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Review: Gungrave G.O.R.E

Lock and Load

There’s been certain kind of game that has on the rise for some time now, and that is the arcade-style action game. There are plenty of selections to satisfy action needs, but most aren’t like the ones from the sixth generation of consoles. Quick, to the point, complete and cohesive, these earlier games leaned into absurdity, comical violence, and most importantly, fun. In 2022, publisher Prime Matter and developer IGGYMOB have brought such a game. Rising from its grave, Gungrave has returned as Gungrave G.O.R.E.

It’s been a long time coming for Gungrave as the last significant installment released 20 years ago, if one skips the VR game from 2019. Video games have significantly change in the years since the PlayStation 2. Gungrave G.O.R.E doesn’t care. Gungrave G.O.R.E is here to have a barrel of fun.

A SEED Grows

The future is a dystopia of science and criminality. The alien drug, known as SEED, has sent entire swaths of the world into ruin. SEED is an invaluable alien substance. SEED is a drug for untold possibilities, both good and bad. Having been brought back to life by SEED, Grave continues his unending quest of justice. He avenged his own murder. He protected his adoptive daughter Mika. Now, Grave continues to seek vengeance, traveling across all of Southeast Asia to punish those responsible for so much corruption. The darkest truths lurk in the shadows. A nightmare is beginning to unfold.

Gungrave G.O.R.E cuts right to the chase. An opening cinematic shows Grave crushing an unsuspecting soldier, with the others falling dead at the hands of Grave. With his guns, Cerberus, Grave proceeds to break directly into an enemy base. There are no distractions against the player. No long-drawn menus to sift through. The screen flashes to the player to “Kick Their Ass.” Players can now control Grave. The game begins.

“Kick Their Ass”

Grave is a force to be reckoned with from the start. Cerberus has unlimited ammunition. Players aim, dodge, and shoot to their hearts content. A fun tutorial introduces Grave’s many moves and abilities, unlocking one by one. By the end of the tutorial, players can take enemies hostage, perform demolition shots, and swing their Coffin around for devastating melee attacks. The early moments of Gungrave G.O.R.E appear as a cakewalk. Gungrave G.O.R.E shortly reveals its meatier, more challenging core by the tutorial end.

Gungrave G.O.R.E is a euphoric action-packed extravaganza. Guns blast away foes. Barrels constantly explode. Enemies become fodder to Cerberus bullets, blood and limbs flying everywhere. Monsters are ripped to shreds. A pulsating hard rock soundtrack thumps the soundscape. Gungrave G.O.R.E becomes an orchestra of jubilant violence that is hard to put down once the fun gets started.

Wield the tools of the Trade

Part of the fun are the abilities of Grave. This all stems from BEATS. Every hit on an enemy builds a beat. Build enough beats and stronger attacks are unlocked. One attack, the storm barrage, unlocks after 50 beats, which puts Grave into a shooting pattern like the Death Blossom in The Last Starfighter, with strong bullets flying everywhere. Demolition shots are devastating attacks that make use of Grave’s Coffin. One such shot turns the coffin into a missile and another a raging flamethrower.

As the 12+ hour quest continues, players obtain DNA as currency. That currency can then be spent on upgrading abilities and unlocking new skills. Gaining currency is a matter of various attributes from enemies killed to beat score and destruction style. There is a bevy of skills to unlock. This makes repeat playthroughs a joy for those that want to truly master the game. Each step makes Grave even more powerful.

With great power comes bullets

All this power has many ways to use it. The enemy is no pushover, using advanced technology, heavy weapons, and SEED themselves to fight players. This can lead to difficulty spikes, but it does make the action more white-knuckled. The enemy variety range from basic grunts to larger enemies that become damage sponges. As the game progress, more technologically advanced and biologically mutated enemies come into view. Gungrave G.O.R.E also has its fair share of challenging boss fights, as well, giving action aficionados plenty to work on.

Gungrave G.O.R.E relishes in its old-fashioned take on action. There are enemies to shoot and bosses to fight. It’s quick, to the point, and doesn’t overly complicate things. It’s a solid adventure spanning cities and jungles, from Hong Kong to Vietnam. Gungrave G.O.R.E provides a refreshing throwback to earlier times that makes this grizzled reviewer genuinely happy. Though not all is great in Grave’s world.

A Blast from 2002

Gungrave G.O.R.E unashamedly wears the early 2000s on its sleeves. This was a phase in which games focused on repetitive gameplay to sell themselves. And Gungrave G.O.R.E is remarkably repetitive. The environments change. There are different bosses and enemies. But the core gameplay remains the same throughout. Enemies attack and players shoot back. Some players may be okay with that. Out of all the games available at the moment, Gungrave G.O.R.E is simpler and more direct.

Difficulty spikes are the biggest sticking points of Gungrave G.O.R.E. One level has players fighting hordes of enemy soldiers and drones atop a train. The final segment of the level involves getting to a low-lying car before being crushed by the tunnel. This spike was most frustrating. The spikes become an ordeal of trial and error for a set amount of time. This makes Gungrave G.O.R.E’s focus on 2002 level gameplay a little too accurate.

The Gunslinger of Resurrection

The focus on something tried and true as opposed to a game mechanic that is more tactical may turn off some players. Moreover, while there are different enemies, each enemy can be felled with lots of bullets. There is no room for tactical planning or strategic thinking. Additionally, the story for Gungrave G.O.R.E isn’t anything sophisticated. The story sees a mission to complete, and various characters crossing paths with Grave. The focus of Gungrave G.O.R.E is the action. More storytelling would have been appreciated, but the story is serviceable given the action heavy experience.

Many will argue that Bayonetta 3 sweeps the floor with Gungrave G.O.R.E. However, seeing the philosophy woven within the game better understands what Gungrave G.O.R.E sets out to do. Gungrave G.O.R.E isn’t trying to be like anyone else but be its own presence in games. The action is meant as a celebration of a golden era in games. It’s clear that the team at Gungrave G.O.R.E feels strongly about this style of game and the era of gaming it once thrived in. In that sense, Gungrave G.O.R.E is not simple and action game but a celebration.

Enjoy the Ride

It has its flaws, and it plays like a game from 20 years ago. However, that is not a bad thing. Gungrave G.O.R.E plays a tribute to that wonderful time in gaming. It’s a ferociously good time. It’s full of action and challenge. A sharp presentation and a unique anime-inspired world draws players in. Gungrave G.O.R.E is a good time, flaws and all.

Gungrave G.O.R,E. is available on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S and PC.


Gungrave G.O.R.E plays like a game from 2004, which is for better and for worse. It has difficulty spikes and repetitive gameplay, but in an age lacking in action, this game packs a punch for a great time!


Gungrave G.O.R.E plays like a game from 2004, which is for better and for worse. It has difficulty spikes and repetitive gameplay, but in an age lacking in action, this game packs a punch for a great time!

User Rating: 4.33 ( 3 votes)
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