Gunscape (PlayStation 4) Review

By Brandon Howard 12.03.2016

Review for Gunscape on PlayStation 4

Gunscape is the product of Blowfish Studios, and it has had an interesting development history. First launched as a Kickstarter project by the studio in early 2014, it was initially unable to reach its funding goal through crowd-funding, before securing additional help to complete the project. Initially planned for Steam and Xbox One, it has also come to the PS4, with a Wii U version currently in the works. With a lot of ambitious ideas and a whole boatload of customisation this has a lot to offer; in theory, at least.

Gunscape is the unapologetic lovechild of classic first-person shooters such as Doom and Quake, and the ever-popular Minecraft. While it heavily borrows from the gameplay of the former, it's definitely obvious where it gets the inspiration for its level design elements. The combination makes for a certainly unique, if not somewhat jarring experience.

The level editor is where the bulk of the game is, and it's pretty fleshed out. Floor patterns, spawn points, weapons, monsters, and more, all make for a robust selection of parts to craft levels with. While some impressive stages can definitely be built, navigating through the interface is, honestly, a chore. The controls are odd to use at first, a6nd adding more parts to place from the loadout of options is a confusing and very roundabout process. Level building takes a while to feel intuitive, but it does begin to come together after a while.

Screenshot for Gunscape on PlayStation 4

Unfortunately, the levels don't end up playing out that well. While the aforementioned FPS titles really made their mark through their tight and responsive controls, Gunscape ends up being marred largely through them being odd and somewhat annoying. Moving around the place feels slick and weird, as if the main character doesn't have appreciable weight, which makes it hard to judge any interactions with the environment. Jumping makes this sensation worse, and as a whole, feels like a very unwelcome addition.

The controls really end up being a lot of the undoing. While the tools needed to build a good FPS level are mostly here, it's hard to deliver on the experience when everything, from movement, to aiming, and shooting, feel clunky and imprecise. While there's definitely a variety of interesting weapons, few to none of them really have that classic 'BFG' feel to them, and none of them feel good to use. They're definitely lacking in punch, both in design and presentation.

Screenshot for Gunscape on PlayStation 4

Through the level builder, there's a fair amount of options for styles of play, ranging from local and online co-op, to capture the flag, team deathmatch, and more… but, unfortunately, the server connections are extremely unreliable, and the loading times are a concern to boot. Even in offline co-op, there's situations where the stages themselves outright lag behind, suffering from frame rate issues galore. While it might make sense with an online connection, it's hard to see justification for offline lagging as bad as it sometimes does.

In addition to the player built maps there is a short campaign mode that can be completed in about an hour, which, like the rest of the modes, feels clunky and largely unsatisfying. While its gameplay is a definite throwback to those FPS games of old, it's definitely borrowing from Portal and similar titles in its writing and narrative elements. Unfortunately, the story isn't particularly engaging, or even coherent. It borrows a lot from the narrative devices found in Portal and the like, but fails to deliver on what makes the characters in those titles engaging and appealing. Combined with its very odd presentation of its narrative through in-game terminals, it just ends up being something to string each stage together - and since death just means starting over from a checkpoint with all previously defeated enemies remaining so, there's no underlying threat, and even if there was, the plot elements don't actually provide any actual sense of engagement.

Screenshot for Gunscape on PlayStation 4

It's honestly impressive how everything seems to just stop working at times. While there weren't many situations in which the individual modes themselves became unresponsive, several times the menus refused to respond to controller inputs, requiring either entering a new level or resetting the game entirely; a lot of the pieces simply don't feel polished; aside from the freezes. There were even frequent occasions where the character would catapult into the air without aid from a spring pad. It really seems like a few more rounds of bug testing could have really smoothed out a few of the more noticeable wrinkles.

Aside from the issues with the game itself, the presentation itself leaves a bit to be desired. The design elements don't always mesh well, and even when they do, they don't feel particularly appealing. The player avatars don't really fit in either, and some are just simply weird, given the nature of the title. Visuals aside, the soundtrack definitely leaves a lot to be desired. There isn't a huge selection of tracks, and those that are available don't sound great the first time, let alone on repeat throughout an entire stage.

Screenshot for Gunscape on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

It's hard to imagine exactly who the target audience of Gunscape would end up being. Given the messy nature of the controls and physics, it's hard to see FPS fans of any rank eager to hop on board. While the level creator does make building levels more accessible than the modding community of more polished shooters, these tools don't really make up for the lack of reward implicit in playing through the levels a player will build. For all its good ideas, solid level building, and robust variety, this ultimately fails to deliver on its core mechanics, and that alone makes it a really challenging sell.

Developer

Blowfish Studios

Publisher

Blowfish Studios

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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