I GTFIn to GTFO and Discover a Tactical Wonder

Back in December, developer 10 Chambers released some statistics about GTFO, their horror tactical shooter. Specifically, it was that people are dying a lot in their game. One level, R2E1, had only 1.4% of players actually finish it. I thought that sounded absurd, and it certainly got me interested in the full experience. So when 10 Chambers reached out with an opportunity to see upcoming content, I decided it was finally time to check the game out.

Up until this event, I had never played GTFO. My knowledge was limited to a few trailers and hearing about the game from other people. I knew it required some extreme teamwork. I was told that, should everyone start shooting their guns, someone probably messed up horribly. I knew it was a hardcore game for hardcore gamer nerds, and that scared me. Yet I always found those communities so interesting, and when I got a chance to see the game I knew I needed to. 10 Chambers was kind enough to show off the latest Rundown, which is the game’s set of campaigns that cycle out as time passes on.

All missions are done with four players, and there’s no real path to survival if you try to solo the game. Nor are there AI to help you out, you’re doing this with other humans or you’re not making it through. Each character gets a primary and secondary weapon, which again I need to be clear should almost never be used, along with a melee weapon and tool. I personally brought along a scanner that could see mutants through walls and ping moving ones, but other tools I saw included foam guns to seal up doors, trip mines, and turrets. Each of them have a place, and maybe they’ll even stop you from dying for a few seconds.

I’ll just go ahead and spoil the ending now: we died. To be totally honest, I think I’d be disappointed if we made it. I wanted the true GTFO experience, and the true GTFO experience is bleeding out on the floor while listening to your teammates yell about how the door was broken down and oh God their faces are being eaten. I promise, it was a great time.

I had to learn the most important survival tip on the fly: communicate. Often the only way forward was by executing enemies, but if you just ran forward and tried to smack them with your hammer you won’t go far. Often me and another team member had to sneak up, time our charges, and then bring the hammer down on two different enemies at the same time. Fail to coordinate, or just hit the wrong part of the monster, and you risk waking up enemies and creating a swarm of very angry foes.

It’s not just that these enemies are terrifying to look at, although they are. The way they move, often on all fours in totally inhumane ways, is extremely eye catching. One enemy crawled on his back and spit globs of white acid at me. Another wanders around, blind but with tendrils coming out of its head. Touch one and it screams, awakening the entire room and summoning more. With no silencers, coordination and melee attacks are your best friends. Well, that, and preparing for the worst.

Every room our team entered we quickly established a few plans. One: how to kill everything in the room without making a sound. Two: what happened when that went poorly. Shockingly, we had some beefy guns in GTFO. I personally carried around a machine pistol and a massive Dirty Harry-esque revolver. Another person had a big pump-action shotgun and an assault rifle. One guy had a railgun that needed to charge for a second, but blew people’s heads off at massive range. For a game where you shouldn’t really be shooting much, shooting felt good. Heads exploded, guns had fantastic feedback, and I never felt like I wasn’t anything other than a really beefy man with big ol’ guns.

It’s a pretty great contrast because despite this, once enemies started coming after me I went down pretty quickly. With the right prep-work, it wasn’t so bad. We often used foam to barricade doors, then placed mines and turrets in front of it. It’s one of those things that works out shockingly well, even if it’s just simply never a good idea to let enemies get that far.

Sometimes, however, combat is the only way forward. A few times in the level we had to open security gates which would set off alarms that we had to disable. This part is particularly creative, with players each needing to run around and occupy different areas of the room to shut the alarm off. We could only do so much to slow the hoard, but we all needed to be ready to stand on our own as well, and take care of ourselves. It’s during one of these events that we all died.

However, just because we died didn’t mean the run was pointless. One of the new features being added in this Rundown comes in the form of artifacts. You collect artifacts on your runs, and overtime they build up into single use items that you can equip before a run. Each of them has different benefits, such as one I had letting me start the mission with more ammo, or another that increased my damage when I was in close-range combat with enemies. Even if you die, you keep the progress you made in building up new single-use items, so there’s always at least something being done on every run.

While I may have died, I came away from GTFO really impressed. I really wanted to see more of the game, and I felt like I was just scratching the surface. I knew I would have to assemble a team to plunge deeper into the mysterious facility, and I knew many many more deaths awaited me. I was, however, determined to not be part of the 98.6% of players that didn’t finish a level.

If all of this appeals to you, GTFO is currently available on Steam.

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