Slaughtering Armies in PlayStation’s Guns Up!
Perhaps it’s time to abandon the free-to-play stigma.
By Colin Moriarty
When Guns Up! was trademarked by Sony last month, all I could think of was how terrible of a title that was for a game. Now that I know what it actually is, however – and now that I’ve gone hands-on with it – I’m pleased to confirm that its name in no way reflects the quality of the game itself. Yes, the name is very bad, but Guns Up! appears, in the brief time I played it, to be quite the opposite.
Steel yourselves: Guns Up! is entirely free-to-play, and along with that comes a partially-earned stigma.
Guns Up! is, in short, a real-time strategy game with some tower defense elements. It comes by way of Valkyrie Entertainment, a Seattle-based studio that is actually best-known for its artistic contributions to big games like Infamous 2, Battlefield 3, and Crackdown. Guns Up! represents their very first, fully-developed game, however, and it’s exclusive to PlayStation. It will appear on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita, and will support cross-save between the devices.
Now, I say cross-save and not cross-buy – two terms that usually go in tandem with one another — because you won’t be buying Guns Up! at all. Steel yourselves: Guns Up! is entirely free-to-play, and along with that comes a partially-earned stigma. But if the words of the person who demoed the game with me are any indication, Guns Up! can be played without spending a dime, and it endeavors to completely avoid the pitfalls of the dreaded “pay-to-win” trap. Microtransactions will allow for the purchase of cosmetic changes, some upgrades, and more, but they’re never necessary.
Guns Up! takes place on the field of battle, with bullets flying all around you, explosions happening left and right, and piles of dead digital soldiers. You’re given control of an invading army, and your job is simple: make quick work of the opposing army standing in your way, ultimately assaulting and destroying their base of operations. The screen rarely stays static or still from the word go; the battlefield is long, and there’s a lot to pay attention to as you scroll back and forth along large swaths of land, making sure that all is going according to plan as your marauding army makes a beeline for its ultimate target.
It has a definite Fat Princess vibe going for it in some respects…
Filling in the ranks of your army requires the use of in-game currency, which, in Guns Up!, comes in the form of bullets. You’ll start each mission with a specific number of bullets to spend, and more bullets can be earned via your exploits on the battlefield. In the portion of the game I played, I was able to summon six different kinds of troops, from rifle-toting grunts to missile-launching hulks, and mixing these classes up with one another proved essential, especially since the amount of soldiers you can have on the battlefield at once is limited. While it’s cheaper and quicker to summon multiple machinegun-holding bad-asses at a time, it’s important to throw in heavier units with special skills to keep your enemies on their toes.
In addition to summoning your troops – who will advance automatically once spawned, won’t stop ‘til they’re killed, and will rank-up automatically if they survive long enough – you can also use special one-time-use items to help level things out. If a tightly-knit group of enemies is giving you a hard time, for instance, you may want to plant a mine in the middle of them to blow them to smithereens. Likewise, your adversaries may be spawning out of tents along one side of the battlefield, necessitating a missile strike to make quick work of them, negating a point of entry for your opponents’ soldiers. If your soldiers are getting cut down and you want to regroup and spawn more behind them, consider planting a rally flag to get everyone together and on the same page.
Guns Up! was, in the short time I spent with it, a lot of fun to play, and it’s also pretty to look at. It has a definite Fat Princess vibe going for it in some respects, with incredibly vivid acts of violence happening with regularity to cartoonish characters. The game is brightly colored and humorously stylized, and I really enjoyed some of the quirks of the individual unit types, both in design and animation.
Look for Guns Up! later this year on all current PlayStation platforms, where it will support both single-player and competitive online multiplayer.
Colin Moriarty is IGN’s Senior Editor. You can follow him on Twitter.
Like and Subscribe to our videos on YouTube
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Pin and follow us on Pinterest