Enter The Gungeon PS4 Review - Beautiful Chaos

Going in, I didn't know what to expect from Enter the Gungeon. I don't think about it on a day-to-day basis, but when it's all said and done, dungeon crawlers and roguelikes are some of my favorite games out there. The fear of the unknown, the danger of dying and the reward of succeeding. No other genre can capture those feelings quite as well. It had been a long time since I played one of these bad boys on my PlayStation 4, and thanks to Enter the Gungeon, my hunger has been sated...for now.

So...what is Enter the Gungeon about? Well, it is a top-down, bullet hell dungeon crawler that follows four misfits willing to shoot, loot, dodge roll and table-flip their way to fixing their previous mistakes by reaching the legendary Gungeon’s ultimate treasure: a gun that can kill the past. Once you learn the plot, most storytelling is thrown out the window, and you get countless hours of fast-paced, hair ripping madness.

As soon as I started playing, I was charmed by Enter the Gungeon's presentation. It's pretty much flawless. Far too many smaller, independent games try to put every egg on the 'gameplay' basket. And while that's all fair and good, 'amazing gameplay with unpleasant, framey visuals' isn't really 'amazing gameplay'. Classics such as Mega Man and Castlevania had a very distinct, attractive design that superbly complemented their mechanics. The gungeon perfectly captures that feeling. The graphics are adorable! Full of color and originality. It runs impeccably;no frame drops or studdering, which is very remarkable since there is a lot happening at every moment. I was also shocked by how good the environmental design is. Chambers are full of details and destroyable items like books, barrels and lamps. Overall, it is light and pleasing to see. Luckily, the fun doesn't stop there.

Indeed, Enter the Gungeon's biggest asset comes with its gameplay. In the same fashion as many dungeon crawlers, you're drop into the world, having to survive, kill every enemy, and defeat a final boss before moving on to the next floor. However, the way it's presented in here makes it seem extremely different. Every room, in every floor has been previously made, but the specific rooms and their location is always randomized. This means that every playthrough is entirely different, but you'll never encounter a space in which the odds are completely stacked against you.

Another thing that makes this feel like its own beast is the maniacal shooting. Many roguelikes are set in medieval times, which means that most of your offense is done with close range weapons such as swords and arrows. Enter the Gungeon takes the guns, and it fully embraces them. Honestly, the guns take the game to the next level. At every area, you find yourself in complete chaos. Certain enemies have pistols and shotguns, while others are wizards, knights and even running grenades. And although that's pretty cool, it doesn't compare to the state of the art weaponry you posses. Each of the four characters starts every run with their signature light and heavy weapon. These vary from pistols to crossbows, but nothing too complex. As you discover each chamber, you can find new weapons by opening chests or buying them using in-game currency. That's where it heats up. The variety in here is extraordinary. From AK-47's, to laser guns, rainbow pistols and a mailbox that shoots letters, the arsenal is very satisfying. Every weapon has its own nuances, different speeds, reload time and sound effects, and they all help you defend yourself against the dozens of deaths you'll be suffering.

I shouldn't have to tell you this, but this game is pretty hard. At times, excruciatingly hard. In the best way possible. The shooting mechanics in here are great. Exceptionally fluid. As you're trying to kill your enemies, they will shoot an enormous amount of bullets at you. Your only options when facing danger are to roll (you're untouchable while performing this action) or to flip a table to take cover (tables break if they receive too much damage). Even after playing for multiple hours, you will get hit. If this happens, you lose half a heart. Lose your hearts, and it's game over. However, every single time I died, I didn't blame the game. I blamed myself for having the reflexes of a three-legged ant. That's how you know your game is hard, in the right way.

At first, I was disappointed to find out that Enter The Gungeon didn't really have a progression system. Most roguelikes make you believe that every time you die there's a silver lining. You obtain currency to upgrade your equipment or you are allowed to keep the items and weapons you found. Developer Dodge Roll decided to avoid said mechanics. The more I played though, I started liking it. The stakes are higher than ever. Dying will instantly have you cursing the holiest of saints. But defeating one of the particularly challenging bosses will feel like you just succeeded at life. And even if there's no major sense of progression, there are some small features that make a big difference, such as "coins" being pulled into your character after clearing a room and a lifesaving 'fast travel' mechanic that allows you to transport yourself from room to room once you beat it.

As far as negatives, I only have one. The soundtrack. Let me be clear: the music in the game is not bad. It's decent. And that's my issue. From beginning to end, I thought the songs were there to complement the experience, not to enhance it. Which isn't necessarily a negative. What I'm trying to say is that the tracks never broke the immersion whatsoever, but they are the one thing that keeps this game from being the best one I've played this year.

Verdict: Enter the Gungeon is a masterpiece in gameplay, originality and badassness. For $14.99, you can't go wrong. Go shoot some fools!

The Good
- Addictive, Fun Gameplay
- Polished Presentation
- Gun Variety
- Awesome Bosses

The Bad
- "Okay" Soundtrack

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