Gungrave GORE Review: A flawed action spectacle

You're in grave danger.

As I played Gungrave G.O.R.E, I had flashbacks to my arcade days. As 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: clean the level, defeat the boss, die, and insert a coin—or lots of coins! I expected Gungrave G.O.R.E to be an old-school game with a modern twist. Did it live up to my expectations? Well, yes and no.

Artstyle & Graphical Performance

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Gungrave G.O.R.E checks all the anime boxes when it comes to artstyle. The main character, Beyond The Grave, carries around a coffin and oversized guns. He's a moody, undead vigilante that looks like a mix of Bayonetta, Desperado, Eric Draven (The Crow), and a random glam rock singer. The result? It's like he's trying too hard to be cool.

The game is sometimes too dark, not storywise but literally. Think of the Game of Thrones "Battle of Winterfell" episode. I had to pause the game at one point and go to gamma settings because I couldn't see anything. It helped me fix dark corridors, but now everything else was too bright. I took some time to find a middle ground, but it wasn't ideal. Gungrave runs smoothly, despite several glitches, even in 4K resolution.

Score: 3/5 Stars

Level Design

Image via Iggymob

Level design is why Gungrave G.O.R.E reminded me of old arcade games, for better or worse. The maps are linear, with narrow pathways leading to larger halls where swarms of enemies await me. It's a straightforward concept I didn't like, although I understand its rationale. I felt like playing 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 adventuring, interacting with objects, jumping on platforms, or collecting items. The mission is simple: shoot at anything that moves. The shoot'em up philosophy initially bothered me, but I soon embraced it. The stages aren't boring, as the player has various settings to shoot through. Nonetheless, I could only shoot a couple of exploding objects, so the areas do not affect gameplay.

As every level feels the same, there isn't much to like. Your strategies for killing enemies will be the same each time. There are a few exceptions, like the train level where the level design has a very important role. Here, I had to change the approach as the level is narrow, and I had even less space to operate. But that is just the exception to the rule, as most of the levels are forgettable.

Score: 2/5 Stars

Related: Gungrave GORE Tips & Tricks Beginners Guide

Controls

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

In third-person action games, controls and camera movement are essential. It was especially true in Gungrave G.O.R.E., where players face many enemies simultaneously. As a result of the sluggish camera, I had a hard time rotating to see more enemies. As a result, many opponents shot me from behind while I was fending off those in front of me.

Grave's robotic movement only exacerbates camera problems, especially when moving sideways, making it an ideal scenario for rage quitting. Luckily, that was not problematic in large spaces where I could distance myself from enemies and mow them down with a large arsenal of guns/coffin special attacks. Those powerful offensive abilities mitigate many camera shortcomings, as you don't need to evade enemies—you need to destroy them.

That's where controls shine, as although there are many special abilities in Gungrave G.O.R.E, most are easy to perform. Button combinations are easy to remember, and there is also an ability guide that you can easily access even during the play. All you need to do is to pause the game and choose Guide in the menu. It helped me a lot, especially in the game's early stages.

Score: 3/5 Stars

Atmosphere

Image via Iggymob

The best part of the Gungrave G.O.R.E is the chaotic rhythm of playing. The game encourages you to play aggressively, so you can gather the Beats required for special moves. Due to the level design, hiding is impossible, even if you want to play carefully. I was initially frustrated by my inability to evade enemy attacks effectively.

It was soon clear to me that this is how the game is meant to be played. Grave has a shield that can take just enough beating to defeat the enemies. As soon as no one is shooting, the shield quickly restores, while health acts more like Lives in the old games as it goes away fast. Additionally, aggressiveness pays off in the long run, as it's the best way to earn more points for improving and unlocking skills.

Score: 4/5 Stars

Verdict - Entertaining shoot 'em up with limitations

Although this is the third game in the Gungrave series, G.O.R.E leans heavily on the first game that came out 20 years ago. You would be close if you thought this was a remake of the original. Most of the mechanics are unchanged, while the only significant difference is the improvement in the graphics department. The reason is simple, Beyond The Grave is a popular character connected to specific gameplay. This is a game made for the fans; if you don't respect that, you can go and play another game.

We received this code from Prime Matter for reviewing purposes.

Image by Pro Game Guides
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About the Author

I'm an old-school gamer that remembers the first Super Mario, PC games on a single floppy disk, and playing Mortal Kombat on the keyboard.

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Gungrave GORE Review: A flawed action spectacle

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