I feel it’s necessary to clarify from the beginning of this review that neither Arkane Austin, the developer, nor Bethesda Softworks, the publisher, provided me with a review code for Redfall. I accessed the PC version through Game Pass; thus, my remarks are founded on the reality that I didn’t have to purchase the game for its listed price of $69.99.
Redfall, a highly criticized game, represented an effort by Arkane and Bethesda to produce a four-player co-op game that also offers a solo play option. Upon its initial reveal, I perceived it as a Left 4 Dead-style game featuring vampires, which immediately sparked my interest.
The game situates players in a serene seaside town known as Redfall, unfortunately usurped by vampires. These vampires possess the ability to manipulate the surrounding waters, essentially isolating the town from the mainland and any potential rescue.
The game involves players selecting one of four characters and arming themselves to confront hordes of cultists aligned with the vampires, as well as the vampires themselves across various missions. Players can accumulate resources, enabling them to upgrade their weapons, ammunition, health, etc. A local community center serves as a home base for players to rest, restock, and choose between main or side missions while engaging with various NPC characters.
The town is expansive and traversing and battling through various locations demands patience. Players often find themselves returned to the base upon defeat unless they’ve unlocked a Safehouse or Historical Marker, which grants players the ability to fast-travel between locales.
An assortment of weapons is available to players, ranging from pistols and flare guns to shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, stake launchers, and U.V. guns. Each player can equip only three weapons at a time, while the rest are stored in the Backpack, waiting to be swapped or scrapped.
Further, players can upgrade various skills via skill points and possess special abilities that operate on a timer. For instance, playing as Jacob, I could deploy a spiritual bird to detect enemies, become invisible for short durations, and summon a powerful sniper rifle that automatically locks onto targets, eliminating even vampires and inflicting substantial damage to special enemies.
As players accomplish missions, the root cause of the vampire infestation is uncovered. Players must navigate their way to Safehouse missions to confront an Underboss, whose skull is crucial for accessing one of the four bosses in the game. Generally, three skulls and a special object are necessary, which means unlocking three safehouses, undertaking one mission each, and then defeating the Underboss.
Players who prefer to concentrate on the core storyline have the option to forgo some side missions.
However, it is common knowledge among gamers that the game has numerous bugs. I encountered numerous glitches, such as floating bags, stationary enemies that didn’t react to weapons hits, and crashes to the desktop. The enemy AI exhibited peculiar behaviors like standing still while being shot at or positioning themselves in my line of fire.
The most significant issue I faced was the online play, which lacked matchmaking and required players to be online, on the host’s friend list, and play at the host’s current point in the game. Despite my efforts to find online partners, including scouring various forums, I was unsuccessful.
The game’s expansive map was also a source of criticism. While vampire nests and places of interest abound, players often find these locations offer little more than the opportunity to gather resources.
Nevertheless, I found myself engrossed in the story and the action, despite its repetitiveness and the overly familiar vampire staking and stomping animations.
While the graphics and sound might seem somewhat dated compared to other games, the game offered interesting locales, and I enjoyed defeating enemies despite the repetitive gameplay.
In conclusion, despite its many bugs, design flaws, and questionable decisions, Redfall offered some entertainment and was at times more captivating than some other recent games I’ve reviewed. There’s a foundation for a decent game within Redfall, but it will need significant updates and patches to reach the expectations set by the developers and gamers. Currently, it represents an intriguing concept that falls short of achieving its goals and meeting expectations.
2.5 stars out of 5