WEST OF DEAD: REVIEW
Today there is a holiday with the smell of gunpowder, tobacco and whiskey on the streets, in bar and hot prairies fans of westerns -just a couple of weeks after the release of Desperados III, a stylish action game West of Dead, where the main character was voiced by Ron Perlman, the famous Hellboy and the voice of the narrator from Fallout. Here is dead, and the action takes place in purgatory.
The skull is returned.
Yes, West of Dead can be attributed to the genre of a mystical Western, and the game looks like a comic book Mike Mignola (Mike Mignola) about Hellboy, so the participation of Ron Perlman is not accidental. So, 1888, the state of Wyoming — this is where, according to the writers, is the city —misery, where each time after death, the first unnamed main character gets. Who he is, where the name, why did he die and who killed him, what’s he doing that now turned into a scary murderer with a shotgun, a pistol and a flaming skull on his shoulders? At first, neither we nor the character know the answers. And only as you go through and crack down on the bosses begin to emerge pieces of information that should eventually add up — in any case, we are waiting for it and hope for it.
Jogging along purgatory.
This intrigue is one of the reasons why you want to play West of Dead again and again, but it is certainly not the main one. This, as I said, is not too hard, so the first place here is not the plot, but the gameplay, battles, pumping, selection of increasingly cool equipment and artifacts. It looks like this. Each time we start in a dark and gloomy bar, from where we make a race through even darker and darker corridors, more or less closed rooms, over cornfields or, again, snow-covered fields. So we run from the entrance to the exit, fighting, winning and periodically bumping into something useful – a chest with new weapons; an altar that increases either health and damage, or reload speed and efficiency. The main character speaks the language of Noir films and books, and in this case it does not look like a parody. Abilities are actually additional weapons and activated items. Skills are used by pressing buttons and have a “rollback”. There are throwing knives, dynamite, flashlights, agility modifiers that increase the reload speed, various types of freezing, stun and other blades that are very useful. There are also artifacts with passive effects-for example, they heal the hero when using a shelter. All this can be found or purchased from a merchant, who also periodically comes across on the levels. It accepts iron for payment – it is the metal (and not, let’s say, the soul) that somehow falls out of the dead enemies.
Drop dead or die.
When we reach the exit point, we go to the next stage, where both the surroundings and the composition of the enemies change, which become stronger. And so-several times, until we get to the next meeting with the boss. Defeated him – the chapter is over. Watch the video and go to the next one. Died there? Please start all over again!
After death in West of Dead, you don’t have to run back to your grave to collect the hard-earned resources. You start your journey again, collect iron again, find or buy weapons, abilities, and artifacts, and re-level on altars. But this does not mean that progress is reset and not saved in any way. The fact is that during each race, we also gather crime points. And during the transition from one stage to another, we get to a safe zone where you can not only restore health and a supply of healing bottles (they work in approximately the same way as Estus), but also spend the sins of the witch. And there is something to spend — we will permanently unlock new types of weapons and equipment. It is issued right now, and in the next playthroughs it will appear on the levels or at the merchant. In addition, for sins, you can increase the amount and effectiveness of the healing liquid and open artifacts with very cool effects like restoring health or instant recharge for each kill. The game remembers how many sins you put into opening a particular thing. And if there are not enough of them yet, this does not mean that everything will be reset in the next race — no, you will only have to pay exactly the difference that remained after the previous pass.
But this exciting games with weapons, abilities, artifacts and sins is not the main thing that is cool in West of Dead. The main thing is the gunfights. It seems like simple shootings with the use of shelters. Another question is how it is done — and this is pure delight. Our hero very deftly, quickly, gently, effectively and effectively flows between shelters, on the move shooting and applying abilities. It really looks very dynamic. But it’s not easy to survive. The enemies are always different — some come closer, ignoring the shelter, others are aimed at firing from afar. They also shoot at the stone sticks behind which we are hiding, and soon our shelters are destroyed. That’s why you have to rush between them. There are also such bastards who are not afraid of ordinary damages.
Meanwhile, both of our main weapons must be reloaded. Each has a different number of cartridges, plus there are rifles that hit harder and more accurately, but only if you aim properly. And while we aim, the hero gets up from behind cover and becomes vulnerable. Moreover, it can only aim, hit and deal decent damage in the light — and the levels here are usually dark. You have to retreat to the light sources, throw your own lanterns at the enemies, or quickly jump to the lamps and turn them on — this not only illuminates everything in a certain distance, but also temporarily blinds the opponents.
The art of killing and survival.
To survive (and the further you go, the more difficult it is, of course), you need to take all this into account, avoid it in time, and use all the opportunities correctly. Very often the question arises, which is better-a powerful shotgun with the effect of bleeding, which is slowly reloaded, or a more roomy rifle with the effect of freezing. Or a fast gun, where every fifth shot deals critical damage. But only two guns are allowed to carry…
What kind of equipment open for your sins? Yes, guns and artifacts “randomly” appear on the levels and at the merchant, but it is we who decide what to buy and what equipment to open from the witch. So success here depends more on the player than on chance.
And that’s when you enter into a rage, feel the rhythm and you have a cool outfit, the battles start to feel about same way as the shooting in Max Payne. Fortunately, with successful avoidance, “slow-mo” is also periodically activated here. And, of course, it is especially important to apply all this correctly in fights with bosses.
Yes, you can make some claims to the dirty picture (although “live” everything looks better), to the management and to the fact that the character sometimes gets stuck in the objects of the environment or even passes/shoots through them. But all this is not that much spoils the impression of West of Dead. We really haven’t experienced such pleasure from gunshooting for a long time – and this is more than enough to praise the authors.
Pros: an intriguing story; a charismatic hero; exciting gameplay; shooting brings great fun; excellent work with sound.
Cons: the picture is stylish, but still some kind of untidy, or something; not everything and not always okay with the management, especially in close combat; there are technical flaws.
- Year: 2020
- Developer: Upstream Arcade