Salute and do battle (in style).
If you’ve ever wanted to experience a full-blown gladiator arena in VR—complete with blood and guts galore—you should absolutely check out Free Lives’ GORN.
GORN is the VR game that you’d generally want to play when you’re trying to exhale stress, but you don’t have a rock star’s hotel room full of physical mementos to desecrate. It’s the VR game that you’re deathly afraid to let any of your family members catch you playing, but where the act of eviscerating a club-footed gladiator leaves you with a grin of such sinister, guiltless satisfaction that you simply don’t care.
Watch the original early access launch trailer for the feel that Free Lives is going for.
GORN is veritably known as the murder simulator of VR—which, of course, is meant to say that it’s pretty well-recognized for how physically engaging it is. In fact, you can get a decent mid-level cardio workout from playing an hour of the game, which I’ve done a handful of times to the effect of approximately 300 kcal burnt per hour of play.
As any good gladiator game should, GORN leans heavily on letting players get creative with its arsenal of toys and weapons.
There are a lot of weapons to unleash carnage with. Each of which handles differently and might confuse you without some practice. But while every weapon is fun to play with, you might not intuitively pick up on the best way to wield each of them. So today, you get to peruse a complete guide on each of the weapons in GORN, including the different varieties of ‘Caestus’ (Caesti?); weaponized gauntlets with a twist.
Note: (The unlock information featured in this guide is sourced directly from the ‘weapons‘ page of the official GORN wiki.)
Your hands are the simplest weapon you can cause mayhem with when playing GORN. As you can ball your hands up into a fist at practically any time, you always have a useful direct damage weapon to break out in a pinch. Your fists are strong enough to break through armor on their own, but making fists isn’t the only thing that your hands can be used for. You can grapple with other gladiators’ limbs as well, disarming or even disemboweling them. Check out this GORN MMA video to see how useful your own two hands can be:
You’ll often find rocks laying on the ground around the arena at the beginning of each match. While you can do plenty of damage to enemies’ bodies with rocks, they’re especially excellent for busting through helmets and crushing skulls. Rocks also work well as early throwing weapons.
Here’s an (obviously) NSFW video of YouTube user ‘loganisabword‘ playing GORN with rocks:
The spiked mace is one of the first real weapons you’ll have the privilege of pummeling your opponents with. It’s absurdly overpowered, as are most of the other blunt weapons in GORN, granting the ability to not only bash through armor but also send other gladiators flying with minimal force input.
To unlock in the menu: Get five kills.
Also found earlier on than some of the other weapons, the spiked bat is the most tantalizingly kill-y weapon in GORN, and I have to give props to Free Lives for letting it past the smut filter. Do they have a smut filter? Anyway, it’s about as disgusting to kill a virtual human with one of these as you’d think it is, even though it doesn’t do great against armor.
The classic sword. Use this to chop off limbs and behead your opponents. But don’t try to break armor with the sword, because I promise you’ll find yourself having a really rough time with it. Then again, that’d be a good way to get your heart rate up, so definitely do that if you don’t mind chancing (virtual) death.
To unlock in the menu: Get five sword kills.
It’s like a giant ball-peen hammer that you use to break armor and send enemies flying. Much like the spiked mace, this is a common blunt weapon that you find early on in great quantities. It’s also quite robust, and you can beat enemy torsos with it until they explode. Is that a good thing? I don’t know.
To unlock in the menu: Break 15 pieces of armor.
The flail is one of the first weapons you come across, alongside the spear, that doesn’t work as intuitively as the others. It’s a blunt weapon, so it carries a lot of physical force, but it needs to be revved up and kept in mid-air otherwise you lose the momentum and it doesn’t deal much damage. Whenever you’re holding a flail, just swing your controller around while you barrel down on an enemy; if they so much as touch your flail while it’s at full speed, they’ll go flying.
To unlock in the menu: Get five mace kills.
The spear is the first two-handed weapon you come across in GORN. In order to get the most juice out of it, you want to thrust your enemy with both hands at once. Go in for quick jabs and try to impale the center of your enemy’s mass for a grab at their heart. Like the rapier, you can rip an enemy’s heart right out of their body and beat their friends with it, making for extra creative usage of GORN‘s physics system.
To unlock in the menu: Get three double kills.
The rapier is a thin little sword that you can use to poke right in and get at the good bits of your enemies’ anatomies. You can probe hearts out, sure, but you haven’t lived until you experience the weirdly satisfying sensation of sticking one of these puppies into somebody’s arm and watching their entire limb stretch right off their body. Ahem.
To unlock in the menu: Kill champion named ‘The Fencer’.
It’s a giant rock that you can roll around the arena to knock enemies over. It’s unwieldy and very difficult to pick up and use as a martial weapon, but dropping one over a downed enemy’s head makes for an appropriately dramatic display of carnage and you should never kick yourself for wanting to try it at least once.
To unlock in the menu: Get seven kills with rocks.
It’s a giant two-handed sword that’s reminiscent of the ‘Buster Sword’ from Final Fantasy VII. All you really need to do with the greatsword is slash back and forth with both of your hands; this thing is so devastating that you’ll slice enemies in half without exerting much force.
Contrary to the greatsword, I found the great flail to be much more difficult to control. Since it’s a flail, you need to keep it in momentum in order to do much damage with it. The good news is that propelling the great flail in circles makes every enemy in a radius around you susceptible to getting knocked out of the arena and/or impaled on the wall spikes. But you do not want to try and execute any surgical strikes with this weapon, as the physics system is pretty inefficient at handling those.
Bow & Arrows
The bow works pretty much as you’d expect it to if you’ve ever played Skyrim VR or any other VR game featuring a bow and arrows. When in doubt, always go for headshots. You can also pick up arrows and reuse them; pluck arrows out of enemy corpses and re-quiver them for future use.
It’s a one-handed axe with two blades. Great for decapitating as well as removing limbs from opponents. Don’t try hacking this thing at armor, as it does about as much damage to armor as the sword.
The greataxe is, much like the greatsword, a giant two-hander with a blade attached. You can use the greataxe to slash enemies in half, and it’s great against both armored and unarmored foes.
To unlock in the menu: Get five axe kills.
The nunchucks are a blunt weapon that, like the flail, you need to swing around to build momentum with. Unlike the flail, the nunchucks are much less powerful per swing and require much less momentum to deal damage. You can make surgical strikes with nunchucks to pull pieces of enemy armor off as well.
The chainblade is a variant of the nunchucks with a blade on the end. You can slice off enemy limbs and impale enemy torsos with the chainblade, but you still want to give it a few swings to build up momentum before slashing.
The quarterstaff is a large two-handed blunt weapon that is totally (righteously) overpowered in the right set of hands. You can hit enemies with both sides of the staff, and it does damage for as long as it’s in motion. Which means that you can stand in one place and twirl the quarterstaff around in circles while you send enemies flying.
The greathammer is yet another very large two-handed weapon that’s great for busting armor and smashing skulls but is particularly difficult to wield. As it can’t slice enemies in half, you need to be precise with your strikes. And as it is a two-handed weapon, precision isn’t easy to achieve. Make sure that your hands are evenly spread apart when you swing, with one hand guiding the bottom of the shaft.
Use a shield to block arrows and bash your enemies into submission. Using a shield as a weapon doesn’t do an amazing amount of damage, but will often knock enemies over and paralyze them long enough for you to get in and finish them off.
The throwing shield doesn’t really act like a regular shield in the same protective sense. However, it does have blades on it that allow you to throw it at enemies and deal some severe damage. When it lands on an opponent, the blades get stuck inside of their flesh, making it viable to de-limb enemies with the throwing shield.
Much like the throwing shield, the throwing axe (tomahawk) gets stuck in enemy flesh and can be ripped out for maximum effect. You can use the throwing axe as a melee weapon as well, lopping off limbs as you go.
The glaive is a large one-handed sword with two blades sticking out of both opposite ends. It isn’t the most efficient way to slice enemies apart, but you can both impale and decapitate opponents with the glaive.
The iron fist caestus replaces your hand with a permanently closed iron fist, letting you punch enemies with superhuman strength but stopping your ability to pick up weapons. Further down the ‘overpowered’ range of caestus weapons, the iron fist does make you substantially more powerful than most of the other weapons on this list.
The retractable claws caestus lets you keep access to grabbable objects and weapons, meanwhile granting a concealed set of claws that you can extend at will. The claws themselves are extremely powerful; you can fully behead enemies, stab them, and pick them up with the strength of your grip. Like with any bladed weapon, you can use your claws to rip enemy corpses to shreds.
The grapple hook latches onto enemy weapons and limbs, allowing you to both disarm and tear apart the other gladiators whenever you have one equipped. While it’s okay to use this in one hand, you’ll find it to be more effective when you have grappling hooks equipped to both hands.
The throwing knives caestus spawns knives on your wrists that you can pick up and throw at enemies for high damage. Like the other thrown weapons, these knives stick on flesh and can be pulled out for a gruesome execution. They come in a limited quantity though, so be sparing in how you use them (or pick them up off of corpses to replenish your inventory).
The crossbow caestus winds up with a hand crank and shoots a bolt. Particularly useful as a way to get fast ranged takedowns, as it is designed for aiming and landing headshots. While not as versatile as the bow, this crossbow is a great last-ditch or surprise weapon to pull out when your options appear slim.
With the crab pincers, you can grab an enemy by the head and squeeze until it pops off. Likewise, you can also do the same thing with their limbs. Picking up and throwing enemies around with pincers is a really effective way to impale them on spike traps if that method of battle suits your fancy.
Pegasus Wings (‘GORN‘ Movement Mode Only)
The pegasus wings caestus lets you fly around when you grab the world and drag it towards you in the default ‘GORN movement’ mode. You may find this way of moving around to be too extreme or too nauseating, but it offers a clear advantage in that you can quickly leap over enemies and/or escape their attacks.
GORN is a lot of fun to play for letting out stress. It’s an over-the-top brutal gladiator arena simulator, but difficult to deny as quite enjoyable and great for a workout. GORN‘s weapon selection mixed with its engrossing, visceral combat make for tons of possibilities, and I hope this guide helps you better understand the game and its arsenal.
What is your favorite GORN weapon? Let us know in the comments.