Games, especially RPGs, whose genre is defined as immersive-sim, are very rare. And unlike other genres – this is not due to some trend of the time. There have always been few such games, and therefore the release of each new project is of considerable interest. Weird West is no exception, which, moreover, has an atypical setting. What happened to WolfEye and Rafael Colantonio? Let’s understand.
Going a little further, it is worth noting that Weird West leaves conflicting impressions. It is very difficult to find something unambiguously good or bad in the game, and the final impression will depend on the preferences and mood of the player.
Let’s start with the setting and design. The action takes place in the Wild West, when North America was just inhabited by people who came to the new continent in search of fame, fortune and happiness, and on the newly appeared dollars, wrote their equivalent in gold. The world of Weird West differs from the boring reality by the presence of a touch of mysticism in what is happening. Well, how to say “raid” – werewolves, cannibals turn into monsters (called sirens) and a whole colony of pigs for the local world is more than normal.
Games and the usual attributes of such a setting in the form of cowboys and Indians remain in the world. And if the former are similar to their incarnations in movies and books, the indigenous tribes twist their stereotypes to the maximum, becoming almost powerful sorcerers and incredible wars. Bandits, various gangs that frighten the surrounding settlements, brave sheriffs, desperate bounty hunters and landlords bathed in luxury – everything in the world of Weird West is also present, and feels quite organic.
All locations, as well as the world, follow the chosen setting well. Designers have probably reviewed more than a dozen westerns and action movies about the events of those years. You believe in small towns and farms, and “fantasy” elements are very organically integrated into the world. But there is a downside – the whole visual is very monotonous.
The first Weird West watch will look incredibly fresh against the backdrop of post-apocalypse settings of all colors and the dirty / flowery Middle Ages. But after 5-6 hours the local yellow scale begins to tire. This is exacerbated by the map, which has a unique design only key points that are important for the plots of the characters.
Encountering another random event during the trip and seeing a couple of times seen “arena” in the form of an abandoned city of three collapsing houses, it is difficult to restrain the bored yawn. It was possible to entertain players in 1-2 Fallout, but after a quarter of a century it is not impressive.
Comparison with isometric parts of Fallout is not the case here. Moving around the world and interacting with the environment is very reminiscent of them. Each city, mine or other object is a small arena, approaching the border where the player can go to the global map and choose the point to which his character (or the whole squad) will go. If on the way you come across some not empty zone, the corresponding mark will appear on the map. Once you reach your destination, there are two options: you will get to a location, if there is one, or you will set up a camp to replenish supplies and rest, if it is empty.
Various events can happen along the way. Most often it is attacks by bandits or wild animals, but there are also more peaceful dates. They all take place in the same arenas, but no longer have any unique features. And so, the journey from point A to point B takes some time, which is important, because many tasks (especially side) are tied in time. The map is quite large, but most of it you will somehow discover in the first chapter of the story, passing the company of a former bounty hunter, whose husband was abducted for use.
The graphics in the game, given the isometric perspective, is quite good, and the design combines well with stylized portraits of characters and occasionally slippery painted cut scenes. And, as a rule, it is customary to scold games for presenting the plot in the form of slides / pictures, but in the case of Weird West – it’s better that way than videos on the game engine.
From the point of view of gameplay, there are no complaints about the engine – it draws what you expect from it, and gives a good overall picture. And if you take into account that you can interact with a large number of objects in the game (push, drop, blow up, set on fire, turn over, etc.), then everything is not bad, given the relatively modest budget of the game.
But this is not so important, because the strongest side of Weird West was to be the gameplay. Complete freedom of action, non-linearity, a living world that responds to the actions of the player and many ways to pass any task – sounds very cool, but often rests on the implementation.
Let’s start with “a world that forgets nothing” – a very loud phrase, but behind it is something that, in general, we have all seen with you many times. The first system that the game will introduce you to almost immediately are friends and enemies. If you kill the leader in the process of clearing the location of the gang, with some chance the survivors will run away, but will become your enemies and may attack at a random time. Personal vendetta can be declared by some inhabitants of the world, whose family you accidentally cut out. Faithful friends act as a counterweight. Did they release a prisoner or help a random stranger? Now, with some chance, he can intervene in the uneven shooting, which will help you to a victorious end.
In addition, by going through side tasks (or doing some actions during the main ones) you, one way or another, can influence small elements of the world. For example, help a couple in love to escape, and then meet her in another town and receive a well-deserved gratitude in the form of things / money or information. On top of that, it’s flavored with a reputation system that varies depending on your actions and decisions. And yes, you can get your pros from its negative and positive value.
All this is already familiar to the players, but Weird West is well intertwined and works well together. And let the whole system be predictable and transparent, the impression of the living world is not bad. But this makes immersive-sim immersive-sim, and the variability and nonlinearity of the passage. This is all right with the game. Any task in the game can be solved in several ways that the player must invent on their own.
For example: you need to take the papers to the farm, where you are told from the doorstep that you are not very happy to see your face here, and the papers can be obtained only through their corpse. What are the player’s options other than the obvious shooting? Steal papers? Maybe they just don’t let you through. You can wait for the night, you can fly on horseback, quickly take the papers and escape into the sunset. And you can ruin the equipment on another farm, get a drop of loyalty and carefully collect the paperwork. And this is just what came to mind during one task.
And yes, just by the way – you are generally free to interact with the world, its inhabitants and using tips in the spirit of “somewhere in the west there is something interesting” to achieve the ultimate goal in the story of a particular character. So yes, there is freedom of action, and the choice of passage depends only on the player.
Each of the main characters in the stories of Weird West can and should be dressed and pumped. With things and equipment everything is more or less simple. There are 5 slots for weapons, clothes and a pair of amulets. Slots are tightly tied to one of the types – melee, bow, revolver, rifle and shotgun. Plus there is a slot for some explosives (dynamite, smoke bombs, explosive mixtures, etc.). All equipment is divided by rarity, and can be improved by ingots with metals in weapons workshops.
With pumping, everything is a little more interesting. The skills of a particular character can be improved with the help of special relics, which the game does not skimp on. But there is a separate branch called “Privileges”. To buy improvements, you need special gold cards, which are not so easy to get, but all the improvements are common to all characters. The more you bite into the world of one hero, the easier it will be to start a story with another. Quite an interesting way to maintain overall progress, taking into account the change of the main actors.
The plot and dialogue in Weird West is something that allows you to close your eyes to any shortcomings of the game. The phrases used by the inhabitants of this world are imbued with a bit of humor and sarcasm, which we expect from those who live in such an unfriendly place. Colorful personalities here are a car and a small cart, because the general color is mixed with the fact that everyone goes crazy in their own way. Some may dream of being eaten by sirens, while others suddenly discover new facets of strong male friendship. Oh, this crazy world.
The story of each character is quite deep and interesting. Of course, the degree of immersion in them depends on the chosen style of passage, but without interesting details and unexpected turns Weird West will not leave you, even if you decide to run through. By the way, even with a cursory pass, each of the stories will take you at least 10 hours, and a full immersion, collecting all the side tasks and exploring places of interest may take a good 30 hours. And so, by the way, these are your stories 5. Absolutely unique and interesting.
And here, it would seem, a great game, literally a gift to all game lovers, with non-linear gameplay, and a pearl for players looking for something new. But here the management comes on the scene. Given the location and angle of the camera, it is logical to expect a turn-based combat system, in the active phase of which you can change the angle of view and assess the situation. But no – all shootings take place in real time, and even in a few tens of hours will cause problems. If you use the gamepad (or play the console first) it may not hurt so much, but to all who use the keyboard and mouse, I express my condolences and wish you strong nerves and patience. But in general, the game is worth it to come to terms with it and learn to live with it.
- Unusual setting.
- Elaborated world.
- An interesting plot.
- Complete freedom of action.
- Nonlinearity of passage.
- Interesting characters.
- Uniformity of random locations.
- Inconvenient camera and controls.
Verdict: Weird West – a great game that belongs to a very rare type of immersive sims, which fans of this “genre” can not miss. Want to try something new? Then this game is perfect for you.