Sunday, April 01, 2012

GUN

Yeeeeehaw! Coulda been better, though...but not bad at all!
Review By Mima
Alright, so I heard a few good things and a few bad things about GUN. Well, my curiosity and obsessions got a hold of me and I just had to go out and buy this game. At first, I thought I'd be disappointed, but was actually pretty impressed, for the most part.

GRAPHICS: The world itself is like you took the scenery and towns of a western right out of the movies. It's just perfect. You've got a ranch, a quaint town, a more advanced down, streams, horses, mines, railroad tracks, and most everything you can imagine in a western setting. It all looked quite attractive. The townsfolk, however, were pretty unappealing, while the few important characters had an above average amount of work put into them. I could've sworn I saw someone's ear get cut off and be unharmed later, but I could be mistaken. The biggest drawback, though, were the enemies, as far as graphics are concerned. Aside from the "bosses" and important enemies, the average bad guys didn't look as good as the enemies in Far Cry or Half Life 2. They seemed like they didn't belong in the game, aside from being dressed in western wear. Nevertheless, despite its drawbacks, the game is nice to look at with a below average number of blemishes.

SOUND: Awesome. This was the pinnacle of this game. The voice acting and sound effects rocked my socks. It actually sounds like a western. From horse hooves hitting the ground to the Indian war-cries to the bumpkin voices, this was just too great. No complaints...only praise. I believe every game should try to strive to have as good a sound effects as GUN has.

MUSIC: Wowzers...yet again, I'm awestruck. I don't even like western music and I LOVED the music in this game! I can't really describe music, but it's what a western SHOULD sound like. Very few games can impress me, musically, and GUN did it, and with a type of music I normally could care less about, too!

STORY: Sadly, the good scores can't keep going. The story of this game starts you out as a hunter/trapper for a steamboat in the wild west. The plot begins to unfold nicely as your father, Ned, is overran by "savages" and you are thrown overboard. You go on and meet new people, but very rarely. The cut scenes are very well done and keep you entertained at all times. Unfortunately, once you finish a couple of missions and do some of the side quests, you won't really feel like your character has a reason to be doing them. Sure, you'll get stronger from doing them, but your character is just wanting to get vengeance for the death of his father, and he doesn't act like he's willing to wait around. 

Sure, vengeance is a dish best served cold, but your character is rather "agitated" about this, making any hesitation to get his revenge seem unnatural. While some of the quests have some mild or good character interaction, you'll frequently find yourself doing quests that don't involve anything plot-wise and just end up feeling like a means of stretching the game's already very short story-line out. As far as the main plot goes, you will have friends and/or family members die around you, and you will have no control whatsoever over this. While it may be a necessary plot element, such as your father's death at the beginning of the game, it has become acceptable and highly desirable to have a storyline where you can actually have an impact and change things. 

This game feels like it could have really done with some alternate endings or alternate events due to things you change. On a final note, the game sinfully defies the age-old tradition of "If you didn't see them die...they're still alive." When your father dies, you do not see him die. It SEEMS like he could have died, but it leaves those of us who really like to root for characters we like despite all odds feeling rather betrayed. If you show them die, then so be it...but once you conceal a death from our eyes, ears, etc., the developer must realize that we expect that person to return, and when they do not, it leaves an empty feeling like your least favorite relative tugged out your heart with an ice cream scoop. Lastly, the "revelation" of the game not only blatantly rips off a latter part of Indiana Jones, but the conclusion is also only a minute or so long, and does not even show what happens at the end aside from the blatantly obvious. In other words, what the heck happened to the classic western ending? The writers/developers already HAVE a formula for endings of westerns due to the myriad of westerns already in existence, and they still live up to the classic garbage game ending. Seriously...what is up with almost all games having crappy endings? On the bright side...at LEAST the story makes sense, for the most part. Moving on...

GAMEPLAY: A pretty average-to-low score, but the game is actually pretty fun. Unfortunately, once you realize that it repeats itself over and over, only featuring a very short main set of missions, the fun generally fades away. The enemies start out fairly challenging. The game's difficulty is, however, helped by the fact that you can purchase upgrades with the money you make from doing side quests and also get stat boosts from doing those side quests. This gives the game a nice little RPG element. If this game didn't have the stat system and the buyable upgrades, the gameplay would get more along the lines of a 7/20. What's best about the missions and side quests in the game is that the compass actually gives you a general idea of where to go and the top of the screen will give you a little bar that tells you your current objective and gives you hints for your current situation. 

Unfortunately, the bar, while very clever, also has its drawbacks. You see, while it DOES tell you very vital information, it can, at times, NOT give you that information for an unforgivable amount of time. For instance, you can be fighting a group of enemies or a boss, and there can be a way to beat them that you HAVE to do, and it's pretty much something you would never dream of doing unless you had read the bar at the top of the screen...and it can take from 30 seconds to a minute to actually tell you what you REALLY need to do, which can be long enough for you to fail the mission, easily. 

Another thing that they did involving the side quests was that you could play Texas Hold'em, which was a real blast, as you could even cheat (in-game, as an element, not with a code or exploit) and have to clean out everyone at the tables' chips. Whenever you finish that quest, however, you CANNOT play the game again until you get another poker quest, meaning once you finish them all, you can't play anymore. I may be the only person who'd like to sit around n' play cards, but nevertheless, it wouldn't have cost them anything to just leave the card game active. Anyway, the game, while enjoyable, just feels like it could have been so much more. The whole free-roaming aspect is great, but not played on enough; not to mention they could have added in an outlaw gaming scenario in which you work FOR the bad guys or some such. It would've added something to fill the hole that you're left feeling inside after completing the game. In other words, if you find pretty much everything, there's no real reason to play through the game again. It's fun, but only for so long.

OVERALL: This game IS good. It's not excellent or supreme or just absolutely to die for, but it really does a good job of bringing forth a genre not often touched in the gaming world...well...a FEW western games exist, but very few have come out for the PC. If you're a console owner, rent this before you buy it. If you're a PC owner, see if you have any friends who own the game or have it for a console and watch them play or see if they'll let you play. If none of those options are available to you, I'd still advise you to BUY this game...however, NOT at its current price. If you find it for $19.99 or less, pick it up. Otherwise, you'll likely be disappointed. Thanks for reading, I'm gonna mosey off now.

NAME: GUN
SYSTEM: PC, Nintendo Game Cube, XBOX, XBOX 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable

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