardless. They manage to stall Gunvolt and Kirin long enough to claim Moebius for themselves, and it's only then that their plan starts to go awry.

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