Gungrave G.O.R.E Review

Gungrave G.O.R.E. by developer IGGYMOB and publishers Plaion and Prime MatterMicrosoft Xbox Series X|S review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Gungrave G.O.R.E. isn’t really a bad game. The problem is that it’s not really a good one either. It’s more style over substance. There is plenty of relatively mindless action to be had here, and for those who are looking for heavy action similar to what you’d find in arcades in years past, Gungrave G.O.R.E. delivers that pretty well by and large.

For those unfamiliar with the Gungrave series, it’s based on an anime that follows protagonist Brandon Heat who has the mantle Gunslinger of Resurrection. It’s very much meant to put you in control of a tough-as-nails sort of anti-hero who is taking on waves of enemies because of… reasons. I mean, there’s a bit of a story here, but it’s super thin. Maybe if I had greater familiarity with the anime (I know next to nothing about it), or the prior games (I actually enjoyed the VR titles – their presentation in virtual reality gave it a certain extra ‘umph’ visually at least), so I’m not overly invested in the characters or world. And though the game says you don’t need to be familiar with the overall backstory to understand what’s going on before playing this game (due to a recap at the start), and I’d generally agree with that statement, it might have helped me feel a bit more invested in the happenings.

It doesn’t help that our protagonist really only has a few lines throughout. The focus is really on the action here, as evidenced by “Kick Their Ass” at the start of each level. There’s no beating around the bush here, and really – maybe that’s for the best as that puts the focus on what Gungrave G.O.R.E. does do best – deliver loads of fast-paced action that certainly has its rewarding moments. It's just that when I put the controller down, there wasn't anything all that memorable about the game outside of a few of those moments either.

It’s easy to just say that you’re supposed to go out and tear your opponents to shreds, but Gungrave G.O.R.E. deserves some credit for building in mechanics that really do try to push that. Gameplay is really not about defense. There are some jumping / dodging / diving mechanics at play here, but even those often feel like they’re a lead-in to attacks. The shooting has a sort of baked in aim-assist that helps you zero in on targets, and there’s a combo system at the core of the gameplay that is there as a way of encouraging constant forward moment. Even if there aren’t enemies on the screen, you want to shoot nearby environmental objects to keep those strings going.

Even the block is more of a deflection – and it’s certainly flashy in that it’s swinging a coffin around. That coffin serves as both a deflection tool for things like incoming missiles and also your melee attacks. These sort of non-stop action mechanics, when melded with really linear levels keeps the action pretty relentless. In fact, the level designs while they look cool by and large, and some of them have slightly unique aspects to them, just don’t offer much else. There’s a handful of small detours you can take that are fairly meaningless outside of looking for more enemies to pummel. There’s no collectibles or hidden rewards tucked into nooks and crannies. It really is just a game built around constantly shooting at things that are also continually shooting at you. I think most of the levels were knocked out in about a dozen minutes or less.

There are nearly a few dozen stages though, which does help add to the amount of time playing you have here, but there’s really just not a lot of depth to them. By about one-third of the way through Gungrave G.O.R.E., I kind of felt like I had seen the majority of what the enemies had to offer. Sure, later stages might change some colors or add a small modification to what I had seen before, but there’s not a ton of variety to be had. Which leads to later stages mostly consisting of fighting the same guys you have been, just more of their most annoying forms. It doesn’t help that our protagonist is a very slow character, and he feels a bit out of sorts when matched against quicker characters – especially when they come in clusters in a somewhat tight space.

The game’s special attacks are pretty entertaining though. I mentioned smacking enemies with a coffin as a melee attack, and the execution moves and special attacks / Demolition Shots feel weighty and are rewarding when you get to use them. That helps, especially when you find some of the more annoying enemies out there (in particular there are these massive guys near the end that blot out a lot of the screens visibility, or these shield-toting characters that just sort of break up the otherwise natural flow of combat). These enemies frustrate more than they challenge half the time.


Gungrave G.O.R.E. feels like one of those games that would have felt right at home in an arcade years ago. The action’s borderline unrelenting, and some of the cheaper, more annoying hordes of characters almost feel like they were made for eating someone’s quarters.

Characters look interesting and creative early on, but like the gameplay become repetitive fairly early into things, which is a shame since there are a lot of beautifully realized if linear environments that feel more like they are meant to be ‘gotten through’ instead of enjoyed and explored.

Gungrave G.O.R.E. has some rewarding moments here and there, but it’s a relatively average game that is likely only to appeal to hardcore fans of action games of the source material.

Score: 6 / 10



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