Review – Gungrave G.O.R.E.

It’s always a treat when games return from the dead. The most recent example being Gungrave returning from its PS2 roots and making its debut in 2022, eighteen years after the last entry in the series. Well, eighteen years if you don’t include the VR game that released, which I’m almost certain you didn’t know about. Gungrave G.O.R.E. returns to the original style of third-person action, but the question remains, did the series need to make a return in modern day?

Gungrave G.O.R.E. Color Palette

There’s more colour on the wish brand Danzig character than in the rest of the level.

Throughout Gungrave G.O.R.E. you play as the very originally named, Grave. Grave looks like a rip off of Glenn Danzig from Misfits, and basically acts like him as well. Grave would fit in well in the Devil May Cry games as just some “please let this character never show up again” kind of NPC. The whole story is summarised as “hey, fight your way through hordes of guys from this private military contractor.” Why? No idea, no one explains. Nobody seems to care. What are you looking for? Not a clue, again no one explains. The most you’re told through the entire game is where you are. It’s kind of frustrating to say the least.

Let’s start off strong here, just like Gungrave G.O.R.E. does. The animation in the cutscenes are incredibly well done. Honestly, for anyone who is a fan of the Hellsing/Hellsing Ultimate anime, the cutscenes in Gungrave G.O.R.E. are spot on with that style and tone. Considering the game kicks off with a cutscene, expectations are already set incredibly high, which means its disappointing when you see the actual gameplay graphics. There’s a lot to be desired here, everything is incredibly grey, there’s at least fifty shades of it throughout each level. A severe lack of colour to be found anywhere, and the dark, gritty tones of the cutscene are lost instantly into just bland rooms.

Gungrave G.O.R.E. Storm Barrage

Grey corridor shooter.

While Gungrave G.O.R.E. isn’t an “on-rails” shooter, it may as well be. With the gunplay in the game, there’s a massive advantage to just standing still and spamming the shoot button, while reflecting rockets whenever they come flying at you. Essentially the gameplay in each level is walk through hallways, shoot people in the hallway, come to a room, stand in the middle of the room, kill everything, repeat. The only real variety to this comes to fighting the bosses, like a massive tank that makes no sense to be able to shoot till dead, where you do need to run around to avoid attacks. Seriously though, imagine playing Halo and Master Chief is able to shoot a Scarab Tank for a couple minutes and it explodes. That’s essentially what happens in the FIRST LEVEL.

Gungrave G.O.R.E. Sewers

Grey sewer shooter.

The sounds are beyond irritating. The developers of Gungrave G.O.R.E. seem to have found one song that they like, and decided “yeah that’s good, throw that bad boy on repeat.” So as you play through levels it’s the same thirty second track played over, and over, and over again. It would be a bit of a different story if the song was high energy, but instead it is as the kids say, chill beats. The song is almost soothing, which actually does take the mind out of playing a game seriously (there are studies about this). If this wasn’t bad enough, the same three lines of dialogue are CONSTANTLY repeated through levels. I get it, things are shooting me, trust me, I KNOW.

Grey tank shooter? Alright, grey shooter at tanks.

I had such high hopes for Gungrave G.O.R.E. and it peaked with the intro cutscene, but it all fell apart from the moment the gameplay started. The worst part is I continued to play mostly in hopes it got better, but also because I just wanted to see more cutscenes. In the end through, Gungrave G.O.R.E. just didn’t feel like a game that respected the time of the people playing it, and didn’t respect the fans who returned from the PS2 days.

Graphics: 3.0

The animated cutscenes are great; it’s a team that could easily integrate into a company like MAPPA. The rest of the game looks absolutely dreadful though, the series basically looks just as it did on the PS2.

Gameplay: 2.5

Gungrave G.O.R.E. plays like an on-rails shooter, but gives you the false idea that you can move around as you please. Sure, technically you do choose how to move and where to go, but you walk down a corridor, and the game actively advocates for you to stand still because it gives you better attacks to use when not moving (shooting around you and deflect rockets).

Sound: 2.0

There is such a lack of variety in the music and voice lines in Gungrave G.O.R.E. that I had to turn sound off in parts. Hearing the same twenty second loop of music, followed by the same voice lines every time you kill a few enemies is maddening. If nothing else, it was giving me FNAF World flashbacks of “you won’t get annoyed of my voice will you?”

Fun Factor: 2.0

This is a game I will not choose to come back to. My time playing it wasn’t enjoyable at all, and feels like you could plop anyone down who doesn’t play video games in front of this and they would have absolutely no issue. There is no challenge, no exploration, and nothing to mess up, meaning it’s all messed up.

Final Verdict: 2.5

Gungrave G.O.R.E. is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

A copy of Gungrave G.O.R.E. was provided by the publisher.