Review: GUNS UP! (PS4)

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Title: GUNS UP!
Format: PlayStation Network Download (857 MB)
Release Date: December 5, 2015
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Valkyrie Entertainment / Sony San Diego
Original MSRP: Free to Play
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
GUNS UP! is exclusive to PlayStation 4.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Golden Minecart Award Winner 2015
– Best Free to Play (PS4)

Many console gamers dismiss the Free-to-Play games that garnish the PlayStation Store. With more and more of these games popping up I delve into the latest offering from Valkyrie Entertainment and Sony San Diego in the form of GUNS UP!

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Gameplay:
GUNS UP! follows an extremely simple premise of building a base and attacking others made by real people, all the while slowly gaining the in-game currency of ammunition and gold to spend on upgrades to both personnel and your own base. You can continually attack other bases but the harder the base, the more ammunition it costs to launch the invasion. There is always a free buy-in opponent but your rewards are reduced, still a viable option for new players.

Controls are very simple to understand and after a few minutes with the game, it becomes second nature. As you can see by the graphics, the interface is big, bright, and easy to navigate as well so no problems there either. It might seem daunting the very first time you play but the tutorial does an excellent job of guiding you through everything you will need to know.

… the game is balanced exceptionally well …
When building, you have a finite area to place your various offensive and defensive buildings, traps, and decorations. This also has a limit that slowly increases as the game progresses. As you attack the almost countless bases, you begin to see many different and effective layouts. Some players choose to force you into a bottleneck, others create a line of gun emplacements and sniper towers.

I found myself wanting to upgrade my varied defences but it all costs money (ammunition) and it takes time and effort to get that, unless of course you buy it from the PlayStation Store. “No, that’s not fair!” I hear you cry, and I would agree, apart from the fact that the game is balanced exceptionally well.

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The more you upgrade and add to the base and soldiers in your command, the higher your skill level becomes. As you are only ever matched with players around that skill level, the game remains fair and fun. You still have the option to wage war slightly above your difficulty for a harder and more rewarding battle, or a smidge below for an easier fight and obviously less incentive.

You can also test your base against a never-ending onslaught from the CPU, with rewards every thirty seconds. It can be a very addictive and enjoyable way of testing your base and gaining some lovely cards and ammo at the same time.

Oh my, after all this time I never properly mentioned the cards. Before each battle, you can use a set amount of cards. These do a wide variety of things including increasing the health of your army or even adding a missile strike special to you list. You can even combine cards to make better ones or swap out a few rarely used ones for, with any luck, a better one.

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You begin your battle far from the enemy base. Your supply truck automatically trundles toward it and the camera can only stray so far from it. So knowing what lays ahead and when to launch special attacks and unleash various type of soldiers becomes key to winning the battle.

You don’t have any control of your army unless you have a focus fire or rally point cards. It can be agonising to watch them fall into a trap or stumble into the sights of a sniper. Worse still your little guys can also get hurt by your own special attacks. I have often yelled at the screen as they advanced quicker than I anticipated, right into my poorly placed missile strike.

… the carnage is almost picturesque …
Visuals:
You’ll see explosions, helmets knocked off by a barrage of gunfire, tear gas choking the life out of the poor little soldiers, blood soaked ground, and all the other things you would expect from a war game, just with cute cartoon graphics that make the carnage look fun.

You can choose to turn the gore off but most will never bother. It isn’t really that bad, just some blood splatters and cartoon violence. Nice to have the option I always say. I have noticed the framerate stutter a little when it gets crazy but nothing that hurts the gameplay.

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The use of color is very nice. Gentle hues of purple and blue wash over the bold green grass and shrubbery when the unseen sun goes down. With the bright flash of a missile as it strikes its target, or the warm glow of a fire burning over the ruined remains of an enemy structure as the smoke billows into the sky, the carnage is almost picturesque in its own way.

Audio:
GUNS UP! features some entertaining music that fits very well with the game but isn’t anything to write home about. What I really like is the audio used for the explosions, machinegun fire, and all that jazz. It works exceedingly well in keeping with the entire feeling and look of the game.

… I can always jump right into the action …
Online/Multiplayer:
This is an asynchronous multiplayer game. This means it connects to an online server so it can store everyone’s base and soldier information, including your own, so everyone can fight each other regardless of them being online. I really like this aspect of the game and it means I am never waiting to find players. I can always jump right into the action.

When you’re offline, people can invade your base and, depending on their outcome, you’ll get rewards and ammo. However, there is a maximum of three attacks while you’re away so it pays to jump back into the game every so often. In addition, you can always retaliate against those who try to vanquish your army for even more bonuses.

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This aspect of the game is what keeps me playing. It is very easy to become wrapped up with perfecting your base and attacking others just so you can build up your ammo and upgrade the weak link in your base.

… coming back to this almost every day …
Conclusion:
Like any Free-to-Play game, GUNS UP! has that pull toward spending real money on the PlayStation Store. Have I spent any actual money? Not yet, but I am very tempted. I have never felt the need to pay real money, just the want.

Each battle only lasts a couple of minutes but every single one is different and always fun. I can easily see myself coming back to this almost every day with the intention of having a quick go and spending hours tweaking my base and decimating others.

If you’re going to play one Free-to-Play game this year, make sure it’s GUNS UP!

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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