GTFO: The Underrated Co-op Horror Game You Must Try

GTFO: The Underrated Co-op Horror Game You Must Try
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There are many different ways for games to scare players. Some take advantage of resource scarcity, forcing you to agonize over every bullet. Some will attack you with grotesque monsters that will give you goosebumps just to look at them. There are games that cloud your senses so you can’t see or hear what’s around the corner, and games where you can’t defend yourself at all. And then there’s the old-fashioned jumping scare — always reliable — like zombie dogs crashing through a window unexpectedly.

GTFO does everything above. But the co-op horror shooter goes further: it uses difficulty to inject terror into every moment and overtake any game in the genre. Lots of players trying GTFO will call it punishment. Some will insist it is downright unfair. But the game’s brutal challenge serves a purpose: as you explore the labyrinthine laboratories and tunnels that make up the oppressive subterranean facility known only as The Complex, you’ll become aware of the crushing awareness that the slightest slip can lead to that Losing hours of progress to you and your team creates excitement and terror like I’ve never felt before.

in the GTFO, play as one of four prisoners who are sent against their will deep underground to achieve esoteric goals at the behest of an unseen entity known as The Warden. The complex is haunted by a multitude of “Sleepers,” horrifically mutated forms that lash out of toothed openings with whip-like tongues. The gameplay is a mixture of stealth and shooting combat; You’ll do your best to clear each new room of sleepers without waking them up, which generally means sneaking around in the dark while syncing melee attacks with your teammates. Huffing a bonk or just taking a step at the wrong time could wake the whole room up, which, if your team doesn’t clear right away, will end up wasting valuable ammo (at best). This, in turn, can bite you from behind later in the level when you trigger an alarm that will send endless waves of mutants your way, testing your aim, your improvisational skills, and your ability to make quick decisions under pressure.

The drop sequence in GTFO where four prisoners fall into the depths of The Complex

Understandably, GTFO is a tough sell for some players. Not everyone has free time to devote hours to a game where a single miss could kill your entire team and send you back to the main menu. Checkpoints are a relatively new addition to the game, but they remain few and far between; Missions can take hours to complete and they can have a single checkpoint or none at all. Like every design choice made by developer 10 Chambers, this feels deliberate. There are no easy routes through the complex.

But even if you suffer a crushing wipe, you never truly leave empty-handed. Even a failed run can grant you new boosters – boons like increased ammo or health regeneration that you can apply to future attempts. But more importantly, you gain knowledge you didn’t have before.

A lot of GTFOThe difficulty lies in not knowing what will happen next. Mission objectives are often as simple as finding an item and transporting it to the extraction point. But this unique quest could involve typing commands into terminals to locate this item, reading environmental clues to determine the route to this zone, diving down dangerous side paths to search for ammo, and any number of unexpected complications. However, once you know what to expect, you can plan accordingly: maybe bring two deployable turrets instead of one on your next run, or go straight to the critical path without feeling the need to explore as much. Of course, missing a mission after two hours of sneaking and clawing feels bad, but each swipe imparts another thread of knowledge that you’ll eventually weave together into a successful run.

The prisoner uses a motion sensor in a room full of sleepers in GTFO, with a flashlight illuminating the group of monsters

Image: 10 chambers

And boy does it feel good to see the expedition survived Screen. After enough time spent in anyone GTFO level, you will likely feel much like the prisoners: insane, sick, stressed out, beaten down and desperate to get back to the surface. GTFO has, apart from nothing, the most consistent and polished atmosphere I’ve ever encountered in a game. The prisoners tremble and fidget nervously as you select their gear. They draw in sharp breaths as they awaken from cryo, and each journey down into the complex is a cacophony of sounds. Your character will hyperventilate during combat, causing sluggish movements if you’re not paying attention to your ever-increasing heart rate. Simple glowsticks can seem like a godsend in pitch-black corridors where turning on the flashlight at the wrong time could end a run. Each new type of monster you encounter is a body horror mayhem that requires unique tactics to defeat. Sometimes your entire team will be teleported outside into an alien desert that for all you know could be on another planet or dimension, and usually that’s all you can do to survive. Oddly enough, at these points, returning to the complex’s claustrophobic chambers can feel like a relief.

GTFO is definitely not for everyone, but players who find it all appealing won’t find a consistently more daunting challenge. It’s the perfect game to play with three equally masochistic friends this spooky Halloween season, and the game’s official Discord has active party finder channels where players are friendly regardless of your level of experience with the game. After all, we prisoners are in it together and we all just want to get back to the surface.

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