These days games focusing on delivering players with a challenge have become very mainstream. Games like Teslagrad and Limbo use puzzles and platforming to challenge a player's mind and reflexes or the Dark Souls series which knocks the player down to a mundane level. Whichever example you look at, they all have accessibility for a player to learn the game before pushing challenge onto them whether it be a short tutorial or starting you off in an easier area then ramping up the difficulty over time. The worst mistake you can make with an intentionally challenging game is to ignore this difficulty curve and just throw enemies at the player in an almost pointlessly random way. Sadly, this is one of the many problems I encountered playing GunWorld 2.
Review platform: Xbox One
Release date: May 13, 2016
GunWorld 2 first delivers its story through a cutscene at the beginning of the game, telling the story of the legendary GunMan Dwayne. Dwayne saved the planet GunWorld in the first game from an alien invasion with his partner Scott. Dwayne, after beating the alien race, went off to live a life of solitude but after many years of peace, a new alien threat has come to pacify GunWorld, so after being sought out by President Eagle he has come to defend the planet again. That is about all the story you will get since shortly after that you are thrust into the real game which locks the story behind that difficulty I will talk more about later.
I'm a sucker for 8-bit graphics since when they are done right they can give the feeling of nostalgia or convey emotions very well. With GunWorld 2 though, the graphics felt sloppy and conveyed almost nothing since even the text boxes when talking to an NPC were difficult to read. On the more technical side of things though, the game ran well aside from the freezing whenever you were transitioning areas and the long loading times. Overall, it was sad to see the graphics so ignored since it was one of the things that caught my eye the most when I first saw screenshots of the game.
The difficulty which I mentioned a couple times earlier was the biggest problem I had with GunWorld 2. The game does have a tutorial at the beginning of the game but instead of giving you the much-needed practice with the real “beginner” enemies, it instead teaches you the bare minimum against the weakest enemies and proceeds to cut all ties with you. After that almost useless tutorial, you finally get to experience the real game which brings out enemies that fly just in your hitbox so they can hit you and you can't hit them and enemies that throw spikes randomly so fast that you can't dodge them. Usually taking a few hits wouldn't be a problem if you didn't only have 3-4 health at the start of the game unless you grind random encounters for a couple hours on the world map to earn enough XP to level up.
Speaking of the world map, it was definitely cool to see the developer incorporate a big world map similar to the original Final Fantasy games. You can even encounter enemies while out exploring but it was almost always the same encounter and you can just run out of it really quick without actually having to do anything. It was really disappointing to see so much of the map barren and pointless, and partnered with the fact that there are no objective markers and the person that tells you where to go disappears after you talk to her, leads to a disaster that hurts the game in the end.
GunWorld 2 is a disappointing action-adventure platformer that tries to be challenging for all the wrong reasons. Using a barrage of hard-to-kill enemies instead of giving any real challenge for players to deal with destroys the fun of the game almost instantly. Even the few things the game did right with the cool world map were worn down by all the bad sides to them. Partnering all of that with a hard-to-access story along with undetailed and underwhelming 8-bit graphics kills GunWorld before you can even really start the game. Overall, I think it could have turned out much better if the game let you learn it before ramping up the difficulty.
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