When discussing gaming’s best co-op experiences, the classic hack and slash dungeon crawler Gauntlet is always part of the conversation. Whether it’s the classic arcade game or one of the previous console offerings such as Gauntlet: Dark Legacy from a couple of generations back, the Gauntlet games have provided countless hours of co-op entertainment over the years. Now a new console Gauntlet game is available on the PS4, in the form of Gauntlet: Slayer Edition.
PC gamers that played 2014’s Gauntlet game will notice that Gauntlet: Slayer Edition is very familiar. That is because Slayer Edition is mostly just the updated version of the PC game, which added, among other things, Endless Mode.
Endless Mode is one of three game modes available in Gauntlet: Slayer Edition, and is joined by the Campaign and the Colosseum, the latter of which is a challenge mode that is periodically updated by the developers to yield new rewards. The meat of the game is definitely the Campaign, as it tasks players with going through dungeon after dungeon, scouring each floor for gold and food while battling with a wide variety of enemy types. It tells a simple, but amusing story, complimented by characters brimming with personality, while also featuring some creative, exciting, and challenging boss battles.
To conquer the Campaign, players use one of four different characters (plus a fifth available as paid DLC), with the option to switch to another character between levels. The characters available are the classic Gauntlet archetypes; there’s the Elf, the Valkyrie, the Warrior, and the Wizard. Each character plays vastly different from one another, with their own upgrades and weapons, which makes replaying the game with another character feel like a profoundly fresh experience.
These characters are universal across the other game modes, so gold and abilities obtained with the Warrior will carry over to the Colosseum and Endless Mode, for example. This is a good thing, too, because after completing the Campaign and dabbling in the other two game modes, there is nothing to do in Gauntlet: Slayer Edition except endlessly grind for gold.
Gold is the driving force behind the game, as the only way to improve the characters is by purchasing new abilities and cosmetic items. The problem is that nearly everything in the game is grossly expensive, so even after five hours of play chances are only a handful of abilities can be purchased. This requires hours upon hours of grinding, and since the game rarely diverges from merely hacking and slashing, this results in a supremely repetitive experience before too long.
Despite its flaws, Gauntlet: Slayer Edition is still a game to consider for those looking for an addicting co-op hack and slash. The game supports four-player co-op both online and off, and successfully captures the essence of what made the series so great in the past. However, don’t bother with Gauntlet: Slayer Edition if playing solo, and expect the end game to be little more than a massive grind for gold.
Gauntlet: Slayer Edition is currently available for PS4, with the regular version of the game available on PC, and plans on bringing it to Steam Machines in the future. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.