Game Name: Gungrave G.O.R.E Platform(s): PC (review), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S Publisher(s): Prime Matter Developer(s): Iggymob Co.,Ltd Release Date: November 22nd, 2022
Gungrave G.O.R.E is a stylish third-person action shooter where you take on the role of Grave, a gunslinger of resurrection who happens to have a fancy with some stylish means of combat and loves mowing people down. The game takes place after the last Gungrave title, Gungrave: Overdose, which was released nearly two decades ago. Now, thanks to Studio Iggymob and Yasuhiro Nightow, the anti-here with a passion for destruction is back. Things from the prior game and this game haven’t changed much. The dangerous drug SEED is still being distributed, and it’s up to Grave to continue the fight and rid the world of SEED, once and for all.
Easy to pick up, hard to master
The game is simple, you take Grave from level to level, mowing down everyone in your way. It can’t get any simpler than that. Of course, it’s not as boring as I made it sound, and it’s actually a lot of fun. To me, it’s like Devil May Cry, emphasizing gunplay instead of melee combat.
As you progress through the levels, you’re armed with a pair of pistols, a coffin that allows you to dish our melee attacks, and a few special moves called Demolition Shots. You have the standard health and shield meter, both of which serve as your lifeline. Should your shield meter drop, you’ll start taking damage, and if you run out of health, it’s game over. Thankfully, there are several ways to get the shield meter back, so as grabbing a stunned enemy and putting a bullet in its head, and no, I’m not making this up. Likewise, performing a massive damaging demolition show is the only way to regain your health. However, this also means you’ll have to play aggressively. Otherwise, the enemies will overwhelm you. There’s a dodge as well, but Gungrave dodges so dang slow — think fat rolling in Dark Souls, and you’ll get what I’m getting at. Hell, I mentioned Dark Souls, I’m sorry.
When it comes to combat, you’ll run into a few enemies that can be dispatched easily, but eventually, you’ll encounter crowds of enemies requiring you to do your best John Wick impression, complete with metal music blaring, while you’re doing your best to take down the enemies. Combos, called Beats, are the name of the game. Destroying anything in front of you, not just enemies, but containers, explosive barrels, or anything that looks like it will blow up really well. The more stuff you put holes into (or beat down), the higher the score grows, the better you feel, and you’ll look cool doing it. But if you take more than a few seconds in between your acts of destruction, you’ll drop the combo, and you’ll have to start over again. At the end of the levels, you’re graded on how fast you progressed through the level, how much health you have left, how many enemies you killed, the highest beat you’ve earned, and more. Is any of this starting to sound familiar yet?
But that’s also a double-edged sword, as there have been instances where the sheer number of enemies, especially in the later stages, kicked my butt, despite my best efforts. The game literally tosses scores of enemies at you. So much that at one point my entire screen was full of enemies, bullets, and me trying my damnedest to stay alive. Thankfully, you can even up the odds by upgrading your character with extra health, weapon strength, upgraded abilities, better shield regeneration speed, more demolition shot abilities, and more. Provided you have the credits to do so, and if you don’t, that’s ok, as the game lets you replay levels you already tackled, allowing you to earn more currency or try for a better score. You can even go back and replay the first few levels as many times as you like, as it won’t interfere with progress. And if that’s not enough, you can even adjust the difficulty — not that I did that.
The gameplay is fun, the action is fast-paced, and overall I enjoyed it. I do wish I had more control over how Gungrave handles its gunplay, as the game auto-targets everything, and all you have to do is aim toward the enemies, and the game does the rest. Despite there being an option to aim manually, it conflicts with the auto-targeting if there are too many enemies on the screen, and ultimately doesn’t feel so manual. The only positive use for the manual aim is that it shows you how much health an enemy has, so I suppose that’s worth something. The levels also tend to feel a bit longer than they should, and the numerous cut scenes don’t help that. It was also a tad annoying that I’d see the same enemy on every stage, and some variety would have been nice. Regardless, If you ever wanted to play a game to blow off steam, this game fits the bill.
I heard this game was gory
This is Gungrave G.O.R.E, and of course, you’d think that the game would include gore of some sort. And, well, you’d be right, but not in the way you think. G.O.R.E actually stands for Gunslinger of REsurrection, but that doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have its fair share of gore. Enemies explode in glorious ways, limbs go flying in every direction, and well, there are a lot of bullets, rockets, and other forms of killing enemies. Yeah, there’s definitely a heavy amount of gore in the game. Maybe don’t play this around the kiddos, or let them play this.
The sights and sounds of destruction
Early on, I was conflicted with both the visuals and the audio, but once I made it to the mid and end-game levels, my opinion changed severally. Once you get past the opening act, both the visuals and audio change for the better, and they look immensely better. Not that any part of the game looks bad, it’s just the later levels look better. Especially the Cyberpunk levels, complete with neon lights, and rain puddles that look decent even if Ray Tracing isn’t enabled. The same can be said about the audio, where the game tosses generic tunes at you, but later on, you’re just letting the bosses kill you because the theme is so badass. The sound effects do their job, though, at times they did sounded muffled. It’s not as bad as I make it out to be. What is bad, however, is the enemies constantly throwing profanities at me every few seconds. I mean, do they talk to their mothers with those mouths?
Let’s talk about the PC Centric stuff
My time with Gungrave G.O.R.E was with the Steam version, and as with my PC game reviews, I like to address just how much stuff the developer was able to toss in, and it’s quite a bit. Features include DLSS, FSR, Ray Tracing, SSR, SSAO, Shader adjustments, Post-processing, and more.
The performance was equally impressive, as I could play the entire game at 4K with max settings and Ray Tracing enabled without any micro-stutter or dropped frames. Granted, I was playing on a beast of a gaming rig that included an AMD Ryzen 9 5900x, Nvidia 3080 Ti, 32GB of RAM, and had the game installed on Samsung 980 Pro. However, I could also play the game on a more modest PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600x, RTX 2070 Super, 16GB of DDR, and a generic SSD, at 1080p and 1440p at medium settings, and didn’t notice a dropped frame. Still, with all the bullets flying and me trying not to die, even if there were some frame drops, it wasn’t enough to cause any concern.
Yes, you can remap the keyboard & mouse kets, but not the gamepad, in case anyone wants to know.
If there’s one thing that I’d nitpick about, it’s that the cut scenes are capped at 30 frames per second. Outside of that, Iggymob Co., Ltd, the developer of the game, has come a long way from just being the co-developer of the Gungrave VR titles. If there’s one
Some technical hiccups
While I enjoyed my time with the game, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I did experience some technical and gameplay mechanic issues, which concerned me. The camera is also a bit of a concern, as it would position itself and prevent me from seeing my character at the most inopportune times. At times I felt like my character had been smashed into the wall, which was most troublesome. Especially when I was battling scores of enemies or battling a boss. Other times it would point me in the opposite direction I was looking at. There were also times when I’d mysteriously die, despite having health and full shields. It’s as if a sniper took me down, and there was nothing I could do about it. I encountered this quite a few times at a later level, and the most I can ascertain is that I didn’t move to a specific location fast enough.
With the gameplay, there are times when you and an enemy aren’t on the same plane, and your shots won’t even damage them as they don’t register. Other times, I’d attempted to grab a stunned enemy that was directly in front of me, and try as I might, I couldn’t grab them. Thankfully, there’s an update that is getting released once the game is officially released that hopefully should address this.
Fun over the top on-stop action that I adored
Sometimes I want to play a game that doesn’t take itself seriously at all. I want lots of over-the-top action, a story that makes that’s equally over the top, and I want to see stuff blow up as many times as I can blow stuff up. That said, Gungrave G.O.R.E fits that bill in so many ways, I didn’t even know I wanted to play this game. Sure, it’s not perfect, and sure, it gets repetitive at times, but that’s ok. Just give me some instance weapons, a protagonist who doesn’t take any crap, and lots of special abilities. Which is exactly what Gungrave G.O.R.E does. Oh, it’s fun, damn, it’s fun, and isn’t that why we play video games in the first place?
Go play some Gungrave G.O.R.E, and blow some shit up. OK?
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I’ll be honest, I’ve never played a Gungrave game, but I knew they were synonymous with action. Gungrave G.O.R.E is the continuation of the past games with better gameplay, better graphics, lots of action, more action, and bad guys who constantly curse at you. But you know what? It’s pure fun, and I’m all about that.
You get to blow up lots of stuff
Looks and plays well on the PC
More action that you can shake a stick at
Lack of enemy variety
Some levels are longer than they should be
That damned camera can’t keep getting away with this