A game I discovered whilst scanning through the FPS and Indie hashtags on Twitter, Gunfire Reborn immediately caught my attention with its distinctive visual style and Weapon Field Guide, a series of short videos depicting some of the awesome weapons that make up the game’s arsenal. Upon first glance, the co-operative rogue-lite looked fluid, fun and full of content, and that first assessment wasn’t too far off the mark.
Developed by the Hong Kong division of Duoyi Interactive Entertainment, Gunfire Reborn landed on Steam on May 22nd. Gunfire Reborn is currently the only game on Steam under the developer’s umbrella, and if the sheer quality of this effort is anything to go by, it will be the catalyst for a hell of a lot more of those in the future.
Gunfire Reborn puts you in the paws of feline warrior, and tasks you with adventuring through dungeons and deserts to defeat the bosses that stand guard over certain stages. The story is left pretty open-to-interpretation, with far more of an emphasis on gameplay and gunplay. Throughout the game you’ll be given access to a second character, though this is extremely far in, and I am around half-way towards it after over ten hours of playtime. Whilst the game would benefit from this character being available earlier, I feel that with some permanent co-operative partners involved it would be a much easier task.
The gameplay of Gunfire Reborn consists of the player shooting their way through four mostly-linear procedurally generated environments, followed by a boss stage, followed again by four mostly-linear environments, and again by a boss stage. It’s a solid formula that really allows you to improve, upgrade and earn on your way towards the gargantuan bosses, and there’s a huge roster of weaponry for you to try your hand at before committing to just a couple to use during the boss fight. The game is pretty difficult, and as of writing this piece I have only managed to get beyond the first boss fight twice, both times alone. You’d think it’d be a little easier with a partner, but truth be told I am not sure it is.
Balancing to account for extra players seems to be where Gunfire steers things a little off-course. Whilst the first boss of the game, Lu Wu, is an 80000 health points in the single player, he jumps to almost 30000 with just one additional player, making for a fight you’d have to be unlawfully skillful to be able to win. Whilst this is counterbalanced slightly by the ability to revive your teammates (something you can only do once in a single-player run, paid for with soul essence, which you earn slowly as you make your way through the game), there still isn’t really enough time to get over to, stop, and heal your teammate whilst a gigantic boss battle is occurring. I’d be interested to try the four-player co-operative mode out, but as it stands I have found it difficult to get four players with decent enough internet connection all online at the same time, though this is a severe lack of friends issue rather than a problem with the game itself.
Now, you might be sitting there thinking that this game isn’t actually any good, but the above issues are miniscule compared to the sheer enjoyment I have had so far with Gunfire Reborn. With 34 different weapons that have various unlock requirements, there’s a lot of choice as to how you want to go about mowing down your enemies, and the 106 individual scrolls, that acts as enhancements and limitations on your playstyle, there’s a huge opportunity for uniqueness across different runs. There are also a number of different monsters that you’ll encounter, ranging from grenadiers to spear-throwers, desert coyotes to crossbowmen, and each of the enemies requires a different approach to dispatch. The longbowmen made me so infuriated through their rapid, curving arrow blasts, and I made a point of rushing my way to them and blasting them in the face before they could even get a round off.
Gunfire Reborn really lays an emphasis on upgrading your weapons, and choosing abilities to compliment them, whilst you can pop a few golden goblet skill points into extra grenades or special ability charges, you can also use them to increase damage for certain element types, the core three of fire, corrosion and electricity. Each will come in handy too, as corrosion is good at taking out armour, electricity is good for blasting through shields, and who doesn’t want to set everything on fire? You’ll need to repeatedly pump your coins into these upgrades, as the further you get the more useless your weapons become, and you don’t want to get laid out by a little beetle after a really solid run-through.
Duoyi’s FPS carries with it a beautiful art-style that seems to blend the cel-shaded look of XIII and Borderlands with a crisp, heavily outlined that emanates the comic books of yesteryear. It’s a real looker, and very impressive for a first Steam outing. I experienced absolutely zero technical issues either, with the game consistently achieving over 100fps and no texture pop-in apparent either. You can tell Gunfire Reborn is a well-made passion project, and given the way that a lot of unfinished games make it onto today’s market (even from AAA studios), this is a breath of fresh air.
Gunfire Reborn has definitely shown me that I need to keep an eye on Twitter for new games cropping up, and it’s reminded me of how much I adore the rogue-lite genre. Whilst the game’s balancing does seem to need a little work to account for people that don’t have any friends, this is an absolute gem. Gunfire Reborn is fast-paced, fluid and fun, and it’s a game I will definitely return to over and over, especially once the player-base expands.
You can pick up a copy of Gunfire Reborn here, just make sure to get some friends involved!
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