Player(s): 1 (single player), 2-4 (online co-op)
Extra Features: Online co-op play
Arkane Studios is well-known for Prey and Deathloop and the Dishonored franchise. Out of the listed games, I’ve only ever played Prey, which I had a great time with so I was definitely ready for their latest game. Redfall is a co-op open world first-person shooter that plays very similar to a Borderlands game. Either go at it alone or build a team of players and hunt down some bloodsuckers! Overall, Redfall is an alright game with great potential, but it is held back by numerous problems. The game feels very rushed.
Vampires have invaded the town of Redfall! Four vampire hunters try to escape the town by boat, but their escape is interrupted when the vampires cast a spell that calls up walls of water to trap the current survivors. The four vampire hunters race to the local fire station and create a safe house, then journey off to do battle with the vampires. The story is overall pretty basic. I really like the handling of all characters in the story – each playthrough with a different character adds unique dialogue to cutscenes and gameplay.
From the start, you pick one of the four vampire hunters and get to go through the main storyline with your chosen character. Cutscenes are shown with still pics that form a film reel strip and have voiced dialogue. The characters all have their own unique abilities that are unlocked as you progress through the story. Each character has two abilities that have a cooldown and then one ultimate abilitiy that requires spirit energy gained from defeated foes.
Just like a Borderlands, you’ll be looting enemies and environments for new guns, ammo, and scrap. Scrap is received from picking-up certain items and from salvaging current weapons. The scrap is the game’s main currency. The game has a good variety of weapons - handguns, revolvers, shotguns, sniper rifles, and other weapons can be gained and they all have their own unique stats. There are also unique vampire weapons such as a solar gun and a stake launcher. Much like a Borderlands, you’ll be grabbing up all sorts of guns and then deciding what to keep and what to scrap as you continue to collect more. It’s got the same “Ooo, what did I get?” type of feel when you start looting – if you’ve played Borderlands, you know what I mean.
Vampires are the main enemies, but you’ll sometimes fight human enemies that are on the same side as the vampires. The vampire fights in this game are pretty unique and fun to fight. All vampires must be weakened with gunshots and then staked as they are stunned. Sometimes weapons have stakes on them and sometimes you can kill a vampire with your current ammo, depending on the type. The actual staking animation is very pleasing!
The game has a good amount of vampire types. You have your basic vampires that can teleport throughout the area and attack with claws and then you have more unique type such as some that explode on contact and there is a type that sends out a red gas that will quickly drain your health if you step inside of it. There are also more powerful vampires and a few major boss enemies. The game offers two major open world areas with tons of side quests and main missions to perform. One problem with this setup is that once you move to one open world (about halfway through the game), you can’t go back to the other.
Redfall has its own unique style of graphics. It uses a very simplified look that almost makes it look like a very old-school game on a past console. For the most part, the presentation is alright. I’m kind of indifferent with the game’s graphical style. I hear it looks a lot like Dishonored, which I haven’t played yet. The entire game runs at 30 frame per second (fps), which seems inexcusable on Series X hardware. The game just doesn’t seem that demanding to be trapped at such a low framerate. To make it even worse, the game still chugs down to an even lower framerate very often. If a vampire puts out the slightest little particle effect too close to your camera, the game will slow down and sometimes it goes down to slideshow vision.
The game’s default controls feel very bad. It’s like the game was not tested well when using a controller. Thankfully, with the help of online players, I was able to change some settings in the options to make the game feel more like the way a console shooter should feel. By default, the game turns too fast when rotating the camera. The motion blur also affects movement and gives off way too much of a blurry feel when rotating the camera.
The enemy AI in this game needs work as well. Each enemy type has their own faults. Human enemies were literally running from me a bunch of the time. They like to run off to cover areas that are right near you and take cover while exposed. It’s like human enemies get confused when in close range. Vampires will run directly toward you and go through you during their attacks. I’ve run into a house full of vampires that just stand around and let me walk right past them – it’s like they got stuck. I’ve also had vampires get stuck in endless teleporting movements to where I couldn’t attack them and they didn’t even try to attack me. Enemies also get stuck in random areas of the environment from time to time.
As already mentioned, the game is open world and it has quite a lifeless open world. Both maps have enemies that will group up in certain areas and then much of the rest of the map is just nothing. The majority of the game is spent running through an open world with nothing to do until you get to your destination and take out a few random groups of enemies along the way. I’m very thankful that the game has fast travel. The open world areas cycle between night and day. As it approaches night, you’ll find more vampires around. The game is certainly harder at night. While playing single player, you can’t pause the game. This is an “always online” game no matter if you play it online with other players or by yourself. As for online co-op games, this game can only be played with people on your friends list. If you want to just jump online with anyone, you have no option of doing so. Hopefully, the developers change this eventually.
It’s easy to see that Redfall was rushed. It’s hard to believe that this game was tested on Series X before launch because there is so much that needs fixing. Having a full-price game run at such an unoptimized framerate on ay one is so ridiculous. The actual combat is nice, but the enemy AI can often mess it up. I honestly want to like Redfall, but until some major patchwork is done, I can’t really enjoy it all that much.
+ Vampire fights are fun
+ Much to do – many side quests, tons of weapons and a lot of areas to explore
- The framerate chugs on Xbox Series X
- Wonky enemy AI
- Lifeless world
- Default controls feel off
Final Rating: 50% - Redfall has the potential to be a good game, but it has a bunch of issues that need fixing first.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.