Gungrave G.O.R.E Preview: A Test of Endurance

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How long do you think you could keep tapping the right trigger of your controller before it starts to cause you physical harm? The upcoming Gungrave G.O.R.E will help you find out.

We’ve been hands-on with a preview build of this anticipated third-person shooter, and to say it’s left us disappointed is an understatement. On paper it’s made for us, combining outrageous character designs with a banging soundtrack and non-stop action. But it’s the nature of the latter that actually proves to be Gungrave G.O.R.E‘s Achilles’ heel. It’s all just too repetitive, and it ultimately grinds you down.

Playing as Grave, you’ve been tasked with infiltrating Scumland and taking down four nasty pieces of work. But of course, between you and them stand hundreds, if not thousands, of grunts, seemingly happy to die. There’s no reasoning with them, and so as an instrument of death, its time to make use of your tools to clear your path.

Grave’s default attack is one you’ll be making near constant use of throughout the adventure – or at least that’s how it seems given the game’s first four stages. By tapping the right trigger you shoot with your four machine pistols, targeting whatever’s closest to your sights. And that’s about it. You aim, you shoot, you slowly push forward. Rinse and repeat until the battle is over.

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Only, once one battle is over, the next pretty much starts within seconds. Levels are linear, with little opportunity to explore. And even if you could, there doesn’t seem like there’s anything to do, such as collect things or solve puzzles. Combat is at the front and centre here. And an absurd amount of it.

Thankfully you do quickly gain some additional abilities to help make the combat a little more interesting. You can swing the giant coffin on your back like a melee weapon, for example. It’s great for eradicating enemy shields, and also sending back enemy rockets if you get the timing just right amidst all the chaos.

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What’s more exciting is a special skill that sees you kick a giant bullet at your enemies that explodes upon contact, doing massive damage to anything caught in its blast. And also the grappling hook that allows you to either pull enemies towards you in order to use them as human shields, or dash at them to change your position.

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There are other abilities to keep in mind, too, such as finishing moves, momentary rage, and being able to stand your ground and shoot enemies all around you once your combo meter reaches 50. That may sound like a lot, but in Gungrave G.O.R.E it’s not: we had a combo of 600 or so going at one point.

Throughout your time with Gungrave G.O.R.E you’ll be able to enhance these abilities and expand upon them, visiting a lab between missions to spend points that you’ve earned. There are additional special skills to be earned, stats like your bullet damage and health can be increased, and a whole lot more. Who knows, maybe in time you get new weapons, and combined with the new skills you pick up they could transform the combat into something more interesting.

That’s a huge maybe though, and as it stands right now, we’re preparing ourselves for the worst. We really want to like Gungrave G.O.R.E, but what we’ve played of it so far has just tested our patience and finger endurance. For two hours, we basically just tapped the right trigger while edging forward in linear environments, making use of skills when we could (many of them are tied to a meter) in order to make things more interesting.

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At least the environments were varied enough, and we faced off against quite an assortment of enemies. Many of them just charge you however, so there’s not much difference in how you approach them. We even engaged in some boss battles, but the game’s poor implementation of a dodge mechanic made them not quite as fun as we’d have liked.

You should probably temper your expectations for Gungrave G.O.R.E, then. Unless the idea of testing the limits of your human endurance appeals to you. We never thought we’d say it, but it may be a game that involves simply too much shooting. And when that’s all you’ve got, it quickly loses its appeal. Still, we’re determined to play more of it to find out if it does improve at all. We guess we’ll find out next month.

Gungrave G.O.R.E launches 22nd November on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC