GTFO Review – The Art of Strenuous Co-op

While co-op shooters are all about teaming up and completing objectives one by one, they are also generally forgiving in nature. Developer 10 Chamber’s GTFO is the complete opposite of that, as one mistake can make the mission a nightmare. So, what is GTFO? It is a co-op first-person shooter inspired by the likes of Left 4 Dead, Payday 2 among others, where you and three other friends can team up to complete objectives, all the while ensuring the survival of your team. The development team is composed of ex-Payday developers, so players may find some similarities in certain aspects of those games.

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Not much is told to the player once you boot into the game, even with regards to the setting and the story, but here’s the gist of it. GTFO follows a team of four prisoners, who are sent to an abandoned underground research facility against their will by a mysterious individual called “The Warden”. The facility is overrun by grotesque monsters and the prisoners have to scavenge for resources, all the while surviving their expedition.

GTFO

“One mistake can make the mission a nightmare.”

Once booted in, players get to choose the mission they want to try out. Termed as rundowns, each one of them has a particular objective allocated by the Warden and are presented in the order in which they need to be finished. The rundowns have a number of expeditions over several tiers and each of them is denoted by the letters A, B, C, D, and so on, depending on the difficulty. The deeper the facility is for the rundown, the harder it is, so it is actually advisable to play them in order.

To keep the gameplay loop fresh, rundowns of GTFO have time limits, where they get swapped with newer ones when the counter hits zero. Older rundowns get expired, so this brings an urgency of finishing your objectives within a limited period of time. The system, although challenging, is welcoming, as it keeps the gameplay fresh.

After selecting the rundown, players can either host their own lobby and invite friends or join up other players via matchmaking, or even fill their lobby up with bots. The bots of GTFO allow for a more single-player focused experience for people who like to play games on their own. The bots will follow the player’s action; for example, if you crouch, the bots will crouch, and if you engage with an enemy, the bots will do the same. The experience with bots, as you can expect, is a bit bland, but then again, GTFO is all about coordinating with a group of real people and that’s where the fun lies.

One unique thing about GTFO is that there is no leveling system. Everything is even field for all the players and your chances of survival will depend on what loadout you choose. Players can choose primary weapons, a secondary weapon, a tool that helps in either defense or recon, and a melee weapon for stealth sequences. Each weapon in GTFO is situation-specific, and having a good mix of guns and gadgets for different team members is going to be crucial for the mission at hand. In our run, I kept a Bio-Tracker which let me notify my teammates about monsters in each room and allowed me to tag enemies running towards us in a firefight. There are also player specific perks called mutagens, however, these are limited in number, and upon failing an expedition, you will lose them.

GTFO

“Everything is even field for all the players.”

So, once you have selected your loadout, players are introduced to a dimly lit, claustrophobic facility. The level’s lighting and art style pushes the game towards the borders of survival horror. After touchdown, players are notified of a sector they need to be at, but how they reach there is all up to them. To reach that location, players may split their tasks across sub-teams, so, one team may find the keycard to unlock a terminal, whilst the other may scavenge for artifacts, health packs, ammo boxes, tool ammo and glow sticks among others. However, a player can only carry one resource at a time, so it all comes down to deciding what item each team member wants and how important it is to them.

In almost every section, players will come across a variety of monsters, although their AI leaves much to be desired. The most common ones are the sleepers, who as you can guess are…sleeping. They need to be taken out through stealth, but sudden noise from the players will alert the sleeper who will then call upon other monsters towards you, effectively turning this sequence into a gunfight thereby depleting resources, which is never advisable. Besides the Sleeper, there are Brutes that will knock a player down in one hit, and Scouts, who spread their eerie tendrils around them every now and then.

As you may have probably guessed by now, GTFO is an unforgiving game. To make matters worse, the game provides only one checkpoint which could make each run an exercise in pain and frustration. Upon successful completion of an expedition, players are awarded a wardrobe piece, which allows them to change their appearance and the aforementioned mutagens.

Depending on how well your team is coordinating, rundowns can take up to an hour to complete. Playing these long, stretched out, tense expeditions are certainly fun, but not everyone will one have the time or the patience for the same. The game’s UI is a bit of a mess too. The text on the interface is hard to read and even changing its size from the game’s setting doesn’t really fix this issue.

GTFO

GTFO is a unique take on the co-op first-person shooter genre.”

In conclusion, GTFO is a unique take on the co-op first-person shooter genre. Rundowns are fun and challenging, the shooting feels great and the emphasis on coordinating between team members and stealth makes each run fun and replayable, provided you are patient. If you can ignore the UI and AI shortcomings, GTFO offers a solid shooting experience for fans who like a bit of a challenge in their games.

This game was reviewed on PC.


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