Gungrave G.O.R.E is the third installment of the Gungrave series, developed by Iggymob, and published by Prime Matter. This is the first game in 18 years to carry on with the story arc, and is available now on PlayStation 4|5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X.
In Gungrave G.O.R.E, players will be taking the role of a badass gun-wielding anti-hero by the name of Beyond The Grave, or Grave for short, who happens to be a Deadman; a genetically enhanced reanimated human formerly known as Brandon Heat.
After being betrayed and killed by his friend, he is now only known for the trail of bullet-filled bodies he leaves behind. Joining his new boss, Mika Asagi, and her newly formed group, known as El-Alcangel, war rages against the Raven Clan in an attempt to rid the world of a drug known as SEED, and Grave will stop at nothing to exact his vengeance and assist Mika.
The story is delivered in an interesting way, with little snippets to read in between missions that help to explain what your next objective is, leaving the missions themselves feeling like you already know the outcome rather than helping to progress. Despite the series having been around since 2002, Gungrave G.O.R.E does have a great feature in the main menu, which allows you to watch a recap of all the major events and introduces all the characters so that new players will know the story leading up to these events, and returning fans can have a refresher before jumping into the new installment.
The gameplay focuses heavily on the dual pistols Grave wields and gives players a snappy auto-aim feature, so you can quickly snap between targets like your favourite FPS streamer that claims they just had some coffee and that is why they are so fast… Unfortunately, the auto-aim feature snaps to enemy targets, which isn’t a bad thing if that’s what you’re trying for, but if you wanted to take out a group of enemies by shooting an explosive barrel, I found that you’re better off shooting from the hip, which seems a bit counter-productive.
There are special skills Grave can unlock in between levels as you gain experience, from summoning a giant rocket to using the coffin on his back to fire a small barrage of missiles, and it was nice to have some skills to add more damage to the mix of chaos.
It isn’t just about the guns though, with a melee system that will see Grave swinging the coffin on his back as a sweeping attack. It is rather handy when you are stuck in a corner with enemies all over you, but keep in mind it is a metal gun coffin he is swinging, so it is not designed to be a fast attack. Aside from swinging his coffin, Grave can also use it to deflect rockets back at the enemy that fired it, by using some Dark Souls-like parry timing.
It can be a useful skill when mastered, especially when it comes to chapter 7, or as I would like it to be renamed, “Rocket Boom Boom.” Countless deaths were had, so press F in chat. The game does have a range of difficult options, with the harder options turning the enemies into bullet sponges. I stuck with normal mode because it still offered a decent challenge with boss fights and certain enemy encounters.
The level design and themes are set in Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Vietnam with dark and futuristic twists in the world, where monsters are equally as threatening as the Raven Clan lackeys. You will fight across slums, warehouses, and even on top of a train.
The variety of locations offers a nice change of pace to the gameplay, as certain areas will have level-designed threats, such as dodging signs or ducking for cover as you approach a tunnel on the train. While the level designs are great, some of them can feel a little like anime filler-episodes, so you don’t have as much time to explore them as you’d like.
The character designs are well done, with Grave having a Desperado style to him, with his leather outfit, long dark hair, and the coffin he carries around attached to his arms via chains. It really threw me back to watching the Desperado movies with Antonio Banderas in a firefight, hauling a guitar case filled with guns around, it feels like that may have been the inspiration that the art team went with for Grave.
The lesser characters, or Target Practice as they will be known moving forward, were a copy and paste of the same skins with some slight colour changes or a different weapon. It did feel a bit lazy, but with how quickly you will be filling these enemies with bullets and moving on, it is easy to ignore as a whole.
The music for Gungrave G.O.R.E was amazing, and when I first heard the battle music, I thought this is a lot like Devil May Cry, then, upon further investigation, I discovered the music was done by Shibata Tetsuya, who also did the music for DMC and Final Fantasy XV, and both of those games have amazing soundtracks.
While Grave is a silent anti-hero, there is a supporting character in radio communication with Grave the whole time, and they will guide the player in certain missions, or talk about the events of the mission. The voice acting is really well done, and despite not having many characters giving full dialogue, I was very impressed with the voices as they suited the character models and style.
Gungrave G.O.R.E is a great installment that offers an amazing recap for new players to the series while taking returning players for a quick trip down memory lane. The snapping auto-aim can be a bit frustrating depending on how you like to play, and the enemies really can feel cut and paste, but with some beautifully crafted levels to explore, unlimited ammo, and hundreds of enemies to shred, who can say no?
- Fun gun play
- Bad ass music
- Great main character design work
- Handy story recap in menu
- Fun levels to cause chaos in
- The story felt like it was only reading notes
- Length of levels had a weird ranging
- Enemy design was copy and paste