So I always wanted a good FPS roguelite. Given how popular are both genres (several roguelites have already sold more than 2M copies each, and I shouldn’t explain how FPS are still as popular as ever), you would think some company would produce a FPS roguelite and get rich.
Although I guess a properly developed game would be more expensive than similar 2d games (like Hades or Dead Cells), also games like Borderlands already feed the need of “FPS with rpg progression” although the condensed nature of doing it in a one hour game and having very varied, random builds isn’t at the same level.
So in this landscape, an unknown Chinese indie developer comes and makes what I dare to say it’s the first good FPS roguelite, at least much better than games like Immortal Redneck or Strafe. And for $10.
Gunfire Reborn is perhaps the only game of its type that is solid in both FPS combat and in the roguelite aspect. It is a Early Access game, which should been releasing their 1.0 version around Fall 2021, so people who wants the complete experience, still needs to wait a while.
The content of the game right now is (edit: …updated to 1.0!) four locations with 3-4 levels each and a boss fight takes place, 6 character classes, 48 weapons and 148 ‘scrolls’ (random passive perks/items you find while you play). Oh yeah, and 4 player coop too.
The roadmap says the planned updates will bring 2 more character classes, 1 more location, the final boss and alternate bosses, in addition to more weapons, scrolls, challenge areas, and more/reworked? metaprogression. So right now it seems the game is 60% done.
The current characters are
“A mysterious visitor from Spirit Realm who is proficient in alchemy and the elemental arts. With his alchemist expertise, the Crown Prince is able to trap and freeze the movement of his enemies with the Energy Orb. His hidden background has made him even closer to the elements. He combines various elements skillfully to create extraordinary effects.”
“A master of explosions and firearms. Ao Bai’s expertise with firearms allows him to control two weapons at the same time. Also, due to his passion for explosions, he has always been able to make powerful explosives.”
“Qing Yan is a skilled martial artist who moves like the wind and is as elusive as shadows. Unlike others, Qing Yan has a dislike of alchemy and Shield and chooses instead to indulge in martial arts and Armor. With his martial art prowess, Qing Yan likes to leap into the fray to cleave enemies. That being said, he also likes the smoke and sound of shotguns.”
Lei Luo, who is born with thunder tattoos, can easily manipulate thunder to hit enemies. Through continuous training, he can integrate his talents with firearm skills to make an amazing shot.
Normal runs are around 60-90 minutes, I think (I still have to reach the final area!). It offers boths solo and 4 player coop adventures, and there is a daily challenge option with special modifiers but in that mode you can’t unlock anything in the metaprogression so I suspect only veterans will use it.
I’m still playing in Normal mode, but once you beat the game, you unlock a Elite mode where I have read there are more traps in the levels, and elite enemies can appear with more advanced skills.
So why I’m liking it?
-The gunplay is very good for an indie game, all weapons feel snappy and powerful. The sounds contribute a lot to this, in comparison with other indie games (like Immortal Redneck) where the sound aspect has been more lacking.
-There are 45 weapons and more coming, and apart from different stats/projectiles, each one has a different quirk/characteristic. I have seen the comparison with Borderlands, saying in this game all the weapons are legendary. From a smg that slowly autoreloads on its own, to another one which can be thrown as a grenade, to a energy rifle that can deploy a energy sphere that boost damage, to the UT shock rifle with the secondary/primary fire combo, to weapons whose bullets split in mid air.
-You have a active skill and a secondary skill. The active skill goes from a AoE forward leap to dual weilding to an immobilizing energy shot, and the cooldown is shorter than in Borderlands, so it feels more part of your regular gameplay. The secondary skill is usually a type of grenade so it’s reloaded as you find its ammo. As explained below, these skill can vary a fair bit depending on your build.
-There is a very good enemy variety, each of the three areas has near a dozen unique enemies. And there is enough differences between them, from archers whose shots are guided towards you, to spearmen who can do an aoe attack, to foot soldiers who can sidestep, to grenadiers launching projectiles in arcs over cover, to horseheads with a protective shield, to tough enemies with special weak points. It creates a dynamic, fun battlefield.
-Movement is somewhat slow, but the action feels smooth. Some characters use regenerative shields, others have an armor which you have to replenish through your attacks. Health doesn’t regenerate and you have to receive a health item randomly/buy it/gain a perk able to heal you.
-The difficulty curve is smooth but constant. The first two levels are very easy, in the third one you should be careful or you will be hurt in some occasions, on the fourth level you can be killed in the harder rooms, and later you really need some good combo obtained by your built to progress and your reflex skills has to be decent.
-The weapons are divided in three categories, and each one has a different ammo type, so there is a bit of ammo management, although not a lot (mainly, trying to pick weapons of different categories).
-This is a FPS game so all classes use the same weapons, but inside that concept, the games gets to make different character classes with different primary skill, secondary skill, character progression, slightly different stats and a few passives you can get in the metaprogression.
-You gain a perk when leveling up, each character have three categories for them (first character is elemental damage, smoke bombs and energy orbs, for example), and most perks have up to three upgrades. These perks allow you to customize your character in different ways, you can make your active skill more about damage or about CC, or you can make your smoke grenades to be more about DOT or about support.
-They really feel like you make a different build with them, as they are hefty bonuses. This game isn’t one that uses little numbers, nothing about +3% damage or +4% ROF, but a magnitude bigger, or more.
-Same with the scrolls, they are not shy on how they can shake up each run. From ‘gaining lifesteal when you are in fire’, to ’ able to dash 3 times in a row’, to ‘50% damage when being in air’, to ‘Max HP is fixed at 1, but Max Shield/Armor is doubled’ to 'Consume 2 coins for each hit and +60% weapon DMG. If you kill the enemy in five hits, you will be refunded with coins spent on that enemy. ’
-Weapons have different upgrade tiers and random inscriptions (which also have rarity, can be upgraded, be exclusive for the weapon, or be a special Gemini inscription)
-There are random stuff you find on the levels to help you: Shopkeepers to buy items, Craftmans to upgrade the weapons, and random chests which give you the option to get something (gain hp, max shield, upgrade inscription, reroll them etc) in exchange of something (get a cursed scroll, pay with money, life or another scroll).
-There are also special modifiers applied to some rooms, called challenges, but right now there are very few of them, they have to expand this area. Same with Vaults, that are optional areas found in the levels, that can be combat arenas or platforming puzzles, they need to add more.
-There is a complete elemental damage system, with different elements being better against flesh/armor/shield, and there is a combo system when you get to apply two elemental effects to the same enemy.
Being a roguelite, there is also metaprogression. It isn’t as good as in Hades in interesting things to buy, but it’s better than Rogue Legacy or Immortal Redneck, so in a middle point I guess. The pace is good for now, after 10 hours of play, I get one or two upgrades after every run. I estimate in around 35 hours you can get most stuff. The last talents are notably more expensive but also you should win more currency once you are able to reach the later stages.
There is also an unlock system, as you play a do some goals (usually kill x of this enemy) you unlock a new weapon or scroll in the random pool, and also you are given it on the spot.
Oh, I found this series of hints and advice, outdated at this point but it’s better than nothing
Game has a 20% discount for a few days, because the Chinese New Year.
Right now it’s less than 8€.
edit: Oh yeah, they announced they have sold one million copies past November, and this is the current roadmap
Just today we had the spring 2021 update, although maybe we will have some smaller content updates while we wait for the next big update.
edit 2: One more thing, a problem with the game is the English translation, which clearly isn’t very good, some of the skill descriptions are… clunky.