Redfall

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC first-person shooter

If there’s any industry that has its fair share of bandwagons, it’s gaming. If it isn’t a console, it’s a controller, if it isn’t a controller, it’s a character, if it isn’t a – well, you get the picture.

The latest bandwagon that certainly many reviewers are jumping on is the hate for the recently released Redfall. But is justified?

This first-person shooter is the latest title to come from the celebrated studio Arkane, that have been responsible for such titles such as the Dishonored franchise, Prey and 2021’s release Deathloop.

boom reviews Redfall
If they're going to turn their backs on us, it would be rude not to...

You choose from one of four characters to roam around the fictional town of Redfall, Massachusetts, which finds itself plagued by vampires after a failed scientific experiment, given the task of ridding the town of them.

It’s a game that can be played solo or with up to four players online, as you tackle various missions, with a wide variety of weapons at your disposal, with you having the ability to carry three of them at any given time. One that is essential is one that can be fitted with a stake, as that’s the only way you can finish off a vampire for definite. Other weapons include your standard handguns, machine guns, shotguns etc, with a couple of vampire-specific weapons that can fire stakes, as well as beams of UV light.

So far, so generic. And to be fair, the game won’t win any awards for originality; actually, there’s no chance of it winning any awards at all, except perhaps Worst Game of the Year, but that kind of rhetoric is both untrue and borderline hyperbole.

The truth is, Redfall is neither a bad nor broken game. We can say that having ploughed over 15 hours into it. And trust us, we wouldn’t devote that amount of time to one game if it didn’t have some redeeming qualities.

boom reviews - Redfall
Damn, I wish I paid the electricity bill now.

Let’s talk about it being a buggy mess. Firstly, every new game that is released has its fair share of bugs, which is just a fact. However, during our play through, we only come across three minor bugs – one of which was some ammo boxes floating in the air, and another was a floor missing from a ship when we managed to get into a space we shouldn’t have. None of these bugs caused the game, or our progress in it, to stop. So for a period of 15 hours, that’s not bad going.

Sure, others may not have been that lucky, but at no time during our play through – on a copy of the game downloaded from Game Pass for our Xbox Series X, did we experience a major fault. Things may well be different for PC users, but hey, that’s down to them.

There has also been a lot of jibber jabber about poor AI. Now we can testify we’ve had some issues, but not many, with enemies completely unaware we were standing next to them, for instance. But our thinking is, we’ll take an easy kill when we can.

So as far as it being the worst release of the year, we don’t think so. In fact anyone coming out with such a dumb statement clearly doesn’t play games on a regular basis, because we could whip up a top ten of some real stinkers released this year here and now, and you wouldn’t see Redfall on it.

But it’s clear that a narrative has been built by the media, which many have just chosen to adopt thinking it to be true. It’s not.

Does this mean that in years to come Redfall will be re-examined and hailed as a modern classic? Don’t be so daft. The reality of it is, the game is a fairly average first person shooter experience. And considering the pedigree of the studio behind it, it’s understandable that there’s widespread disappointment for it. But for that disappointment to grow into something far more ludicrous is more difficult to appreciate.

Now this isn’t going to be a sentence you are likely to read from many reviews for this game, and we’re happy to be taking the dissenting opinion, but it is possible to actually have some fun playing it. Having spent a number of years of shooting various iterations of zombies in games, taking on floating ethereal beings with a penchant for blood makes a refreshing change. The fact that there are various types, with each type having to be dealt with in a different way, gives it some variety.

But there’s no denying its faults, of which there are a number. It can feel quite isolated walking around the map (one of two), where that sense of isolation and being fearful of a possible attack can quickly turn to boredom, which isn’t ideal. But the maps aren’t terribly big, so it won’t be too long before you come in contact with one foe or another.

And there are a plethora of niggles throughout too. For instance, as it’s an always connected to the internet title, you can’t pause the game; so if you want to go into your menu and check your items, you can still very much be attacked. There isn’t one button mapped for the map itself, so if you need to call it up, you have to go through the menu. Plus, despite it saving regularly, if you die, you will respawn at the last safe house you visited.

All annoying little niggles, but none of which has stopped us playing at any point.

We’ll certainly admit to being disappointed at its overall look visually; it just doesn’t play like we would want a ‘next gen’ game to play, with visuals that fail to impress in any way.

But what we did find was that it did a good job of building atmosphere, especially with an underrated score that really help set the scene, especially when exploring many of the houses you have to rummage through. We also liked the skills we developed, such as our little crow friend – who behaved much like Assassin’s Creed’s useful eagle, as well as the ability to cloak ourselves for periods of a time.

It also proved somewhat of a challenge too, especially with the solo campaign taking on the big bosses.

But overall, the game doesn’t deserve the overwhelming amount of hate that came its way. It does show how hypocritical some reviewers can be, who, only a few days earlier, were making excuses for the bug-ridden mess that Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was released in, using the excuse that it’s clear what it was aiming for. Sure, buy this ‘brilliant’ game now, because it will be even more brilliant potentially in a few months time when the developers get around to fixing it...

This isn’t the big AAA title that Microsoft – and fans of Arcane for that matter – were hoping for, that much is true. But it just doesn’t deserve the slating that it’s received.

It is a first person shooter game that fans of solo campaigns can certainly sink their teeth into, and it’s a one where there’s undeniable fun to be had playing it in co-op with friends.

If you have Game Pass, it’s certainly a game we would honestly recommend you download it and try it for yourself, so only then can you see if all the bad blood surrounding it is justified. For our two cents worth, we genuinely don’t think it is.

we give this three out of five