Reviews - Updated on April 16, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Although Deathloop is similar to past Arkane Studios games, there were quite a few among the players who did not like the time loop experiment very much. The shooter can definitely be attributed to the immersive sim genre, but the need to replay the same levels at different times of the day made the game not as atmospheric adventure as Dishonored and the last Prey were. Someone attributed this to the fact that Deathloop was created without the participation of Raphaël Colantonio, the man who acted as the creative director of the best Arkane games.

In 2017, after 18 years of work, he left the company he founded – he said that the creation of high-budget projects turned him into a squeezed lemon, and there was less and less room for creativity. With former producer Arkane, he opened a small studio, WolfEye, where a couple of dozen people worked on the Weird West game. Colantonio’s handwriting is recognizable in it very quickly – if Deathloop didn’t seem “arcaine” enough to you, then you will get great pleasure from this project.

Strange new world

It’s hard to decide where to start with Weird West. Like other representatives of the genre, the game is complex and ambitious – a lot of mechanics are mixed in it. The plot tells about five characters, the history of each of which will be seen as you progress. What unites them is that everyone lives in the Wild West. Rather, in the Weird West. The business is not limited to cowboys, horses and saloons – there are witches, werewolves, and occult rituals are performed by people in hooded overalls.

It all starts with the story of Jane Bell, a bounty hunter who said goodbye to her profession a long time ago, but is forced to take up arms again and go in search of her kidnapped husband. This is only the first character out of five, but his adventure is already filled with events: decisions have to be made, on which the next task sometimes depends, and a rather large part of the map to run around, stumbling upon several strange heroes. The rest of the protagonists are no less interesting – this is a pigman, whom everyone treats as the dregs of society, then an Indian, whose people are based on real Anishinaabe tribes.

Weird West: Review

At least say something good!

But not only the main characters are worthy of attention – the supporting characters are also wonderful. The portraits were drawn by Dishonored artist Cedric Peyravernay, which is already a huge plus, but the dialogues are written (and translated into Russian) brilliantly. A minimum of water and a maximum of information shedding more and more light on a fascinating universe. In addition to the dialogues, there are a lot of all kinds of books, newspapers are published every day with news that you find in someone’s houses, and the characters now and then contact you from a distance.

This makes the world come alive, and the developers have created a large number of variables that the player affects. They destroyed everyone in the city – it will become abandoned, and someone else will come to the place of the dead. Do a lot of bad things – you can become the target of bounty hunters. And if, on the contrary, you help the captives get out of the cages, at some point they will come to the rescue and start shooting at the enemies along with you. Decisions and their consequences are shown in the form of a list at the end of each chapter, that is, when you complete the story of a particular hero. And later, you can recruit these heroes so you don’t have to travel alone.

Weird West: Review

Everyone has their own fantasies.

All this inspires to communicate with everyone and hunt for every small detail. You really want to know more about the local world, so running around exclusively on story missions seems like a crime. The world of Weird West is large, but divided into dozens of small locations, and many of them will be untouched if you pay attention only to key tasks. There are a lot of side effects, sometimes forcing you to travel quite far, portraits of dangerous criminals are constantly hanging on the bulletin boards, for whose capture (or murder) they will be awarded gold. You visit some areas just like that: what if there is something interesting there?

The West has its own rules

The hero does not teleport to the selected zone, but gets to it, so anything can happen to him along the way. Then he will stumble upon a pack of wild wolves, which are not so dangerous. That will get to the ritual with the participation of witches, which suddenly does not go according to plan. Or he will meet a mysterious girl who calls him a passenger and speaks in riddles. Sometimes encounters are especially unexpected and related to your actions. Have you decided to do something crazy? It is possible that they will hold a grudge against you and ambush you. I will not give examples to avoid spoilers, but I personally made sure that this is possible in the game.

Weird West: Review

Individual tasks can be hidden in the menu so that the long list is not annoying.

Muck, of course, you could not do it – it all depends on you. Weird West often offers multiple solutions to a problem. Here is a city in which everyone is hostile and warns that it is better for you not to come across anyone’s eyes. And in the city you need to pick up something according to the plot. If you want, shoot everyone and don’t go back there. If you want, squat down and quietly slip where you need to. Or maybe there is a character, after completing the “side” of which he will put in a good word for you?

It’s like this at every turn. When you go through missions in dangerous regions, where every guard is ready to join the battle, Deus Ex, and Prey, and many other similar games come to mind. If there is a desire to eliminate targets imperceptibly, then you get close to them from behind and cut them down with one click, then dragging the bodies to hell. If you don’t want to touch anyone at all, then this game allows you: jump onto the ledges, quietly pass by the guards, hiding behind the boxes, steal the keys and so on.

Weird West: Review

The horse can be stolen to get to the next location faster. But it’s better to do it when no one is watching.

In one of the episodes, I needed to activate the lever, and it was hidden behind a door with a lock – either look for the key, or use three master keys. He searched the bodies of the killed enemies, found the key, entered the room – and only then noticed that from the other side it was possible to climb into the same place with a couple of jumps. These situations happen all the time, and this is my favorite feature of immersive sim – when after solving the problem you find out that there were other ways.

In addition, the locations are fraught with many secrets. Either you find hidden levers that open doors, or a successful throw of dynamite will open a passage where a unique weapon lies next to a note. Some wells in the towns were also placed for a reason. When, according to the plot, you need to get to the city and just talk to someone, you stay there for the sake of research. You search cupboards and bedside tables, sneak into rooms you can’t stay in unnoticed, but chests beckon. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some kind of basement.

Weird West: Review

The map is strewn with locations, but the places where random events occur are not indicated on it.

There is a point in collecting trash and everything that lies badly. High-quality firearms are mainly bought in the store, but everything else is better to look for in locations. Trinkets, for which buyers give a lot of money, first-aid kits, master keys, ropes, bundles of dynamite and Molotov cocktails – there is a lot of value. Fossilized relics and golden maps are especially important. For the former, you buy abilities for a specific character, the use of which spends energy, and for the latter, you buy passive bonuses that apply to all the main characters. Everything is pretty standard there, but not useless: increased health and damage, increased movement speed, increased jump height, and so on.

under the microscope

The only research-related issue is the camera. There are two modes to choose from: the camera is either high or close to the character. In the first case, even on a large 4K TV, you have to peer to see something – small things, like dynamite and coins on the table, are barely noticeable. With a closer camera, there is a feeling of claustrophobia – you can’t play like that all the time, because you don’t see anything around. Regular switching is tiring, so you get used to the first option and play the only way – by the second chapter, I more or less resigned myself to this.

Weird West: Review

Eyes run wide.

As for cleaning up locations, here the camera does not cause discomfort either during covert passage or in conflicts with shooting. The character carries a pistol, rifle, shotgun and bow, plus you can find explosives and other consumable items. The shooting is standard: with one button we aim, with the other we shoot. But the matter is not limited to this, of course. One of the most interesting features is the ability to feel like Max Payne and shoot while jumping, slowing down time. Never gets bored, but it consumes the same energy that is used for active skills. They are different for everyone: one puts mines, the other poisons the ground and acquires armor.

Using the environment can also be important, especially if there are many opponents. If you shoot a lamp hanging from the ceiling, it will set fire to the ground and a nearby enemy. If the enemy gets wet while chasing you across the river, the electricity will deal a lot of damage to them. Sometimes you plan your actions in advance, but often you have to improvise, escaping from people, spirits or werewolves. It is not uncommon to try to do everything quietly, but one mistake leads to loud gunfights. You can, of course, load the last save and try again, but nothing just works in Weird West – after loading the “save”, the enemies begin to behave in a completely different way and walk along different routes, and the previously sleeping guards may wake up.

This section can be completed in a hundred ways, as well as many others.

In general, I want to talk about the game endlessly, as well as about any high-quality representative of the immersive sim genre. All mechanics work as you would expect once they are explained in the tutorial slides, and thorough research is constantly rewarded. In addition, the game is quite large – and there are many locations, and the main characters are completely different, and there are a lot of random events, and there are enough solutions – if you set out to study everything, spend tens of hours. Add here a wonderful translation into Russian – and you get almost an exemplary release that will brighten up a spring that is not the richest in hits.

Weird West is probably the perfect gift for Arkane Studios fans. The camera spoils the impression a little, but otherwise it is a wonderful immersive sim that meets all expectations from a game of this genre. Deep, large-scale, ambitious and – most importantly – working like clockwork. This is one of those games that you will want to return to more than once and that will remain in your memory for a long time due to how many unforgettable impressions and vivid emotions they leave. Colantonio and his team can only be congratulated on the great debut of the new studio, and Game Pass subscribers with free access to one of the main releases of the year.

Pros: a real immersive sim – with multiple solutions to any problem, an interesting universe and exciting exploration; five stories about completely different characters; a living world in which the player’s actions really affect something; rich opportunities in battles.

Cons: The camera is either too far or too close.

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