Guns, Gore & Cannoli, Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse? Xbox One Review

Earlier this year Crazy Monkey Studios unleashed a zombie epidemic of epic proportions upon the PC gaming community, unfortunately the exact death toll has yet to be revealed. However they made enough of an impact that they’ve decided to move onto the next phase of their plan, launching Guns, Gore & Cannoli onto the Xbox One.

Should Guns, Gore & Cannoli have remained as a PC exclusive or is the move to the Xbox One an off you shouldn’t refuse?

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Visuals

Guns, Gore & Cannoli looks absolutely fantastic, it features a beautifully cartoony hand drawn art style that ensures it stands out from the rest of the crowd. Set during the 1920’s prohibition era, Crazy Monkey Studios has accurately captured the look and feel of cities like Chicago and New York from the same time period. They’ve carried that attention to detail throughout the game, as there isn’t anything/ anyone that looks out of place within the world they’ve established. Well, maybe the giant rats… But that can be explained too.

Story

As mentioned the game is set within the Prohibition era of the 1920’s, the government is losing the war against alcohol as violent street gangs and the Belluccio crime family are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the alcohol flowing. Amidst this turbulent backdrop, a member of the Belluccio organization goes missing and Mr. Belluccio personally calls upon trusted enforcer Vinnie Cannoli to find Frankie.

You board a freighter bound for Thugtown, that’s when you start reading reports of bizarre incidents tied to the alcohol being run by the mob and gruesome murders being committed by those under it’s influence. Thugtown was being overrun by violence as rioters had taken over the city, it had been days since anyone on the outside had been able to make contact. As the freighter arrives at Thugtown Harbor, it’s immediately under siege by “chunk faced goons” that attack and devour the crew. It’s time for you to do what you do best, get locked and loaded as you’re in for the fight of your life to find Frankie.

Based on the style of gameplay presented within Guns, Gore & Cannoli, it would’ve been all too easy for Crazy Monkey Studios to deliver a game that was light on storytelling and to be completely honest it would’ve been acceptable had they done so. It isn’t unusual for this style of game to focus strictly on the gameplay and almost ignore storytelling altogether, however they chose to take a different route. They crafted a well written story that not only compliments the gameplay but allowed them to incorporate actual storytelling including a plot twist or two.

Even though the storytelling is confined to the cutscenes, your character doesn’t encounter anyone/ anything that would progress the storyline which works in their favor.

Gameplay

Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a blood soaked 2D side-scroller that breaks up the monotony of a traditionally linear side-scrolling game, thanks in part to their intelligent design choices they’ve managed to give the map a greater sense of depth. As you progress through the game you’ll find yourself traversing what looks and feels like an actual city, they’ve designed it so you’ll move from the streets to the rooftops in a manner that feels natural and necessary to proceed.

As you maneuver through Thugtown in an effort to locate Frankie, you’ll be confronted with an assortment of the undead, ranging from the slow shambling sort, the ferociously fast, those that are reminiscent of Bub from George Romero’s The Day of the Dead (if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I mean), and you’ll even encounter a few that are a bit more unconventional. Of course you’ll face more than the undead, you’ll go head to head against rival mobsters and even the military in the pursuit of your mission. I absolutely love that they designed the game so the zombies recognize all living humans as potential sources of food, this is including enemy NPC’s. There were several occasions where I was able to take advantage of an incoming wave of the undead, so all I had to do was play cleanup.

However it’s completely up to you how you face this opposition, will you take your chances and go it alone or will you assemble a team with up to 3 friends and engage in local co-op? You’ll also need to figure out if you’re the sort that’ll seek cover and play it safe or will you run and gun your way to the next checkpoint?

Regardless of which method of attack you prefer, you’ll find you have a variable arsenal at your disposal. And I do mean an arsenal. You’ll wield everything from shotguns to tommy guns and flamethrowers to rocket launchers. Nevertheless ammo is limited, aside from your standard handgun which has an infinite capacity. So you’ll need to assess the situation and choose your weapon wisely. Just remember, you never know who/ what you’ll encounter next.

In addition to the story mode the Xbox One version of the game comes loaded with a brand new feature that wasn’t present in the PC release, Versus Mode. This feature allows you the ability to go head to head with up to 3 friends in local deathmatch. Where you’re provided the freedom to fully customize the matches as you see fit, everything from duration to killcount. Don’t fret, you don’t need friends in order to enjoy this new feature as you’re able to toggle A.I. to fill the roles of your combatants. Be warned. Even though you’re able to set the difficulty level for the A.I. opponents, they’re absolutely ruthless.

I love the fact that they included the versus mode with the console release, however it certainly isn’t perfect. The downside for me was the fact that there aren’t any predefined respawn points for each character, the system will respawn you in an area that is least populated for the sake of your survival. However it could take more time for you to realize where you’ve been respawned on the screen, than it could take for the enemy to wipe you out.

Side Note

The overall game length is short in comparison to most games, however the couple of hours it took to beat the story doesn’t compare to the enjoyment I had while playing it. This something you’ll want to take into consideration if you prefer your games to be on the longer side.

Verdict

Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a fast paced, blood stained, run n’ gun adventure in a classic mobsters meets zombies storyline. Even though the game could certainly stand to be longer, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had a lot of fun and really enjoyed playing this game. I’m thrilled that Crazy Monkey Studios made the move to the Xbox One for a console release, I’d suggest getting some friends together and buying it now. You won’t regret it.

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