Gungrave G.O.R.E, developed by Iggymob and published by Prime Matter is a third-person, action focused shooter. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
Gungrave G.O.R.E has you play the role of a gun-wielding anti-hero who must mow down massive mobs of enemies in a gory and grim bullet hell battle. There also appears to be a VR game and an Anime series of the franchise, however, I haven’t played or watched these. Thankfully there is a synopsis... there is a new drug that has come into existence, known as SEED, which transforms its users into monsters. This drug appeared to have been eradicated but in fact, it was still in existence. This time round, it is being sold by the Raven Clan and you, Grave, and the rest of your cronies have to head into Scumland and stop the production of SEED and take down the Raven Clan.
If I’m totally honest, the story just felt like an afterthought when it came to it. There were no real story sections within the gameplay and all the story was told within cutscenes that felt like they were entirely separate from the gameplay itself. The story didn't serve the gameplay and vice versa. For me, the main selling point in Gungrave G.O.R.E is the action. Grave has quite a few abilities at his disposal including a pair of akimbo pistols, a charged shot and a coffin that you throw around in a catastrophic three shot combo. Alongside this you also have a deflection move where you can deflect certain types of projectiles and a dodge. Nothing particularly revolutionary or new, but mostly all tried and true mechanics.
The coffin is quite humorous because you can use it to grab enemies and use them as a meat shield. As you fight you have something known as “Grave’s Beat Count” which is essentially a special meter that you power up with every combo and attack. You have to continue attacking before the meter begins to drain again. If you get the Beat Count to 50 or above you will gain a special move known as Storm Barrage, which is a rapid fire attack that throws enemies around in all directions. It will also throw your Beat Count to an even higher level. One of the small disappointing aspects combat wise is that most of the enemies just felt like a rehash of each other, with very little distinctions between one enemy and the other.
Another thing I really liked about Gungrave G.O.R.E is the variety found within the level design. One level will have you exploring through the grimy and dismal streets of Scumland and the next will have you in the bright and vibrant streets of Hong Kong. Every place felt unique and had its own different energy from what came before. Going back to my previous criticism, each level is unique, but I had a serious issue finding differences between the enemies found within, which would have added to the immersion and enjoyment of exploring the different things that the game has to offer.
The difficulty is a hard one to explain. Initially, I found it fine and fair but as I progressed I began to find that I was less and less well equipped to handle situations, particularly the sheer multitude of enemies in a mob and I found I wasn’t quite managing to produce enough damage to wipe them out without dying. Yes, I could crank the difficulty down but that just isn’t my style.
Unfortunately, I feel like Gungrave G.O.R.E suffered from a few small issues that really diminished my enjoyment of the game overall, and feel like with just some small, subtle changes, some of these issues wouldn’t have happened or mattered. Individually these things wouldn’t matter too much, but eventually they all mount up. There were definitely some missed opportunities to create something epic. The combat is fun, but lacks variety and begins to feel a little bit stale over time. The art and design is STUNNING and the music and sound design are incredible as well, but that is let down by some poor voice acting. For every positive, there's a negative on the other side of it. I see so much potential but it feels like a little bit mismatched and all over the place.
Lj’s Rating: 3 out of 5.
Many thanks to PLAION for supplying the review code.