The first time we heard of Weird west officially, it was thanks to the presentation of the project during the The 2019 Game Awards, with a trailer showing the title of Raphael Colantonio and his independent team made up of former founders of Arkane Studios, the parents of the very interesting Dishonored saga. The expectations for the new baby were therefore enormous, not only for the very talented leadership, but also for the many promises made before the launch, which described him as a immersive sim huge and multifaceted. So follow us in this review to discover a title with a great esoteric charm, but unfortunately also undermined by some undeniable problems.
The dark and strange West
When we talk about the Old West it is easy to imagine the cinematic context that the famous films of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood have given us in the past, with outlaws, sheriffs, train robberies and shootings with the natives of the place. Today though the trend has progressively changed and, even in video games, the era that has always represented for many an ideal context for stories of adventure and travel into the unknown, has turned into one of the best ways to create horror stories. Weird West is not in fact the first title that follows a decidedly more vision dark and delightfully "diverted" of the Far West that most know. We cannot fail to mention, for example, titles such as Hunt Showdown, from which it seems that Weird West has perhaps also found inspiration for some of his monstrosities, or West of Dead (here our review) with decidedly dark tones. The story of the new game from the fathers of Arkane Studios takes up this imaginary, and is therefore imbued with a disruptive mix of mysticism and violence, of the kind that Dishonored fans have come to know and appreciate, made up of unspeakable monstrosities, mysterious entities. , and profane rituals.
The result obtained is that of a choral adventure fairly branched with 5 characters of which we will take control and which will allow us to see through their eyes one noisy version of the Far West, violent and cruel, sometimes unjust and mean, ready to take it out on the weakest and most defenseless, and where the magic and esotericism they are a dominant part of the local culture. A land where witches they sing around a fire, and where werewolves and possessed beasts revel over the carcasses of village families. A world that we will be free to cross far and wide and that, with some limitations, we will be able to shape at will ... even with lead and with a blood-stained conscience, and heavy as a boulder.
Freedom up to a certain point
Weird West in this review venue has therefore revealed itself as a title with great potential in terms of setting and narration. However, we are not exactly of the same opinion for the gameplay, but let's start from the beginning. For those who have never heard of Weird West before this piece, let's talk about a hybrid from twins stick shooter, an RPG and a stealth game, all with isometric visual from above. There are also quite elementary management and crafting components. The approach to gameplay follows, or rather tries to follow in some ways that of Dishonored, with maps of variable dimensions, and explorable with multiple approaches chosen by the player. This means that on paper it will be possible to proceed with aggressive action and annihilate any living thing we are equal in front of us, or vice versa to be saints healing the dying and helping those in difficulty, or even trying to be one invisible and lethal ghost.
As mentioned, on paper they are all possible procedures, with even the freedom to annihilate under a shower of lead even the important characters for the continuation of the main story. In practice, however, the latter way of relating to the game world is strongly discouraged by developers, due to numerous mechanics of sold and Karma that keep the player from acting recklessly, on pain of a title that becomes progressively unplayable due to the amount of hostiles that we will be forced to face. The result is not too bad overall, but it seems that some routes are extremely sketchy and that the freedom of choice in the approaches to be performed is inextricably linked to pre-set tracks.
Also, right on the reputation system or of (Karma) we have some notes to complain about the title, since a similar structure has been applied to that seen in legendary games like Fallout 3, with negative actions that are punished with the loss of rep points regardless of whether or not they are discovered by the guards patrolling the place. These infractions (even minor ones such as thefts) are cumulative in a given scenario and are notified to the user only at the time of exit. This means that it is also possible to lose many degrees of reputation without knowing it in advance or at the same time as the action itself, ruining part of the role play if you don't pay enough attention to your moves. Unfortunately, all this is combined, in a negative sense, with the bizarre physics of the game, with a system of collisions that, in order to try to give "realistic" sensations, manages to create somewhat tedious situations.
A misstep for Weird West
Resuming the discussion on the physical engine, let's try to explain ourselves better, we are not only talking about explosives that are accidentally activated with chain reactions as lethal as they are inexplicable, but also and above all to small interactions they may have considerable consequences in the continuation of the entire history of the campaign. For example, jumping from a balcony to first get off a floor and accidentally land on the head of an NPC will be considered as a hostile action against the community, with the consequence of finding all the citizens on him eager for blood and revenge. Or inadvertently kicking (due to perspective) a chamber pot while exploring a forbidden area will alert all nearby enemies and lead us back to fighting the entire community and making a killing to resolve the issue. Obviously and fortunately these problems can be solved in full thanks to a practical automatic saving system, but it is better not to rely too much on it, and switch very often to the manual ones before and during each important mission. This is because it will not be uncommon to end up in thorny situations, with bottle cones capable of completely blocking the path we had chosen for the related quest.
Consequently, the gameplay it is sometimes unnerving, especially in stealth mechanics where with each save reloaded the enemies they change randomly their own patrol patterns, confusing even more players who would rather not stain their boots in blood with senseless carnage. In short, if on the one hand Weird West warmly invites players to use their heads instead of shooting like obsessions, on the other hand some tedious mechanics create situations in which the players could be so exasperated as to proceed along the fastest way. but also very painful.
The role-playing mechanics are also not very good, thanks to the upgrades obtainable and two types of "currencies" allows you to enhance both passive statistics than activate abilities with which to unleash powerful superhuman abilities. These are not wrong in principle, but they see an obvious imbalance in favor of the time-slowed abilities, however we believe that this problem can be solved with future patches.
We close by talking about the technical side which proved to be quite discrete however much we talk about a title with a limited budget. On the smooth PlayStation 4 the frame rate tends to be quite a dancer in the most agitated situations, but the experience is not excessively damaged anyway. The performances with the Xbox Series X, with lightning-fast loading times and a rock-solid frame rate. Last note is that of lack of localization in Spanish language, both for speech and subtitles, news that may not make many local players very happy.Review
- Weird West (Provato su PS4)7.2Voto Finale
Weird West is therefore a title with good narrative and expressive potential thanks to a setting that, although not very original, has immense charm. Too bad, therefore, for some calibration defects, which behind some well-structured mechanics allow us to glimpse deep-rooted problems, especially as regards the interactions with the surrounding world and with the NPCs in the stealth phases. Definitely a title with many advantages but at the same time with several defects. However, we recommend that you give the product a chance if you have the Xbox Game Pass, as it is included in the subscription service. With a little patience for problems in the play sector and with a good knowledge of the English language, you can still enjoy a title with good potential.