PC Gaming Reviews

Gungrave G.O.R.E Review - Gungrave S.N.O.R.E

Author Rating

Gungrave G.O.R.E

Developer: Studio Iggymob
Publisher: Prime Matter
Release Date: November 22, 2022
Available as: Digital and Physical

Happy New Year, everyone! The year 2022 was an eventful year for 1 UP Infinite and as we enter 2023, we can’t wait for what the year of the rabbit has in store for us. Speaking of rabbits, let’s hop right into a game that I wish I didn’t have to dig into. I owed everyone my thoughts on Gungrave G.O.R.E and we’re going to kick off the New Year with just that. As I type this, however, I feel regret and disappointment. This was a game that should have been a celebration, a revival of an awesome IP that always felt it was one game away from being legendary. 

For a moment, Gungrave G.O.R.E almost feels like that kind of game. It has been almost 18 years since Gungrave Overdose and upon playing the first three levels, it feels like a true successor. Beyond the Grave has his two iconic revolvers, Cerberus, and the enormous coffin on his back that he uses as a melee weapon. 

Gungrave G.O.R.E has a "history" mode to get the player up to speed. If I didn't play the originals I'd be left confused.

As of this writing, I’m playing on the patch that introduced several QoL changes, new Demolition Shots, and a cel-shaded mode made to be like the original games. Since I’ve not played the pre-patched or the launch version of G.O.R.E, this is the only version I have a reference for. For a new studio with no relation to the original developers, Ikusabune or Red Entertainment (even though they once again take a publishing role), Iggymob had done their homework.

Learning from Gungrave V.R, their attempt at a new adventure within the series, featuring entirely new assets, was an ambitious one. Continuing right where Overdose left off, Grave moves rather fluently, at least in comparison to previous titles. The behind-the-shoulder infinite bullet gameplay returns although several things are simplified. Gone is the ability to use the coffin as cover. Grave has to position himself to avoid gunfire and stay alert when a rocket is heading towards his direction to parry it. The core gameplay returns, including burst mode, the demolition shot mechanic, and others. 


Now, when Grave uses a demolition shot, he restores health no matter which one he uses. Each shot uses anywhere from 1 to 3 stocks and his burst mode can be triggered with one stock. Aiming is like the previous games, with the targeting system automatically locking onto the closest enemy. Grave can “pin-point” his aiming, but this becomes an issue when the enemies are higher above his max range. 

An example of this is the drones that Grave will struggle to aim if the camera is uncooperative. In claustrophobic spaces like the top of a train or a crane, this is evident. In vast open spaces, the aiming system in Gungrave G.O.R.E shines. Unfortunately, Everything feels like a cheap imitation of the original titles. It's a step back from Overdose. Sure the particle effects are fantastic and the Demo Shots are even more extravagant than they ever were before, but it all feels like a movie where all of the budgets went into special effects and explosions. The gameplay, inconsistent cutscenes, and even the story take a backseat.


Gungrave never had an Oscar award-winning story and I mentioned in Overdose that the story wrapped up in the first game. I said that any future games would have a story relevant to the daily operations of Grave and not so much building his lore. Grave gets his revenge, he saves the girl, Mika, and now works for her as her guardian. Despite this, G.O.R.E somehow managed to make Grave feel more like a zombie than he was ever represented in previous media. In the first two games, Grave doesn’t speak but he still shows emotion especially when it comes to showing affection to those he considers family.

In G.O.R.E, whatever remnant of a “father-daughter” relationship Grave and Mika had is non-existent. Mika, who sports an entirely different appearance than her previous incarnations, is regulated to a foot-soldier who always manages to be one step ahead of Grave. For someone who isn’t meant to be put in harm's way, she finds herself in way too many situations where she’s the “damsel” that needs saving.

On one occasion, Grave has to run to her aid as Mika is surrounded by enemies. The timer on the bottom shows urgency in getting to her destination, only for her to be A-OK and leave Grave by getting in a rescue vehicle. Now Grave has to fend off waves of enemies, but, if this was the case, why the urgency? This isn’t the first time that the game presents itself with a problem and the solution is handled off screen and it’s so awkward when it’s implemented this way.

Speaking of awkwardness, the cutscenes have to be the most inconsistent level of quality I’ve seen in a video game. The opening to Overdose is one of the coolest “world-building” anime-style intros for a game series that doesn’t need an extravagant plot to cut loose. All of its charms are replaced with 3D CGI that comes off as Raid Shadow Legends-y. You know what I’m talking about — The kind of animation that screams “cool things are happening!” then cuts into gameplay in a jarring manner. 

There are also...very questionable translation choices. It tries too hard to sound "hip."

The graphics are beautiful, sure, but when paired with the stiffest gun animations I’ve ever seen, I can’t help but laugh. Even the opening cutscene with Grave going against several Mafia thugs consists of Grave delicately snapping a dude’s neck with one hand after putting a cavity in everyone’s chest moments before. Fortunately, the gameplay is fun if not flawed. There are two rates of fire, with the default being the burst fire mechanic reminiscent of Overdose.

Tapping the R2/RT button will fire a burst round of four shots and holding the button will allow Grave to charge a heavy shot, yet tapping away at the fire button gets tiresome fast. Even the game’s tip window cheekily mentions to “give your finger a break” if you’re playing in burst fire mode. Okay? I’ll just switch to Full Auto and never let go of the trigger, is what one would say. And one should switch to Full Auto mode and never let go of that trigger as that’s the most optimal way to play Gungrave G.O.R.E.


The more destruction you cause, the higher your combo counter goes. In-between waves of enemies are corridors that usually feature destructible items to keep the combo going. Once the combo meter reaches 50, Grave can use three types of burst attacks. Triggering the Triangle or Y button while dashing, jumping, or standing still will cause Grave to shoot wildly around him. 

The problem is that the range of this attack is shorter than his normal firing attack and it’s generally used for close-range crowd control. It is also the fastest way to gain stock for Demolition Shots and Burst Mode. In later levels, Grave is a sitting duck and when volleys of shotguns, rifles, miniguns, grenades, and a salvo of rockets are heading your way, the last thing the player needs to do is remain stationary.

This is coupled with how easy it is for players to drop their combo in Gungrave G.O.R.E. You could be inching closer to the coveted 1000 combo only for a split-second pause being long enough to drop your combo. It’s frustrating, but there’s no incentive to keep a combo going unless you’re trying to go for an S ranking. Players who just wish to clear a level will only care about the combo meter going past 50 as it unlocks more moves in Grave’s arsenal.

Occasionally there are boss fights but most of the fighting is telegraphed, complete with red “danger zones” that feel more like a Final Fantasy 14 boss fight than anything else. There’s very little variety between bosses and regular enemies as in gunning them down, entering burst mode for bonus damage, and using your demolition shots as finishers. This means each level plays out the same way and most are over before the player realizes what’s going on. There are a total of 31 levels in Gungrave G.O.R.E but about two-thirds feel like two or more parts of the same level.


One thing I can appreciate about G.O.R.E is its environment as the game takes place across South East Asia. The story is nothing to write home about — You have to stop this evil organization from spreading Seed, much like what you had to do in Overdrive. Instead of Spike, who had a pretty interesting characterization, a new character named Quartz serves as your navigator. Who is Quartz? What’s the deal with her arm? How did she end up working for Mika and with Grave? No one knows, but it’s a cute girl who knows martial arts.

Regardless, your first missions begin in a fictional location known as “Scumland,” which then transitions to Hong Kong following a failed mission that puts Mika’s life in danger. The way levels are set up in Gungrave G.O.R.E features different locales with levels spread across each country. Hong Kong, for example, has rooftops where you can fall to your death and alleyways. Scumland has a train level that, although short, is a train level. Vietnam of course has its expansive jungles. Malaysia has a grand indoor casino. 

Each locale also has a boss representative from the Raven Clan that Grave must deal with to progress the story. While each location differs from the other, there’s one huge drawback — Each level outside of its “signature” ones is all the same. Regardless of if Grave goes through the jungle or the rooftop, every other level takes place in laboratories that all look strikingly similar to each other despite the “world tour” that  Gungrave G.O.R.E takes the player.

What’s worse is that in an attempt to be unique, some of these levels offer platforming elements. One of the worst levels in the game happened to have been in the Vietnam section of the game. The level forces Grave to climb across moving crates to pick apart enemies that are tucked away in alcoves. Grave, much like every Gungrave title, is a hulking mass of an oaf who cannot jump higher than a few feet. 

This makes platforming segments a nightmare as one wrong jump means you have to redo the section over and over. Quartz, however, doesn’t have this issue as she’s quite agile in her jumping ability. It would be a shame, however, if you had the opportunity to play as two other characters only to find that you only spend a level with each one right? Fortunately, Gungrave G.O.R.E piles on the mediocracy by doing just that.


Bunji, a long-time rival of Grave, makes his playable debut in G.O.R.E after being an archnemesis to Grave since the first game. Playstyle-wise, he’s identical to Grave in almost every way except that he can move while burst firing, a trait unique only to him. A few levels later, the player controls Quartz, the navigator from earlier except it’s revealed that she’s a skilled martial artist.

Quartz doesn’t have any guns, but she makes up for it with the ability to freeze enemies in place.  Her melee combo is the longest and most powerful of the trio, but her lack of long-range firepower would make her target practice for enemies with guns, correct? Surprisingly not! All of the enemies she fights are the brutish mutants that Grave fought the level before. Her hand-to-hand combat is perfect for enemies who are also hand-to-hand. This is one of the few fun levels that assess a character’s strengths and gives them a fun course to show their traits off.


Unfortunately, this break in gunslinging monotony is fleeting as the rest of the game continues with Grave hunting down his targets…as he was sixteen levels before. At this point, it became a slog to go through a level. Not even the acting, filled to the brim with camp and a side of ham, couldn’t keep me entertained. It’s a shame as well because Ikumi Nakamura was the character designer for Gungrave G.O.R.E and her imagining of the Gungrave universe is rather unique. Ironically, when I’m not in a warehouse or laboratory, G.O.R.E’s aesthetic gives me Ghostwire Tokyo vibes, a game that she had briefly worked on before founding her studio.

Hence, my two-star rating for this title. A hesitant two-star that could have easily been a solid three and above. I think the main issue I had with Gungrave G.O.R.E is that it didn’t have the “Nightow Touch” that the original games and anime did. Sure, it had its blessing, but this is an example of taking an IP and trying to make it too similar to the older titles. The series was always doomed by its “Close but not close enough” reputation and having played all three against I reluctantly agree.

At the time of this writing, Gungrave G.O.R.E is currently on Xbox Game Pass, which I would say is the absolute best way to experience this game. Unless it’s on a heavy discount and you enjoyed your experience on Game Pass, I don’t recommend it in its current state. Blowing stuff up while causing chaos and leaving a bloody trail of guts in your wake sounds like an awesome way to spend an afternoon, and it is! Unfortunately, it’s something I can only recommend in intervals or until you get bored. What you see is what you get and it’s a shame it’s smoke and mirrors.

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

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