Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded review


So hands up who hasn’t played Minecraft, I’m guessing it’s not many and there is a good reason for that as the endless opportunities and variations that can be setup in the game really caters for anyone and everyone’s tastes. So with such a successful platform there is no wonder many have tried to adapt Mojang’s (developer of Minecraft) ideas and reap some of the rewards for themselves. Now I have to say, a lot have failed and haven’t brought anything new to the table, so when I was asked to review Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded by Exato Game Studios I was a little hesitant about what new angle they could bring that hasn’t been done before.

I could imagine Exato Studios sitting round in a room one day and talking about what they should play, the room is divided, some want Minecraft, others COD or Battlefield and then suddenly Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded was created. In very simple terms it’s Minecraft but with guns, but not only guns, tanks, helicopters you name it, it’s a full on customisable and destructive combat zone.

From the word go I was smiling, the game itself doesn’t take hours to download and you’re up and running very quickly and it’s got so many features you won’t know where to start. The menus are easy to understand, if the writing is a tad small, but then again I was using an old TV as my Xbox 360 has been relocated to my spare room to make way for my Xbox One, but you can still read it. So where to start, the Tutorial.

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The Tutorial offers you a great and detailed introduction into the game, taking you though basic movement and shooting, to driving vehicles, building and the various game modes. Within 15 mins I was confident that I could build, destroy and take on the world. Now I hear what you’re saying, yeah, just skip that and come to the good bit, the shooting.

I was really astounded about how good the gun part of the game was, the controls are responsive, the gunplay is fast, aiming is accurate and all FPS fans would feel really at home with this game. There is the need, like the major titles, to reload when you get 5 seconds ensuring that you always have a full magazine when you face the next onslaught and not get caught out, like I did a few times. The selection of weapons is also a real surprise and covers light to heavy weapons, smg’s to pistols. When you shoot an opponent they even die with style and rather than falling flat they slump to one side in their last death throes and like COD they have also included a progressive leveling system allowing veterans to hit level 550 which is equivalent to prestige level 10 (50 levels per ReCraft Rank and 10 ReCraft Ranks). Take all of this and add in the ability to fully customise your character with over 4 billion combinations, kill streaks and a clan system then this truly does rival the modern-day shooters.

So now the shooting bit is over let’s take a look at the real crux of the game, the building bit. Each of the games you play has its own style and level but what makes this game also great is the ability to adapt the environment to your own style by building on what already exists or destroying as the case maybe. So, if you’re playing Onslaught you can build extra defenses in your base by placing extra walls or even digging a trench. At one point in the game, both myself and my son dug a cave in a wall so we could snipe from afar the first attack wave but have enough cover if things got bad. The ideas and possibilities in this game are only limited by the player’s imagination and switching from gun to building mode is as easy as pressing the B button on your controller, no honestly that’s all you have to do.

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To accelerate the building process Exato have also included a fast build which I think is a great and unique idea. This allows you to view a set of preset structures and build them in one click, meaning walls, towers even entire buildings can be placed in a matter of seconds allowing you to customize the battle as and when required without being shot 50 times in the process. Building the best fort, eventually, won’t help you because as stated earlier, everything is destroyable, so as the saying says, what goes up, must come down and trust me this is easily accomplished if you acquire one of the many vehicles that you can drive (well, attempt to) in the game.

So a very solid start, but what really makes a game of this type are the game modes and multiplayer aspect. The single player mode has many game modes from Onslaught, where you face wave after wave of attacking worms, spiders, cyborgs etc. to Lava Survival where players have to constantly keep out the way of the rising lava, whilst trying to freeze your enemies / push them into the burning abyss below. Add to this the amusingly called Spleef mode, like Lava Survival, where you are trying to push your opponent in by drilling out the floor beneath them these are just a few of the options available to you and were my favorites.

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The one thing that did really make me happy is the inclusion of a two player split screen. This meant that I could play Onslaught with my son or one of the other game modes, one V one. This is where the game really comes into itself. Unfortunately there is not the ability to battle bots which if could be included would really push this game to a whole new level.

Online is again where this game shines and even though a little temperamental, with disconnections and freezing. I did manage to grab some time with the development team, battling it out on some of the maps. The game becomes intense and crazy as you all work together to fight but also defend and if you play with some skilled builders you will be amazed at what can be built to assist you in your battle.

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Talking about the development team, I just have to say, a big thank you to Exato Game Studios as, during testing, I did suffer some issues but they were really quick to react and resolve my problem. This again tells me that the team behind this game really do care about what they are doing and want a unique and awesome experience for all.

Whatever you think of this type of game, if you still have your Xbox 360 to hand, I would seriously go to the store and grab this. I am still smiling from when I first played it and everyday find myself having to go back and get another fix. It’s truly a unique and really creative idea that fuses two styles of game together brilliantly and will always have a space on my Xbox.

With the title also being part of the July’s Deals with Gold promotion, there is even more excuse now to go and spend your well-earned pennies on picking up this title.

Thanks to Exacto Game Studios for supporting TiX

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