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Gungrave G.O.R.E. is a bloody delightful PS2 era throwback

Heading into my Gamescom demo of Gungrave G.O.R.E., I had all but forgotten that it was a sequel to a long-forgotten PlayStation 2 series. That changed when I watched a five-minute developer introduction to the game at Gamescom, which included some charmingly archaic footage of the original 2002 action game. But if that hadn’t tipped me off, I surely would have pieced it together by playing the demo itself.

Gungrave G.O.R.E. is a loud and proud action game that feels both retro and new at the same time. It maintains the feel of a combo-heavy PS2 game like Devil May Cry without sacrificing modernity. More importantly, it does that while serving up buckets of blood.

Gungrave G.O.R.E - Bullets Beauty Badass Trailer

The big guns

Developed by Iggymob and published by Prime Matter, Gungrave G.O.R.E. is the first game in the Gungrave franchise since 2004. It’s an over-the-top third-person action game where players control a hero toting oversized guns and a casket. The demo’s opening cutscene shows him pouncing on a pack of guards, twisting one of their heads 180 degrees in the process. That should give you a sense of how gleeful Iggymob is about delivering big, dumb violence that’s totally divorced from reality.

“The only excess I want to see in a game like this is blood.”

The demo compresses a lot of tutorials into a short chapter, which means I got a lot of combat nuances thrown at me quickly. Guns are my core attack, as I can shoot them off without needing to reload or worry about ammo. The game simply doesn’t want me to stop shooting, something that’s evidenced by the fact that I can shoot while performing an evasion roll. I rack up massive triple-digit combos as I blow through enemies, eventually allowing me to mash the Y button and turn myself into a tornado of bullets.

My murderous toolset did not stop there. I could shoot out a hook that would drag an enemy towards me. As I held them, I shot at some more enemies over their shoulders and eventually chucked them aside like a projectile weapon. My trusty casket wouldn’t just allow me to smack enemies with a heavy thunk, but it would also give me access to four abilities. For instance, I could hit a button to turn it into a missile launcher that fired homing shots at my enemies.

The player shoots at enemies in Gungrave G.O.R.E.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If it’s not clear already, this is a game that basks in its ridiculousness. It’s not trying to do anything complicated here; it just wants to deliver a lot of immediately satisfying carnage. That’s where you can feel the PS2 DNA still alive in it. The level I played was a linear series of corridors presented in an old-school “Stage 1” set up culminating in a robot boss with a big green health bar. It has a story and cutscenes, but I don’t get the sense that the developers are focused on weaving an elevated modern narrative like 2018’s God of War. The goal is bombastic chaos, and the slice I played delivered that.

I’m excited to see if that level of high-octane action can sustain itself through an entire game. I’m hoping the final product clocks in at a tight runtime so as not to get repetitive and overstay its welcome. The only excess I want to see in a game like this is blood.

Gungrave G.O.R.E. launches on November 22 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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