The most fascinating aspect of Weird WestThe design of is how friendly the game is for my bullshit. Have you ever said to yourself, “I would like to play from top to bottom Dishonored game, but like a western? Say no more. Even if it’s not a thought you’ve ever had, you should think about it. Weird Westwhich released today for PC, Xbox, and PS4, features spooky world-building, dynamic environment-based combat, and the sleekest art I’ve seen in recent memory.
After playing the first few hours, the writing in this dark frontier feels so specific, but leaves enough secrets untold for me to dig deeper. WolfEye Studios understands that a good horror story isn’t meant to repel, but to entice audiences. Despite its ambitious lore, the horrors of the game are so perfectly intimate, and I can’t wait to waste countless more evenings roaming its wilderness. Weird West already made my shortlist for GotY.
far west is an immersive top-down simulation inspired in part by Ultimate VII and Ultimate Underworld. Immersive sims are games, the most famous Deus Ex– which use system-driven design to facilitate open-ended gaming solutions. In other words, they ensure that their worlds and the objects they contain behave realistically, which the player can then use to engage in creative problem solving. in a well-done immersive simulation, the detailed and natural interactions that emerge can surprise even designers. WolfEye Studios’ new game is unique in its move away from the first-person perspective, but it’s nonetheless a game based on reactive systems, a new branch of the family tree descended from Looking Glass, Ion Storm. , then Arkane.
While the comic book-based art style looks a lot like Borderlandsthe environments of Weird West feel much more dynamic. The top-down perspective reinforces the feeling that enemies can hit you from anywhere. Even if no one is chasing you, the game sometimes besieges you with random hazards like dust tornadoes. You’re not even safe when exploring its world map, where you’re constantly harassed by belligerent outlaws, hungry wildlife, or gruesome monsters. These encounters are often so unexpected that I have been happy to simply survive them.
My gratitude after an ambush was short-lived, as the game “rewarded” me for not killing everyone immediately by revealing that the surviving gang member held a grudge and would ambush me later.
Weird West also immerses you in realism by assigning expiration dates to quests. So when I planned trips, I had to balance the risk of running out of supplies against the reward of meeting a bounty deadline. Sure, I could restore my health by sleeping in a bed, but then I’d be eight hours late. Or if I took the easy way out of a quest, my reputation might suffer for unscrupulous behavior, and vital supplies would cost more as a result. Consequences? In my video game? It’s more likely than you think.
Every card I’ve come across is unique and beautifully designed. It’s both delightful and frustrating not being able to anticipate where enemies or loot are hidden. This meant I had to carefully observe my surroundings instead of relying on my gaming instincts. The game rewards you for your attention and punishes you for sneaking in with weapons in hand.
Weird West looks like an isometric RPG, but is an immersive simulation at its core. As I dashed around each map for cover, I constantly kept an eye out for any edible cacti or flammable gas lamps I could shoot. Health-restoring water barrels would refill during random rains, and constantly being aware of these ever-changing factors could be the difference between clearing a map or annihilating.
My only small mercy was that the enemy AI wasn’t very smart. While I can forgive them for having fairly predictable routines, enemies would occasionally run into fiery hazards or get stuck in a doorway. Shooting them down was much less satisfying as a result. Unfortunately, my companions were also unintelligent: if I crossed the maps too quickly, they would be left behind. Sometimes they would just stand in open spaces while enemies fired at them.
However, my main complaint is that the game never provided enough bullets to warrant the use of special firearm abilities. Ammo scarcity is a realistic world-building touch, but also somewhat annoying. Sure, I could clear an entire chamber to use one of my pistol abilities, but that would mean leaving myself exposed for the next surprise encounter. Shooting enemies stealthily was much cheaper. The bullet economy inadvertently caused me to play conservatively in a genre known for gameplay experimentation.
Despite the constraints on gun capabilities, this action-RPG allows for relatively flexible playstyles. Whether you want to stealthily assassinate your enemies, run and shoot, or shoot oil drums from afar, Weird West will welcome you. Perhaps due to perspective, the game doesn’t have the same environmental responsiveness compared to Dishonoredbut the inspiration is clearly there.
It’s a game that doesn’t shy away from punishing me, but we embraced it afterwards. I’m a gamer who reloads a lot for high impact games. In this game, I only had to do it when I died. Your companions may die during firefights, but the systems-driven nature of party building made me feel safe that I would always find new friends along the way. I found this approach much healthier than what you see in many other companion-based games, where allowing a companion to die is presented as a player’s flaw. I was also surprised to learn that locations regenerate their populations over time. Even after slaughtering an enemy faction in town, a new one will eventually take hold. It’s a simple yet smart way to fix the common game issue of annoying empty settings after a player has slaughtered everyone.
Despite the failures of the AI, the first hours of Weird West feel like a milestone achievement in the immersive sims genre. There’s no shortage of scripted story content, but the game systems also tell a uniquely generated story that feels incredibly personal. Weird West is a game I can see myself playing again for years to come.