Gungrave GORE is arguably wasting the power of PS5 and Xbox Series X. Some developers are taking advantage of these systems for photorealism, others are trying to eradicate load times, and what is Iggymob doing? It’s building a badass action game that looks, sounds and handles as if it was released on PlayStation 2. And I don’t mean to make that comparison in the same way some social media commentators might – where the fingers are pointed at something. as well as the sparse environments in Pokemon Legends: Arceus before some kind of stupid comparison to the sixth generation of home consoles is drawn.
If editor Prime Matter told me that Gungrave GORE had recently been unearthed after sitting in a drawer gathering dust for 18 years, given a little tweak under the hood, and then put out into the world, I’d believe them. Consequently, 18 years is how long it has been since the last full game in the series was released: Gungrave Overdose in 2004. Arguably too niche to be considered a PS2-era cult classic, Overdose was praised for its action. absurdity and its unique aesthetic. and criticized for its unwieldy blocking and uneven presentation. The same can (and probably) be said for Gungrave GORE as well.
And to be very clear: I’m not being a snob about a game that so blatantly tries to tap into nostalgia for a different era of action game design. There’s something so lovingly old-fashioned about the core ethos of Gungrave GORE that it was hard not to smile as he played the damn thing. I don’t know if it was the fact that the Cerberus pistols auto-lock on enemies and fire four bullets every time I pull the trigger, that there was a button I could press to spin Grave on the spot and fire projectiles wildly at all directions, or that the industrial metal song that accompanied the carnage repeated the lyrics “time to die, time to kill” on a loop, but they had a good time.
Whether those good times can be sustained throughout a full 12-hour experience remains to be seen – I remember the original Gungrave could be completed in just a couple of hours, and that was enough to satiate. On the other hand, Iggymob is clearly leaning towards carnage that can be forged with unlimited ammo, and there’s joy in maintaining an absurdly high Beat Count between staging areas, so perhaps Gungrave GORE can keep the party going.
Fall 2022 Preview
Gungrave GORE is part of the GamesRadar+ Fall 2022 Preview, which explores all the games you’ll be able to play before the end of the year.
If you come to Gungrave GORE hoping it will play like one of the best PS2 games with modern design sensibilities, you’ll be disappointed. While the framerate was relatively constant in my demo, the game hardly looks like a product of 2022, even by AA visual standards. Environments and character models are a bit flat and washed out, motion is heavy, levels are linear, and both the third-person shootout and melee with the transforming EVO coffin can feel a bit finicky.
But in a way it works, in its own way. Gungrave GORE is fast and loose, with almost every button press unlocking a new way to unleash a tornado of bullets and shower the screen in gratuitous blood. It’s old-fashioned, no doubt about it, but in a way that I appreciate. The video game industry has always had a fascination with the past, making it easy for gamers to be blinded by the false promises of nostalgia: I’m as guilty as anyone. So Gungrave GORE presents a unique opportunity: what would a new PS2 game look like if it were released in 2022? For better or worse, we will find the answer to that question this November.
Gungrave GORE is one of the new games for 2022 which you should watch with interest. It will be released on November 22 for PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X and Xbox One.