27/11/2020

☠️ GTFO | EARLY ACCESS | Review By Dr Congo Fighting "Work Together OR Die together" ☠️ @TenChambers #IndieGames #GameDev

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OK, so let’s get the first bit out of the way. 

The game’s name is an acronym. I know what it stands for, you know what it stands for, but this is a civilised place, so let’s just keep it to ourselves, eh?

GTFO is a hard multiplayer experience, in which you will want to get your objectives completed as quickly as possible and...well, leave the area as the name suggests. 

Less “run and gun” than “creep and weep”, GTFO presents you and up to three mates with the opportunity to descend into the complex and try to kill a bunch of mutated and monstrous light sleepers with very bad tempers. 

It’s dark. It’s foggy. It’s less pleasant than a trip to the dentist. And you WILL need three mates if you’re going to have a chance at survival because this game pulls no punches. 

You play as a team of 4 preserved criminals, woken from stasis to be sent on errands by the mysterious “Warden” in an underground complex that has been overrun by some rather unpleasant nasties. 

I run the risk of sounding like one of those god awful people that run corporate team-building exercises here, but I cannot stress enough how key communication is in this game. And be under no illusions – the game is HARD, and difficulty doesn’t scale with party size. 

It’s designed for four of you to work together. I’m sure some wunderkind out there might be able to manage a solo run, but I really wouldn’t recommend it, and neither do the devs. And to be honest, playing with others is just tons more fun anyway.

First up you need to sort out your team’s loadout. Each player gets a main weapon, a special weapon, a tool and a melee weapon. From what I can gather the melee weapon choice is simply cosmetic, they all share the same properties in terms of damage and handling. 

Main weapons vary between pistols, assault rifles, SMGs and marksman rifles. Special weapons include shotguns,  sniper rifles, and a revolver. 

The tools are what can bring some interesting tactics into the game. Players can choose between a C-Foam launcher (freeze an enemy, shore up a door), a Bio-tracker (tag moving enemies, see how many are behind a door), a Mine Deployer (which, er, deploys mines), and a Burst sentry (you know, like that bit in Aliens where they lock themselves in a control room. You haven’t seen Aliens? We all make mistakes in life. Stop reading this, go and watch it and then come back later). A good mix of these tools could just be the edge you need to go up against the monsters you’ll face in the game. 

Once you’re suitably tooled up, it’s straight onto the world’s worst Alton Towers ride, which deposits you down in the complex. Once you’re down there, the fun begins. 

The complex itself is dark, foggy,  atmospheric, and nicely designed. Incidentally, the levels are designed by humans (and change with each season, or as GTFO calls them, “rundowns”), but pickups and enemies are randomly spawned for each run. This keeps things interesting as you grow familiar with chokepoints in a level, but never really know what’s around the next corner. 

As you wander toward your objectives, you’ll find some useful kit. Lock melters allow you to open padlocks silently. Fog repellers clear fog, letting you see the area more clearly. Glow sticks... well, to be honest, we couldn’t work out the point of glow sticks but that’s most likely because one of our team had a penchant for walking around with his flashlight on, doing a passable impression of a lighthouse. C-Foam grenades are a one-shot version of the launcher that will reinforce a door or immobilise an enemy. 

You’ll also encounter terminals, which can be interrogated for information. You can use them to ping the location of your objectives, but also consumables – so if you’re low on ammo or health, you might just be able to use a terminal to help you find where to restock. 

Let’s get onto the residents of the complex. You’re not likely to want to arrange a coffee morning any time soon. Its sort of like a Madame Tussaud’s sculptor had a psychotic break involving an obsession with Venus flytraps. Thankfully, they’re mostly asleep when you encounter them. The downside is that they’re very light sleepers. 

Get close to them and they’ll almost wake, lighting up to show they’re aware that someone is there. This is your warning to stay silent, and turn off your flashlight rather than keep cutting about the place with the bat signal strapped to your head (if you’re reading this, you know who you are. No, I still haven’t forgiven you). Disturb them any further, and they’ll wake, bringing with it the chance that they’ll wake the other enemies in the area, triggering a horde which will likely spell instant death. But if you keep the noise down and creep around them, you have a good chance of getting the upper hand. 

And this is where we get back to the importance of communication in the game. Much like a pride of lions on the hunt, co-ordinating attacks and planning tactics are what will keep you alive. Open fire and wake everyone up. The smart money is on getting you all positioned around an enemy each, and as one organism, walloping the enemies in the noggin with your melee weapons. Similarly, exploration can make noise. Hacking a storage case makes a noise if your timing is out. If you come up against a padlocked door, how will you proceed? The Bio-tracker will tell you if there’s a bunch of enemies that you’ll wake by smashing the lock with your sledgehammer. If there are, does anyone in your party have a lock melter? Can you find one? Can someone else? Features like being able to draw on the map come in pretty handy here, allowing your mate to point out where he “thought he saw one, about half an hour ago”.  

If you don’t have three mates that fancy popping into hell to do some adventuring, there is now a matchmaking option in the game. I’m on the fence as to whether you’re better playing with friends, or whether there’s an added element of realism by being thrown into this with people you don’t know. Time will tell. 

As much as this game is about stealth, there are some opportunities to go loud and give those trigger fingers some exercise, and those are around what I’ll refer to as the set pieces in the game. These usually involve transitioning between areas. 

Some security doors will trigger an alarm that will bring waves of enemies with it. Tactics come in here – work out which doors to close and possibly reinforce. Look for chokepoints to place your turrets in to create the most carnage. Maybe lay some strategic mines, and then, when you’re feeling confident, open that door and unleash hell...

We found our playthroughs of GTFO to be a ton of fun. Deaths didn’t feel cheap, in fact, they pushed us to plan better, change tactics, build strategies and approaches. 

The bottom line is: if you’ve got a group of mates who work well together as a team and enjoy challenging horror-FPS gameplay, I think you’re going to love it. 

NB: GTFO is in early access at the moment, and I expect the devs will address some of the issues that are indeed present here, although none of them are game-breakers. Controller support could use a little work, and there’s an odd visual issue where the team members disappear from view on the journey into the complex.

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