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Redfall – Review

We said blood, tomato juice came out

Arkane Studios, with its unique, stylish, and distinctive aesthetic, is the company that I am most excited about. Its own game design tradition, which sustains the Immersive Sim genre, has me enthralled. I am enthusiastic about writing and reviewing each of their titles, I strive to cover 100% of the productions. I use the F5+F9 combination to force each scenario, while looking side-to-side, sweetly. Their passion to try new things in an elegant manner has made me comfortable throughout the years. I am a formal person and tired of the same old things. This is the reason for my intense affection for Deathloop. Some people think it’s inflated. Redfall, as an Arkane enthusiast, disappointed me and I said, in a manner I never thought I would say, “I wish this was the Arkane games we know.”

Redfall is also set in a fictional Massachusetts beach town. The character we select (from the four characters available, Devinder Jacob Layla Remi) is on a ship that has been beached. A vampire stands in front of our character. The vampire in front of us, whose name is Black Sun (which we will discover later), is one the four vampire gods that are our main opponents. As he gives a few speeches, we get the impression that “we’ll probably be useful to you in some way”, and then he leaves without giving us the 1 liter of Dimes tomatoes juice that was on our mind. We see the waves of sea rising and freezing around the town, the sun getting darker, and that Redfall is now occupied by vampires as we exit the ship. You’ll love the open world if you are an Arkane fan like myself. Our first stop is at the fire station nearby. Our adventure begins after saving the locals from the fanatics, making the building functional, and resolving the problem. We then begin our real investigation into what is going on, what happened with Redfall and what we can do to help.

At this first encounter, the game is quite good and owes much to its world. I wasn’t expecting much in terms of visuals, since I compared Redfall with Hope County. This is my least favorite Far Cry environment. I love vampire stories that are set in American provinces, such as I am Legend or Salem’s Lot. Redfall seemed to have a high level of narrative potential in that context. The situation wasn’t quite as I had expected. I noticed that each place in the town was designed with Arkane-quality, and meticulously marked on the map. They also contained their own stories, which gave them an individuality, just like usual for environmental storytelling. This initially gave the world of game an authentic, handcrafted feel. The crazy designs in the psychic areas, especially on the second map where the vampire invasion is starting to affect the environment and the maps are bigger, have caused the game’s visuals to surpass my expectations. The town of Redfall is a beautiful place, but it’s sadly empty of Dishonored Dunwall and Prey Talos I. As in Deathloop there are no people to talk to and as soon as your leave the fire station that is your base of operations, all conscious creatures will want to kill. The bellwether soldiers will fight you, as well as the fanatics that worship the vampire gods and the vampires.

Where are these people?

In Deathloop, this “everyone on the playground is an enemy” strategy worked because we interfered with the Black Reef’s way of life just as certain politicians interfered with ours. It was understandable why everyone was hostile to us. It doesn’t work in Redfall because we’re fighting to save a city that is struggling to survive the so-called “vampire invasion”. Where are the others survivors besides those who gave us an order at headquarters? Who are these vampires grabbing at straws if they aren’t attacking the fanatics? What public is the radio announcer addressing in his shows? Answer is a large red question mark with a black background.

Even though I say that Redfall is “just like Fallout 76”, the game does not even contain the same sound recordings. In games like Prey and Bioshock, the post-nuclear West Virginia in the hand feels more alive. Arkane merely scattered notes, diary entries and book sections. You could say “Hey, bro, that’s Arkane style, so why are you complaining?” Except for the main missions we can listen to the psychic echos of one important character whenever we find the 100 hair strands in the game called Grave Lock. Even if the vocalizations are short, 1-2 sentences long, they do not say anything so interesting that you would want to collect all 100. The same thing is said, about the cruelties of the vampire gods and what happened to characters and towns. Grave Locks passive bonuses are meaningless and only increase with each 10 collected. You can’t keep them all. As far as I could tell, there was no way to locate them in the game and their reward is very small. The deadness of the game world did not encourage me to collect Grave Locks as I explored the gourd.

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If this game can be played with friends or alone, is it logical that it builds its world using written texts? Friends, do you read notes with your partner when playing a game? Do you ever consider a vampire percussion club? Do you want to run around and fight back and forth like a mad cow? The conversations could have been recorded and played back automatically in Co-op, so as not to interfere with the voice communication that we establish with our friends. As I had feared, the “Arkane style storytelling” was a major factor in a multiplayer game.

You may have seen the four greatest enemies before, but…

The script’s achievements are not impressive. We conduct our relationships with all characters in the main HQ, even if we only have two words for them. In the mission entries, we try to be sucked in and gassed by static cutscenes using models from the game instead of drawings. In these scenes, characters will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our character, and make the pose of “get together, let’s go” and then send us to the door. They do not leave the room and they don’t help us at all. As part of the Arkane tradition, those who are incredibly faint will also experience something as they play through the game. Some of them become vampires or die, others turn out to be a traitor, etc.

The open world map doesn’t bring the friends on stage at the right time, like the old Arkane bottleneck games did. The game’s main plot revolves around four villains that turn into vampire gods through their evil spirits and greed and cause weed to be sprayed on the townspeople. He has not achieved much here, either. Instead of being described in three-dimensional terms, the characters are cardboard villains who are portrayed by 1-2 villains and enable them to be a part of the beginning of vampire invasion. When you open their lair door and fill these friends’ skulls with “Vampire Underboss”, from generic open-world quests, the game is over. You forget the game 10 minutes after you played it.

Lead and Booty

It is beautiful for all of the reasons that I have mentioned, but the content is meaningless and empty. Arkane did not manage to create the evolution necessary for its unique episode design and storytelling techniques to shine in an open world. How is the gameplay? The weapon dynamics and accuracy are excellent. Recoil is good. A sound effect is added to the bullets that finish the enemy’s job. And the pleasure centers in our brains get a little tickled when we see the carcasses. The final blow is to stab them in the heart. This has a great effect and does not fade even after many hours. The positives end here. The weapon selection is not functionally diverse enough to support such a game. At first glance, they appear to be plentiful, with different types of models in each of the titles: shotguns and sniper-rifles, pistols and assault rifles. There are also pickaxes, UV guns, flare guns, and ultraviolet guns. These are not enough, as the game is a “looter”.

Deathloop’s loot system was very bland, but this didn’t affect the game much, as the progress wasn’t dependent on the weapons or the level system. Redfall has a similar loot system, but your power-up is entirely dependent upon your weapons and level. You will eventually find that the new weapons are no longer exciting and fun to use, as you’re constantly changing them out with the same ones. Legendary weapons are limited to the number of hands on each hand. They all have the same functionality as non-Legendary weapon classes. You found a shotgun that could be turned into a long range rifle by clicking on it in Deathloop? Was it possible to combine two pistols and convert them into a submachine weapon? Redfall has wind blowing instead of Arkane demons. The stats on the weapons do not go far enough to create a style of gameplay around them.

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There’s also a little but annoying problem: there are only three weapon slots. Redfall requires that you use different weapons to accomplish different tasks. We have a limited ammo supply, so we can’t use the Ultraviolet Ray weapon to petrify vampires or kill creatures emitting Red Mist. Instead, we must switch to normal firearms. This also means we can’t use stakes that are meant to be hidden from the vampires, as their ammunition is limited. We can’t use the janjan. Is there a way to do this? “Nevermind the Janjan. Let me choose three weapons and use them comfortably, is that not the answer?” You should use your skill points to increase ammo instead of improving special abilities, if you think so. It is absurd to increase ammo with skill points, which aren’t even enough for you to develop two skills in the entire game.

As for special powers, our characters’ powers are also disappointingly lacking compared to previous Arkane titles. One of the main reasons I enjoy Arkane is the ability to have all kinds of fancy abilities at my fingertips, and to combine them with other equipment/powers. I remember the days where we would stop time, grab the enemy’s corpse and march in front of his own bullet. Deathloop did not have this problem because of the multiplayer element. Due to the online structure, we had to limit our character’s power number to a minimum in order to use them comfortably. A “Weapon Wheel”, which stopped time, could not be used. We had to pick only two powers out of many, but we were able to change them between episodes. This, along with the loop that resets the playing field each day, allowed us to experiment.

In Redfall, every character has three powers. One of these is the Ultimate power, which can take a while to fill and we don’t get to use it often. The other two abilities are not directly helpful in battle. Remi uses his robot to draw the enemy’s attention, Jacob marks the location with his raven and Devinder can teleport there. Layla also creates a psychic lift that allows her and her team members to jump higher. For the 80% of gameplay that is battle, each character has only one remaining skill: Devinder throws a spear which emits electricity when it hits the ground, Jacob turns invisible, Layla creates a psychic umbrella that can bounce off bullets, and Remi tosses a C4 bomb. We don’t get to enjoy the Arkane-style creative powers that we love. The enemy types are not varied enough to accomplish this task.

We’re running here and there, but where is the prize?

We can only level up our characters in Redfall by gaining experience. The majority of experience points are gained by completing simple quests. Leveling up is much slower when you hunt enemies than if you complete very easy quests. The overall experience is dull because there’s no link between character development and the exploration in the game. I’ll give you an example of a previous Arkane game. Exploring large maps in Dishonored, for example, rewarded players in multiple ways. We could expand the world by adding story fragments. We could also strengthen our character’s gear with money-source objects collected in the environment. And we could invest in supernatural abilities with runes and other talismans found in appropriate places. Exploring Prey allows us to learn about the story through audio recordings, notes and what took place in Talon I. We can also generate ammo or Neuromods from the items that we collect.

Redfall’s content is shallow because it lacks the interplay between environmental storytelling and character growth. Exploration rewards are meager, as the loot is boring and the items are not exciting. Second, even though the “money system”, which is the same as in Dishonored is the exact same, the money is not of much value to the players because the system where the tools, valuables and house needs are categorized is different. You can purchase supplies by using the Supply Points you find. The fact that the money you can earn per venue/section/mission is not limited and you always earn more than you need does not make sense. While collecting gold, silver, and insatiable coins, paintings, sculptures in Dishonored you can also pocket the bleach, battery, wrench etc.

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You can see that the open-world formula adds nothing to the game and the online system detracts from it. Does it earn a profit from gaining experience through other parties? My answer is unfortunately no. In order to win over Arkane’s nerdy fans, it was claimed that playing the same player repeatedly during the promotional process wouldn’t detract the experience. I asked the producers in an interview before the release of the game if the game had a system to encourage group play. I was told that they didn’t want any content hidden behind the Co-Op barriers. The game’s treatment of Co-op as the stepchild was not what I expected. The game does not even have a matching system for players! Bethesda.net requires you to add people that will be playing with. No Drop-In Drop-Out (to drip next to a friend in the game) is available in the game? In the same interview, I asked specifically if Drop-In Drop-Out was available in the game. They said, “Yes, there is”, without any deception. In the latest version, however, you must exit the game to return to the main screen in order to invite someone else to join. The game’s Crossplay feature is also broken. We were able to play the game for two players with Gulhis, since Bethesda Turkey had provided us two Steam codes. When I went to meet up with friends that had played Xbox Gamepass the previous day, I was unable to enter their games. They couldn’t access my game when I installed it. What was the point in giving up all that makes an Arkane Game an Arkane Game just to make it Co-op?

Friends, let’s look at the technical side. Like all major productions, except for the recently released Resident Evil 4 Remake (which is also broken), the PC port of Redfall has a lot of issues. The settings in the Unreal Engine version of the game are limited. We can only change the texture quality, the shadows, the vegetation and the drawing distance. But this isn’t the problem. The game is to blame for the inability to maintain 60 FPS on my RTX graphics card at 1440p. Sometimes, even when there was no particle effect or fire, the FPS dropped. When I checked the GPU and CPU usage in MSI Afterburner (both total and core/thread), I noticed that neither of them were at maximum. The graphics card was not using 40%, and the processor was only using 60%. The art design of the game ensures that even if the graphics are good, they won’t force the system. It’s even more interesting that in games with Ray Tracing, RTX can perform in ways it shouldn’t. Redfall, however, does not have Ray Tracing. The scandal is directly related to the game’s performance in rasterization. When it was announced the game would only come with 4K 30 FPS quality mode for consoles I immediately thought of Gotham Knights. And at this point, we both have confirmed that not having 60 FPS on new generation consoles is not a great sign. The game is technically very good. First, the downloads go smoothly and are short. Second, the game is compatible with Intel Xess and FSR 2.0, as well as Nvidia’s DLSS and Reflex technologies.

Redfall is not a game I can recommend buying at full price. If you’re not an Arkane enthusiast, you should not buy it unless you have Game Pass. I’m not sure if Arkane’s on his way to trying new things, or if this game is a result from pressure. I respect the efforts I’ve seen, but it doesn’t seem to have evolved enough at any point in the game where it departs from the traditional Arkane designs. The score below is for the excellent art design and heavy weaponry.

 

Redfall - Review

Not Good! - 5.8

5.8

I Do Not Recommend!

Redfall shows that Arkane Studios' familiar design habits do not fit with open world formulas, particularly when raw online elements are at play. It's Arkane Studios worst game.

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Ayşe Gül_

Ayse is an actress who writes reviews for the Games.

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