When the original Gungrave was first released back in the early PlayStation 2 days, it’s flashy, relentless corridor shooting was met with a mixed reception. Critics loved the cel-shaded visual design but thought the general gameplay of mowing down wave after wave of enemies, Zapp Brannigan style was a massive snoozefest—myself included. Gungrave G.O.R.E however, is unfortunately plagued with many of the same issues.
Asleep While Angry at the Same Time
Gungrave G.O.R.E should’ve stayed in it’s giant anime coffin. This 12-hour hallway simulator is pretty fun for about… 1/10th of the game. The remaining third-person antics will make you fall asleep mid-combat. Yes, there are some slick-looking unlockable attacks and bosses that’ll give thy hands a workout, but everything else is so dull, colourless and snoring. Just like that joke I made.
While it does control well and you do occasionally play as other anime stereotypes during the story, they unsurprisingly don’t move the needle much. One is almost a 1:1 copy of Grave, the main character, while another freezes enemies and button-mashes her way to victory. Pick your poison. But before that happens, you first have to power through the same repetitive types of encounters and questionable level designs that made me want to seal myself inside Grave’s godforsaken coffin. The problem is that sometimes you’ll have to move on top of a confined platform with very little room for error, often resulting in a rocket exploding our silent protagonist into a frustrating instant death scenario. Almost like the game is playing against itself.
That being said, Gungrave G.O.R.E. does have some decent brainwork involved here and there. Shielded enemies in particular, need their guards broken with melee attacks or a charged shot which usually leaves Grave wide-open to damage, forcing players to adapt on the fly. Whereas some situations require you to constantly grapple and hold enemies to protect Grave from incoming fire, as his luscious anime locks won’t be able to hold out for long without them.
Now My Hand Hurts
Outside of these two scenarios though, it mostly just consists of pressing the right trigger and the occasional melee action to reflect missiles and take down nearby enemies. Rinse and repeat, ad nauseam… Because there’s literally nothing else to do in this game besides moving from level to level whilst unleashing a storm of bullets. No optional routes, no side-quests, no gameplay switch-ups—nothing. Grave can upgrade his limit break attacks and stats between stages with boosts to bullet damage, target distance, HP and time spent in his angry power-boost phase for example. But that’s all she wrote.
Apart from the occasional loading stutter, Gungrave G.O.R.E. does run well at a near 60FPS on PC with NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FidelityFX upscaling options included. Although, some of the cutscenes did lag for no particular reason, and they weren’t even the super hi-res ones that play for important scenes. Not that it matters what’s happening in them, because the plot of Gungrave G.O.R.E. is absolute hogwash. Don’t even get me started on the stilted voice direction and hilariously evil, moustache-twirling villains. It all boils down to: something, something take down a mafia gang. Something, something guns go pow-pow.
Gungrave G.O.R.E. has some action-packed moments of gun-slinging action, but the formula just gets so boring, so fast. There’s nothing to do but move through linear hallways and shoot goons over and over with little to no variation. Yes, players can upgrade Grave’s stats and his abilities, although the gameplay loop can—and will get tiring well before the credits start rolling. The story and characters aren’t worth the time investment either, so save yourself 12 hours of monotony and go play something else.
I can’t remember the last time I played a game that was as linear and repetitive as this, but Gungrave G.O.R.E really takes the boredom cake. Yes, there are some cool mechanics like reflecting rockets and using soldiers as meat shields, but unless you enjoy mindlessly shooting thugs for days, it’s best to steer clear.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by PLAION. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.