GTFO Rundown 8.0 preview: Punishing cooperative fun
I recently got the chance to check out Rundown 8.0 for GTFO, which is set to be the final campaign for the game as developer 10 Chambers moves onto its next project.
I have to admit that I'm a complete noob when it comes to GTFO, and while I'm familiar with the title and its style of cooperative gameplay, I had no prior experience actually playing it.
This means I can't speak much on the differences between this Rundown and previous ones, along with how the game has evolved with its final chapter. However, I'm pleased to say that it won me over, and I'm now itching to get back in and actually conquer a level.
What you in for?
For those not in the know, GTFO is a first-person cooperative shooter with a focus on hardcore and punishing gameplay that rewards teams that stick together and coordinate effectively.
You and your team of three other players are prisoners who are forced to enter deep into an underground complex to scavenge or carry out tasks for an unseen character called The Warden.
Levels are presented as expeditions, with a series of expeditions making up a Rundown campaign. Each expedition sees you head further down into the complex to complete more difficult tasks and face deadlier threats.
The actual structure of the game and these Rundowns is simple enough, but the quality comes from the gameplay situations that arise organically during an expedition.
Stealth or death
It was straight into the deep end of the pool for me on my first try, as we tried a second tier expedition called Warp, where we were tasked with wiping a series of data cubes deep into the complex.
For the first few minutes, the developers we played with explained some key mechanics we needed to know, introducing us to stealth, quietly killing enemies, and looting gear like ammo and medical packs.
The first ten minutes or so went by fairly smoothly, as we sneaked around dealing with threats before they could go alert an entire horde. Things switched up the second someone accidentally alerted an enemy though, forcing us back the way we came to set up a choke point and hold off the incoming threats.
While it was a mistake by another player in the heat of the moment that delayed our objective and made things more difficult, it was the moment the game really clicked for me.
It was a bonding moment for me and the players I was with that organically cemented how difficult and reactive the game is, while also preparing me for the realities of the mission ahead.
Panic and fear
Calling GTFO punishing is more than just marketing speak. Every hit you take, every bullet you misplace, and every additional enemy you alert will pile on your misery. In many cooperative games, these are just obstacles you can deal with second nature, even if things don't go as planned, but in GTFO, these are key moments that define the rest of an expedition.
Mistakes build up and come to bite you back twice as hard the further you get into a mission, which was ultimately our undoing during this session. We got pretty far into the expedition, but one of the final tasks saw us all following a security scan - an objective where players need to stand in highlighted areas to continue.
At this point, we were open from all angles (including from above as some flying tentacle monsters descended upon us) as we had to follow this security scan with very little remaining ammo and health.
To put it bluntly, we were swarmed and quickly destroyed, with very little we could do to make up for our earlier mistakes. Our session ended after the failure screen popped up, meaning we didn't have the chance for a do-over - but we sure gave it our best.
Work together or die together
It's a bit of a shame that I was so late to the GTFO train, but even as the final stop approaches, it's not too late to jump on board. Even without Rundown 8.0, the game is a huge package of punishing cooperative fun, making for one of the most challenging and engaging multiplayer games out there for a squad of four.