Gungrave GORE Review: A flawed action spectacle
While playing Gungrave GORE, I had flashbacks to my arcade days. When I was a kid, I loved those games where all you had to know was where the shoot button was. The premise of those action games was simple: clear the level, defeat the boss, die and insert a coin, or lots of coins! I expected Gungrave GORE to be an old school game with a modern twist. Did it live up to my expectations? Well yes and no.
Art style and graphic performance
Gungrave GORE ticks all the anime boxes when it comes to art style. The main character, Beyond The Grave, carries a coffin and oversized weapons with him. He is a cranky undead vigilante who looks like a mix of Bayonetta, Desperado, Eric Draven (The Crow) and some random glam rock singer. The result? It’s like he’s trying too hard to be cool.
The game is sometimes too dark, not story wise but literally. Think about game of Thrones Episode “Battle of Winterfell”. I had to pause the game at one point and go to gamma settings because I couldn’t see anything. It helped me fix the dark hallways, but now everything else was too bright. It took me a while to find a middle ground, but it wasn’t ideal. Gungrave runs smoothly, despite various glitches, even at 4K resolution.
Score: 3/5 stars
The level design is why Gungrave GORE reminded me of old arcade games, for better or worse. The maps are linear, with narrow paths leading to larger rooms where swarms of enemies await me. It is a simple concept that I did not like, although I understand its reason for being. I wanted to play those arcade games, like Virtua Cop, where I could shoot enemies and not worry about doing anything else.
The game does not include open world adventures, object interaction, platform jumping, or item collecting. The mission is simple: shoot everything that moves. The shoot’em up philosophy initially bothered me, but I soon accepted it. The stages are not boring as the player has various settings to shoot. However, I was only able to interact with exploding objects instead of shooting them to make them explode, so the areas do not affect gameplay.
Since all the levels feel the same, there isn’t much to like. Your strategies to kill enemies will be the same every time. There are some exceptions, like the train level, where the level design plays a very important role. Here, I had to change the focus because the level is narrow and I had even less room to operate. But that’s just the exception to the rule, as most of the levels are forgettable.
Score: 2/5 stars
Related: Gungrave GORE Tips and Tricks Beginner’s Guide
In third person action games, controls and camera movement are essential. This was especially true in Gungrave GORE, where players face many enemies simultaneously. As a result of the slow camera, I had a really hard time turning to see more enemies. As a result, I was shot from behind by many opponents as I defended myself from those in front of me.
Grave’s robotic movement only exacerbates the camera’s problems, especially when it pans sideways, making it an ideal setting to drop the rage. Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem in large spaces where I could distance myself from enemies and take them down with a large arsenal of special weapons/coffins. Those powerful offensive abilities mitigate a lot of the camera’s shortcomings, as you don’t need to evade enemies, you need to destroy them.
That’s where the controls shine, as while there are many special abilities in Gungrave GORE, most are easy to perform. The button combinations are easy to remember and there is also a skill guide that you can easily access even during gameplay. All you need to do is pause the game and choose Guide on the menu. It helped me a lot, especially in the early stages of the game.
Score: 3/5 stars
The best part of Gungrave GORE is the chaotic pace of gameplay. The game encourages you to play aggressively, so that you can muster the necessary Beats for special moves. Due to the level design, it is impossible to hide, even if you want to play carefully. Initially I was frustrated by my inability to evade enemy attacks effectively.
It soon became clear to me that this is how the game should be played. Grave has a shield that can take enough hits to defeat enemies. As soon as no one shoots, the shield restores quickly, while health acts more like Lives in the old games, in that it wears off quickly. Also, aggressiveness pays off in the long run, as it’s the best way to earn more points to upgrade and unlock skills.
Score: 4/5 stars
Verdict – Entertaining shooter with limitations
Although this is the third game in the Gungrave series, GORE is heavily based on the first game that came out 20 years ago. You’d be close if you thought this was a remake of the original. Most of the mechanics have not changed, while the only significant difference is the improvement in the graphics department. The reason is simple, Beyond The Grave is a popular character related to a specific game. This is a game made for fans; if you don’t respect that, you can go and play another game.
We received this code from Prime Matter for review purposes.