When you first boot up GTFO, you’re greeted with an ominous screen asking you to inject something into your brain, followed by an ear-piercing scream. From the get-go, you know that this game isn’t for the faint of heart. As me and my teammates plunged into the game, I asked myself; was I, a JRPG and indie aficionado, out of my depth here? Probably.
Scream and Shout
GTFO left its early access shell and launched quietly on December 9th. Developed by 10 Chambers, a team made up of industry veterans who’ve also worked on the similarly themed, co-op first-person shooter, Payday 2.
In GTFO, you play as a prisoner whose memory’s been destroyed. You’ve been tasked by the warden with a work order known as ‘The Rundown’. Along with your three other teammates, you’ll explore different parts of The Rundown, and the deeper you go, the harder your expeditions will get. GTFO does follow a seasonal format, so your expeditions will be replaced with new ones when the clock runs out, keeping content from getting stale and making it all the more challenging for you to finish your expeditions in time.
The Rundown is inhabited by Sleepers, screechy, quick-footed creatures lurking in the dark that can be set off by a single movement or noise. To combat these, you’ll have a few things on your person when you enter The Rundown. A main weapon and a special weapon, a tool, and a melee weapon when things go pear-shaped. GTFO presents you with an impressive arsenal, with some weapons having the ability to detect enemies, and others good for setting up sticky traps.
The Rundown will have a few goodies scattered across as well, and each player can have one consumable item on that such as a glowstick or a grenade, and one resource pack such as an ammunition pack or a medical kit. These are hard to come by, however, so it’s crucial to conserve your resources, especially when it comes to ammo.
An Ammo-zing Time
Although GTFO is a shooter, it’s highly advised to not go guns-blazing and just shoot willy-nilly. The amount of ammo you have is pretty limited, and the amount of ammo you’ll find is even more so. Once we got the hang of things, my friends and I would check on how much ammo each of us had, and if we found any spare ammo lying, we’d split it accordingly. The same went for any medkits we found. This segues me into the most vital aspect of playing this game, and that’s communication.
The amount of coordination between you and your teammates will make or break a run in GTFO. There are segments where all of y'all have to scramble to get together near the security door, only to then be attacked by monsters. If you’re not careful enough, your shots can damage your own and bring the team down by one. Making sure all of you have varied weapons and resources to combat any situation is also key.
This level of nail-biting immersion though, is what kept me wanting to back into the fray, despite each wipe our team dealt with, and the more we played, the more we became in sync with each other's actions, learning to position ourselves when there were enemies anticipated so that we wouldn’t get in each other's way, and helping to get the team back up when half of us were downed by the enemy.
The Power of Friendship
By far, the best way to play the game is with a group of friends, so at least you’re all trembling in fear of what’s to come together. With a single run in GTFO lasting you a good couple of hours, GTFO is packed full of content that’s continuously getting refreshed as well. If you’re struggling to assemble a party of 4, I’d opt for heading to the game’s official Discord server (props to it being linked to in the game itself) instead of the in-game matchmaking, since I had little luck with it.
While GTFO can be pretty brutal when it comes to its rushdown sequences and scarcity of resources, it still gives you a bit of a helping hand in the form of terminals. There are terminals placed throughout the levels to help with finding resources as well as ones that help in progressing further. You can interact with them by typing in lines of code as you would expect to in real life. For someone who can’t code to save their life, it made me feel pretty cool. The game’s also pretty lenient with its checkpoints as you don’t completely lose your progress after a wipeout.
That being said though, GTFO’s dependency on teamwork is also its Achilles’ heel. Playing this game solo is a whole other experience, and not in a good way. Your teammates’ shoes will be filled in by AI, but they’re not exactly the most competent. Sometimes they’ll end up getting stuck at a ladder or will accidentally alert the Sleepers with their flashlight. It’s equal parts hilarious and painful.
Another sore point is the game’s text size. It’s pretty tiny and the opacity isn’t the best either. There isn’t an option to adjust the text size, so it is not the most accessible, especially with its effects. Best keep a magnifying glass handy or prepare for a lot of squinting.
Overall, GTFO is an incredibly gripping experience with friends and will keep you on your toes. It’s definitely more of a social game than it initially comes off as and requires a lot of coordination and precision, so it’s not your average horror shooter game. There’s both, the thrill in failing, and of course, the thrill in getting the fuck out.
TechRaptor reviewed GTFO on PC using a copy provided by the developers.
- Tests your cooperation skills in the best way possible
- Lots of cool weapons and gadgets
- Challenging and immersive
- AI aren't great when playing solo
- No accessibility options