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Gungrave: GORE Review – A Gory, Gothic Power Fantasy (PS5)

Gungrave: GORE has been a long time coming for long-time fans of the franchise like myself. It has been twenty years since the last entry in the series dropped for PS2 and following years of delays, Gungrave: GORE is finally here in all of its over-the-top, deadly, gothic glory. The question that everyone is asking is; was this thing worth the wait?

In order to adequately answer that question, you must first ask yourself another question; what are you looking for in Gungrave: GORE? If your answer is; a silly, tanky, pretty, gory, stiff, gothic power fantasy, then you will likely feel as if it was worth the wait. However, if you were expected something with a bit more flow, then you may be left somewhat disappointed.

Gungrave: GORE releases on November 22nd, 2022, on PCPlaystation and Xbox consoles.

Recently, I was lucky enough to review a game called Evil West. Like Gungrave: GORE, Evil West contained many old school features and sensibilities, calling to mind a bygone era of console gaming. Also like Gungrave: GORE, Evil West was a video game not afraid to be a big, dumb video game. Neither title pretends to be anything other than what it is and, if anything, these games are proud of their heritage and that is a refreshing thing to see.

Also read: Evil West Review – Style AND Substance (PS5)

With that being said, there is one huge difference between the two games. Evil West carries old school sensibilities, but due to its smooth control scheme and gameplay systems, it still manages to feel like a modern game. Whereas, Gungrave: GORE is a game with antiquated sensibilities which also plays like a game from twenty years ago.

The character of Grave is supposed to be dead, so perhaps the stiff gameplay is down to rigor mortis.
The character of Grave is supposed to be dead, so perhaps the stiff gameplay is down to rigor mortis.

Again, this is not necessarily an indictment of the gameplay in Gungrave: GORE. If what you are looking for is a direct continuation of the first two Gungrave titles on PS2, then this is it; warts and all. However, if you feel that given the fact that Gungrave: GORE is being released two decades ahead of the most recent Gungrave sequel, it therefore should have moved with the times, then you are going to be sorely disappointed.

The stubbornness to update the gameplay in Gungrave: GORE is just one of many aspects of the game which make it clear that this was always a project made for pre-established fans of the franchise. This is also why I am somewhat struggling to remain completely unbiased in my critique of this thing; because I am a fan of those old games.

Also read: The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me Review (PS5)

One thing I can objectively comment on though, is the fact that the visual style of Gungrave: GORE is awesome. Gungrave: GORE looks like a retro game in terms of its art direction and style, however the power of the current generation has been utilised to adorn the environments and character models with high resolution textures and advanced lighting systems, making the whole thing look glorious.

Open areas like this are where Gungrave: GORE really shines, both gameplay-wise and graphically.
Open areas like this are where Gungrave: GORE really shines, both gameplay-wise and graphically.

The graphical detail isn’t always there across the board in Gungrave; GORE, but it is able to pull off a unique visual style which many other 2022 titles could not pull off. There is a definite beauty to found in the carnage of some of Gungrave: GORE’s most chaotic moments. These moments are undoubtedly the biggest improvement over the old Gungrave games.

Gungrave: GORE is going to be a divisive title for many gamers. If you are craving that nostalgic arcade feeling, (complete with stiff tank controls,) then this will be right up your street. If not though, then Gungrave: GORE should likely be avoided, and is likely only worth checking out if you already own GamePass, as this title is dropping on the service on day one.

7/10

Gungrave: GORE was reviewed on PS5 with a code provided by PLAION.

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Written by Daniel Boyd

Daniel is a 27-year-old writer from Glasgow. He graduated from university with an honours degree in 3D Animation, before pivoting to pursue his love for critical writing. He has also written freelance pieces for other sites such as KeenGamer.com and The Big Glasgow Comic Page. He loves movies, video games and comic books.