Not long ago when Kevin Costner was out pitching his most
recent western, Open
Range, he talked about
how difficult it was to get funding for a movie of that genre. Cowboys and Indians are part of America's glorious history, yet these days it seems like
the average movie-goer is more interested in space and Middle Earth to bother
showing up to some boring old western. I
can only wonder if the same rule applies to video games, because outside of a
couple of mediocre attempts (Red Dead Revolver, Dead Man's
Hand) westerns are few and far between.
Gun goes a long
ways to filling that gap, it's a solid action game that is good looking and
offers an interesting (and unique) experience.
It doesn't break any new ground, but its presentation is first rate all
the way through. In a time overrun with
World War II shooters, Gun comes as a welcome change of pace. Unfortunately it also comes with a few flaws
that keep it from being one of the most exciting games of the year.
Gun comes to us
from the good folks at Neversoft, the developers best known for their prolific
Tony Hawk games, but don't expect too many crazy gimmicks, this is a
by-the-numbers action game that is fun while it lasts. It's an action game that combines the fun of
a third-person shooter (like Max Payne or SOCOM 3) with the exploration of
games like Grand Theft Auto. The game is
set in the late 1800s, so you'll find yourself living off the land, listening
to "authentic" racism, and killing just about anybody that looks at
you funny … all the clichés you've seen from decades of movie westerns.
The game starts out with a lot of promise; you'll find
yourself playing Colton White, a man out hunting with his grizzly old man. Before long you are whisked ahead to a tragic
confrontation with an evil preacher who has no problem killing men, women, and
even your father. As you can imagine
this angers Colton White something fierce; and the rest of the game is set-up
for you to track down and kill the people responsible for this heinous
act. While on your quest you'll meet up
with friendly prostitutes, crooked locals, a resistance party, and your fair
share of Indian tribes, it's a traveling circus of interesting characters.
But just because I compared it to Grand Theft Auto don't
expect Gun to be a completely
non-linear experience; the game always lets you know what you're supposed to be
doing next in order to advance the plot and you can forget about taking things
out of order. But the story itself is
fairly interesting, full of exciting characters doing dangerous things. Your quest will take all over Gun's world
helping strangers, shooting enemies, and blow stuff up. Things do get a bit predictable in the game's
second half, but all in all this is one story that will keep you going all the
way to the end.
But you getting to the end may have less to do with your
interest in the story than it does with the fact that Gun is extremely short. In
fact, this is one of the shortest game experiences I've had this year, something
I found to be a bit jarring. Just when
you start feeling confident about your gunslinging abilities the game is over,
you've battled your last boss and the only thing left to do is the lame
mini-games. This is no exaggeration, Gun can easily be beaten in four – five
hours, and getting 100% can is nothing more than a seven hour jog.
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