We’re on an express elevator to hell, going down. Aliens character Hudson summarises many of my feelings when playing GTFO. Panic, fear, paranoia, and losing the will to keep fighting. These are all things I’ve felt with every drop down into the mysterious complex. GTFO is punishing and scary, but it’s also excellent.
Platforms: PC Steam
Players: Up to 4
Genres: FPS, horror, Online co-op
Developer: 10 Chambers
Before getting into the meat of this, I’ll just mention that I’ve not actually completed a full rundown of the game. Only some missions across each run down that’s taken place since early access began.
As you plummet hundreds of feet into the complex, wind whistling violently past your ears as you stare into the blank masks of your squadmates you just know you’re in for a rough time. Every inch of GTFO feels like it has been designed with immersion in mind. From navigating the menus with their retro-esque sci-fi feel. To the dark tunnels of the complex, the old technology, laboratories, computers, and more, all seemingly abandoned within it. Not to mention the horrible creatures that also inhabit it.
Atmosphere oozes out of every corner of the game like you’ve just smashed your first sleeper in the head and you’re still wiping its blood from your visor. You feel well and truly in the world of GTFO when playing. Find missing artifacts, retrieve samples, switch on old machinery to get around. These are some of the common tasks you’ll find yourself completing as you explore deeper and deeper.
The Complex is a beast, full of mystery and danger. You and your squadmates are prisoners held by the illusive Warden. Not much is known about who, or what the Warden is. But it’s making you go down their to complete various missions. Why you’re doing these tasks is vague at best. The story is delivered in small chunks. Lore drip-fed across missions and rundowns. But it’s just enough to entice you and keep you interested.
GTFO’s mission structure is a little different from most games. In GTFO you have ‘rundowns’. A set of missions that last for a specific amount of time – roughly 10 missions per rundown. Once that time is up – say two months, those missions are wiped from the game and replaced with new ones. Each mission within a rundown will get progressively more tricky. Longer missions, tougher enemies can all be expected the deeper down you go. It’s an interesting setup and one that I think works well. Although it does seem to throw people when they first learn that’s how things work.
When you drop into a mission you will have to make use of terminals placed around the map to locate objectives or other items. You can query the computer with requests such as PING KEY_YELLOW_376 which will provide you with the location of the key you might need to open a door. It’s a really immersive way to work through missions and I personally love it.
Each rundown so far has provided more story and lore, which can mean if you don’t keep up with them you will likely miss out on interesting info. That being said, it’s not essential to the game to know everything that’s going on. Part of the charm is the whole mystery of it all.
Stealth plays a large part in the game. This isn’t a run-and-gun affair. If you decide to start shooting early on you can expect to run out of ammo pretty quickly. Move slowly, and make the most of melee attacks if you want to stand a chance of survival. Most enemies are randomly dotted around the map, lurking in dark corners, sleeping. As you creep around they will start to notice your presence or try and listen out for you by pulsing and glowing red. It kind of sounds like a cat about to throw up – it’s gross. If they notice you they will wake up and attack. They will also more than likely alert others around you. Meaning things can pretty quickly get hectic. Hence keeping quiet.
There are a number of different enemy types, some of them are easy to kill with a quick hammer blow. Whilst others may require a little more firepower. There are also some surprises. I implore you to NOT look up anything about missions before you go in. You will spoil some of the best surprises the game has to offer.
Gadgets and Gizmos
Stealth isn’t always an option. Sometimes you have to go loud. Or the game makes you go loud by switching alarms on at specific doors you need to open. In these moments you’ll want to make use of your weapons and gadgets. Of which you do have a few.
For the most part, you can expect to see assault rifles, shotguns, SMGs, Pistols, and the like. There are also special weapons that pack more of a punch but have much more limited ammo. Additionally, you can have a gadget too, like a deployable turret, or mine deployer. These are perfect for setting-up ambushes when you know things are going to get loud.
Each rundown also features a few specific weapons that will only be available to use whilst that rundown is active. Typically they’re slight variations on existing weapon types.
GTFO is definitely aimed at being a cooperative experience. Although there are some out there who enjoy the punishment of playing solo. If you don’t have a team to play with and don’t fancy finding one. You can now make use of Bots as of the 1.0 release. They’re surprisingly effective too. You’re able to issue commands to the bots via a quick command menu and they will dutifully follow you.
Whilst they don’t seem to be experts at stealth – mostly staying out of the way at best, and at worst shooting when you don’t want them to. They are good at shooting as hordes rush you, or reviving downed teammates. Bots are a great addition to the game and will no doubt be a great help to many.
GTFO is tough. It’s scary. It will kick your butt. That being said, it’s one of the most immersive FPS games I’ve played and one of the best co-op shooters if you’re looking for a challenge with your friends. Visually the game is amazing, the setting, enemy design are all top-notch. Additionally, it has fantastic sound design to go with it. Guns sound great, the enemies sound horrible (in a good way). The subtle noises from the world around you bring a brilliant and deadly world alive. I’d recommend GTFO to anyone.