After playing GTFO at PAX East 2020, we couldn’t wait to try it out at home. For the last month, DRULcrew has continuously plunged into GTFO’s underground maze of rooms and secrets. To celebrate GTFO’s content drop on March 31, here are our experiences shared as journal entries, followed by some ideas we’d like 10 Chambers to take into consideration.
Entry 1: What the H-E, double hockey sticks am I doing here?
You’ve probably asked yourself that question when riding a new roller coaster for the first time. Starting a match in GTFO is much like that, but it’s bigger and faster than anything you’ve ever rode. You’re excited, but as you strap in, anxiety builds, your hands clinch onto the support bars, and before you can let out a nervous laugh, BOOM! Free falling into a pit of unknown depth at ungodly speeds with three of your best friends. What can possibly go wrong?
This ride ends in an area that’s dark – really dark. The team starts to wander around, then someone screams. Teammates rush over to check out the commotion, and there it is, a creature that appears to be sleeping. It’s naked with a disfigured human-like body that resembles Half-Life’s aliens with elements of Prey’s phantoms.
Is it safe to walk by? Should it be killed? Maybe it’s friendly?
Everyone is equipped with a melee weapon and flashlight. One person decides it’s a good idea to hit the creature. After one hit, the creature shrieks, and it’s immediately apparent bad things are about to happen. Within seconds there are 3 enemies launching projectiles of light at your team. Before it’s possible to react, there are 5, then 8, then 10, and then – death!
No one survived the attack. No one knows what happened or why.
The team argues over who’s fault it was, but ultimately formulate a plan. Shut off those flashlights and keep quiet because these creatures will hunt down any source of light or sound. Everyone ready up, it’s time to drop in again!
Two hours pass as we attempt to work our way through the darkness and GTFO. But every ‘great plan’ or ‘brilliant idea’ leads to more darkness and death. Confusion and fear rise as we become engulfed by the unknown. Like cattle being dropped into a raptor cage, we have no chance!
Entry 2: Together!!!
We did it! We fucking did it! We beat the first level; only took 11 tries. Generally, it’s not worth celebrating such a small victory but GTFO makes you appreciate the small things because of how unforgivingly difficult the game is. GTFO’s motto is “Work Together or Die Together”. They ain’t lying. Sharing is caring when it comes to loot and duties. Resources are scarce and even the distribution of items has to be thoroughly planned out. “Do your job” is a famous quote in the American football world. The quote of the night for DRUL highlights an important task: “Close the fucking door!”. Don’t ruin your chances at survival because a lack of attention. Look at all the different paths that connect rooms and think of them as not only an escape route but also as a trap.
Here are two major tips to consider while playing:
- Talk to your team and nominate a safe zone on the map
- Friends don’t let friends walk into rooms with a flashlight on. Otherwise, get ready to restart
This reminds me to acknowledge another gameplay mechanic, randomization. Items and enemies are constantly changing locations. You may recall general locations of loot boxes, but nothing could absolutely be there the next time. This brings us back to the “unknown”. GTFO does not let you get comfortable. It keeps you on your toes with the element of surprise.
Remember to turn off flashlights and close doors!
Entry 3: All For One And One For All
To be honest, there are some details I have not mentioned about GTFO. I would like to highlight features that I appreciate. Terminals are spread throughout each map. They are used to uncover loot locations or ping items such as loot, keycards, and objectives. It sounds simple but it truly is an implementation that solidifies teamwork and problem solving. Know your role and know your tools. Have a balance between assistance and additional firepower.
Progressing through the level reveals more of the map. By drawing on the map, players can visually plan an escape route, or emphasize points of interest. It may not be obvious, but the map is probably your best weapon, use it often!
We have been working hard on strategies, but they are hardly working. Randomly generated enemies make you realize you have zero control over the pieces to the game. It feels like one person is playing chess, the other is playing checkers, then you wake up to realize everyone is actually playing monopoly and no one has enough resources to pass go. How do we get from point A to point B and not cause panic?
A slow and steady pace with the hammer, hammer time!
Go into a room like BOOM!
The second option is the most risky because it requires resources, but it eliminates surprises. At the end of the day, we figured the best is to just shut up and nut up. Don’t fear anything because your greatest challenges come from your teammates and their actions or reaction.
GTFO is heavily focused on working together but I forgot to put an emphasis on how hard it is to survive together. No man left behind. Meaning you cannot progress without all your team members reaching the target area. This definitely makes the game more challenging because if my dumbass decides to take a wrong turn, then I more than likely will get the squad killed and the mission failed. Happy restart! Remember your team is your best resource though they can be the biggest pain. Love y’all!
Entry 4: Fighting Temptations And Instincts
Let me shed some light on this darkness called GTFO. It’s evil! Get ready to fall victim to greed. Instinctively you will be tempted by uncovering loot crates through terminals. It’s like how an angler fish would lure its prey right into his sharp teeth. It doesn’t help that areas are bigger than they appear on the map. The travel time between rooms can take several minutes because of mandatory precautionary acts to avoid unnecessary loss of already scarce ammo.
Even DRULcrew has been taught a couple lessons:
- Don’t travel beyond the needed trail
- The hunt for booty will cost thy own booty, and GTFO has no problem owning it
With hopes of improving our chances of survival, we would venture into the unknown to scavenge for items. More times than not, we’d leave the now known area with less than what we started. I’m not afraid to say that success is hard to come by in GTFO. We have failed so many times that the characters stopped talking and giving us hints. It’s like they are sick and tired of dying.
When in-game characters do talk, they provide a bit of guidance by spotting and identifying enemies. I do recall speaking to Oscar from the GTFO Dev team, he stated that in-game dialogue will reveal more of the story. But I must admit, it’s hard for me to pay attention to dialogue when I’m focused so much on surviving.
I haven’t talked much about GTFO’s playability. Controls are what you’d expect for an FPS, WASD for movement, and aim with mouse. But I think they’re simple so you can truly focus on the purpose of the game: torture.
Entry 5: 5 Stages of Loss
The best way to describe my experience with GTFO is the 5 stages of grief (there is a lot of death).
Denial: This game is not hard.
Anger: WTF! This is BS.
Depression: Why can’t I beat this? Do I suck?
Bargaining: If you let me pass this corridor without alarming the enemy, I won’t kill any.
Acceptance: Fuck it, this game is really hard.
I give my respect to 10 Chambers for assembling this suffering. It is easy to put words in captions and claim to be ‘hardcore’, but GTFO delivers. It has challenged friendships, and our ability to work together. I would say it helped us mature as gamers to appreciate a challenge. To savor the sweet nectar of victory.
My final warning to gamers who are thinking about dropping into GTFO. Don’t let your guard down. I felt GTFO adapted to our play style, it lulled our defenses to sleep. We got used to using the music in the game as an indicator of when we were in trouble or safe. I don’t know if it was a glitch or not but there have been times we thought we were in the clear, packed packed our turrets and 30 seconds later a horde came at us after the “horde” music stopped. I swear the game just wanted to continue to instill fear and show us all who’s boss. Lesson learned.
Unfortunately, we didn’t complete all of the levels GTFO currently offers. We spent numerous (literally, many, many, many) hours playing, only to beat two levels, A1 and B2. I’m a bit heartbroken that the levels are changing. Despite our successes, not completing all the levels makes me feel like the creatures have still won, my team and I have been defeated. Nonetheless, I am excited to see what kind of evil the March 31 update cooks up.
During our sessions, we also started singing random songs that reminded us of the situation at hand. So many songs came up that Jack, aka jspin, had the brilliant idea of putting together a Spotify Playlist, this kept morale high. These songs at some points of time were sung out loud. It was comforting, to say the least. Got us some extra bravado to push through the horrors. More on this playlist to come in a future post!
Here are some ideas DRULcrew had while experiencing many fun and torturous hours in GTFO.
Frag grenades or anything with splash damage. There is a good amount of hazardous containers in each map, but they are not explosive. It would be great to strategize around the environment. Currently those containers only provide false hope 🙁
A silenced pistol would be nice. Or more ways to stealthily lower the count of enemies.
Melee when weapon is drawn. Reloads can happen at the absolute worst time. With your gun drawn, it’d be nice to press a button to perform the secondary melee action (block). This could give your character a bit of space during intense fights.
A kill counter on turrets to measure placement effectiveness.
Double-tap a direction to strafe. Similar to Unreal Tournament, double tap A to strafe left. We think it would feel a bit more natural than pressing shift + direction.
Limit Enemy Abilities
Currently, we can headshot a spitter or shooter (tongue or light guy), and even though they are missing their head, they can still whip their tongue at us or shoot their light. It’s like there isn’t a benefit to precision aiming. An enemy shouldn’t be able to use their primary weapon if they’re missing their head. They should only be able to melee us if they’re missing their head.
Overall, GTFO is extraordinary! Bringing people together through fear and strategy, it’s truly brilliant. I want to thank the team at 10 Chambers for these experiences. I can’t wait to see the agony that is to come after the March 31 update and once the game exits early access.
Lastly, a reminder:
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARKNESS, JUST GTFO!