Gungrave: G.O.R.E. Review (PS5) – It’s been 18 years since Gungrave: Overdose released on the PlayStation 2, the last main entry in the Gungrave franchise. It was a bittersweet end, and fans never thought they would get another entry in the shoot-em-up franchise.
Their hopes were restored when Gungrave VR was announced, but it didn’t bring that same bullet hell action that fans hoped for.
Five years later, fans can rejoice because Gungrave G.O.R.E. brings the franchise back to its roots while implementing modern-day mechanics in a brutal shoot-a-thon that sometimes drove me to the brink.
Gungrave: G.O.R.E. Review (PS5) – A Brutal Symphony Of Destruction
A Promising Return For The Gungrave Franchise
G.O.R.E. is a direct sequel to Overdose, and though you don’t need to know what happened in its story, there are moments that the game references from the first two titles.
Grave and Mika, along with their organization “El Arcangel”, head to Scumland, a mysterious island that appeared out of nowhere and is run by the Raven Clan.
Scumland is what you would expect an entire city full of criminals and Grave heads in to destroy the Raven Clan and their new SEED research program, a program that turns humans into superhumans and, in most cases, turns them into full-on monsters.
The story isn’t significant, and many plot points are simply ignored or forgotten. Still, it was great to see Grave’s relationship with Mika and how it has grown throughout the franchise.
One thing that makes the story worth following is the fantastic CG cutscenes. There aren’t many of them, but when they appear, they rival the breakthrough CG we’ve seen in promotional trailers of other games and even some animated movies.
G.O.R.E. keeps the spirit of the Gungrave formula by providing you hoards upon hoards of enemies to shoot through. For the most part, you can shoot through waves of enemies at the expense of your R2 button and constant finger cramps.
Still, it’s quite a blast due to the developer’s strategic placement of enemy types and the strategy for dealing with encounters.
G.O.R.E. Is Easily One Of The Hardest Games On The Market
Besides blasting through all your enemies, Grave has multiple other skills. He uses his coffin to pull off melee attacks and has a grappling hook that he uses to grab enemies and use as a human shield and Demolition attacks.
Gungrave surprisingly features several enemy types, many of which require different skills and strategies. Rocket Launcher enemies can have their rockets deflected back at them with Graves’s coffin, which he carries on his back.
Sword-wielding ninjas deflect your bullets with their swords forcing you to use melee attacks to take them out. These are just a few examples of the game’s various enemies.
The variety of enemies is what makes G.O.R.E. such a brutal game. I wasn’t expecting the game’s difficulty to skyrocket so quickly, and I can confidently say that G.O.R.E. may be one of the most challenging games I’ve played.
What makes it so difficult is the variety of enemy encounters you go through. Some situations you’re put in seem so unfair and calculated that I almost put my controller down in rage. It got so bad that I was forced to switch to Easy mode to finish the game, and I still died over two dozen times.
Limitations Lead To Frustration
Besides the crazy enemy encounters, G.O.R.E. limits you in how you can restore your health and shields when they become depleted. Shields regenerate when out of encounters, but during battles, the only way to regain your shields is to pull off execution attacks on stunned enemies.
This can become a pain because many enemies will become stunned in the middle of a mob, and trying to get to them causes you more damage or puts you in a disadvantaged posting.
You can use your trapping hook to pull these enemies to your location to perform the execution, but it doesn’t always work as some of these enemies are heavily armoured and pull Grave to them again, leaving you wide open to attacks.
Health is even harder to restore than shields. The only way to regain your health is to perform Demolition attacks. These are the ultimate attacks that Grave pulls off with his coffin. These require Demolition points that you build up through encounters.
Almost Every Skill And Upgrade Is Essential
These flashy attacks are fantastic to look at and are great for clearing large rooms of enemies. The problem is that enemies become increasingly harder to defeat as you progress into the game.
You are forced to use higher-level and more vital Demolition skills to remove any real threats. The higher the skill, the more Demolition points that craft uses up, leaving you with even fewer chances of healing yourself
One thing G.O.R.E. does great comes in the form of its upgrade system. After completing a mission, you’ll get a ranking based on your ranking; you’ll get D.N.A. that can be used to upgrade Grave and unlock new skills.
Upgradable skills come from doing more damage with ranged or melee attacks, increasing health, or boosting shield regeneration speed.
There are also unlockable skills that allow Grave to perform new melee combination attacks and unlock new Demolition skills. The importance of upgrades isn’t apparent at first, but once you get to the more challenging encounters, you’ll learn that every skill is essential, and you have to think about what to spend your precious D.N.A. on.
You may want that new awesome-looking Demolition skill, but levelling up your shield regeneration may be much more helpful.
A Large Variety Of Mission Locations With Varying Levels Of Design
Visually G.O.R.E. isn’t anything spectacular, and some locations you head to aren’t fun. Nobody wants to track through five sewer levels. That’s not to say all locations are bad. You’ll go through the jungles of Vietnam, the rooftops of Singapore, and battle on top of a speeding train.
The locations vary in style and visual design. It’s just a lot of hit-and-miss. Grave and the main characters have gotten some redesigns that not all fans may be happy with, but I found them quite enjoyable.
The game provides two performance modes: Quality for 4k, ray-tracing 30FPS or Performance at 4k and 60fps. Since the games, visuals aren’t spectacular; I would suggest going for the Performance. mode.
Much like its visuals, the sound design is all over the place. The voice acting is horrible and sounds like something you’d hear from an early PS1 game.
It’s a shame because I was hoping for some of the voice actors from the original Gungrave anime to reprise their roles. The soundtrack has almost every genre of music.
You’ll hear some jazz, to random ambient techno sounds disguised as music, and finally, the best of the bunch comes from the heavy metal that plays between missions and frantic encounters.
Gungrave: G.O.R.E. is a fun return to the franchise. G.O.R.E. brings back its traditional gun-blazing symphony with plenty of modern-day quality-of-life improvements. Its difficulty isn’t for the faint of heart but for those who stick with it may discover a new type of action game to sink their teeth into.
Gungrave: G.O.R.E. is now available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
Review code kindly provided by publisher