red drop | Review – GameOver

By | May 9, 2023

Finally Arkane managed to break his streak, a streak of quality that had been maintained since the Arx Fatalis of 2002 until death loop of 2021. A series of titles brimming with style, tradition and well-worked gameplay came to an end and not with a certain mediocrity but with a resounding failure, no matter how you look at it. Even from the first few minutes of gameplay, it’s hard to understand that this game was developed by the same team (Arkane Austin) that brought us the excellent Preyeven with Harvey Smith at the helm, responsible for the dishonorincluding.

How does an Arkane that plunged us into the world of Deathloop and (especially) Prey through neatly staged intro levels deliver some of the most awkward first few minutes we’ve seen in a supposed AAA intro? Through static sketches we learn that vampires have appeared in the city of Redfall and during the attempt of some survivors, including the protagonists, to escape with a ship, it is destroyed, giving us “dry” control of our character.

After this abrupt scene, an “archivvampire” finds us half unconscious, telling us that for unspecified reasons he won’t kill us but will keep us alive to use us. The interesting thing is that this first meeting and this mysterious line do not play any special role in the sequel, especially considering that the villains are conspicuous by their absence. The scenes that follow in the rest of the game are rendered via static 3D images, without any visual care, as if they were some regular scene shots that never materialized. Of course, it doesn’t help that the information that emerges from these scenes itself is uninteresting and superficial, to say the least.

Impressively negative are the first impressions that are formed after the liberation of the fire station, a -theoretically- nerve base that is a refuge for survivors and a base for our protagonist. After the release, the scene that follows is an unacceptable splicing of images without the slightest dialogue, without the slightest introduction to the main characters. There is no reason to indulge in the creation of vampires, “products” of a voracious pharmaceutical, when the writers themselves seem bored with this script idea.

The so-called environmental narrative that was a trademark of Arkane’s previous creations is a walkthrough, with the American city setting trying to barely give nuggets of specificity to the internal environments (for the external ones not a word, apart from a few meteor waves we see at the entry level).

More or less, Redfall seems to have been developed with the action as its lynchpin, with all the other pieces acting as a mere “carpet”, i.e. a pretext and battlefield for the unstoppable pistol (yes, they also showed stealth). in some presentations, but let’s just say that the game is in no way made for this approach). The point is, of course, that the situation in the field of action is deeply problematic and outdated.

A difference from the usual FPS comes with the introduction of vampires as enemies, which are quite durable, have many metaphysical powers, and all of them must be impaled to be completely exterminated. In another game, with a better implementation, they might add some nice variety to the gameplay, but in this case they can’t change the negative feeling that Redfall exudes.

The feel of the weapons is simply pleasant, without being anything special and without standing out from dozens of other large and small productions of the genre. There are some imaginative additions, like the weapon that throws wooden stakes, perfect for critically hitting vampires, or the flamethrower weapon that emits UAV beams capable of burning vampires, but they aren’t enough to significantly enrich the gameplay. From there, in the conventional team we find the usual suspects, without much variety.

Since Redfall tends to venture into the looter realm (although at least it doesn’t follow GaaS tactics), weapons come with their own levels and color tags, indicating their rarity, following the path of the genre. On this point, it lags significantly behind the competition if we consider that there is no trace of customization, e.g. different scopes, chargers, triggers, etc., given items, that is, in similar cases of games.

Of course, where an even bigger problem lies is in the mission design, another area where it feels like another Arkane made the game. The level design gives the impression that Redfall is the company’s first game, as there is no point in the imagination we saw in Dishonored 2, through some masterful levels or the maze-like and clever composition of Talos from Prey or the aesthetic art deco and fantasy. Deathloop buildings led to the creation of such an indifferent battlefield.

The agility of the protagonists of the aforementioned games is night and day compared to the very conventional Redfall tour, going through the total lack of imagination in the special powers and the more typical/boring platforming that makes Far Cry look like metamorphosis from Prince of Persia. The level design where the various missions take place lacks the slightest imagination, and how could it be lacking when the most imaginative part of the walkthrough is the telegraphed climbing onto a balcony to enter a house instead of using the locked front door.

The city of Redfall (divided into two maps) has nothing to offer other than an empty environment, with no notable points of interest, no reason to deviate from the main objectives of exploration. The journey becomes simply tedious, requiring in several places to walk for a long time to the next objective without being able to justify the existence of this “empty” space.

The above doesn’t help problem quests, whether we’re talking about main or side quests. The structure of the side missions becomes hopelessly predictable from the start. It’s not long before their requests start to repeat themselves (dismantling large wooden statues over and over again, destroying cursed tree roots, etc.), which in turn suggests the open world’s lack of substance.

The situation does not improve much in the main missions, which are dedicated to looking for requests or simply clearing areas of enemies, being indifferent to any script dressing and rendering in the most outdated and poorly done way. Another problem that arises from this situation is that the areas where the missions take place have nothing special to offer, either as a battlefield or in terms of navigation. It is something that by extension leads to a completely flat development where there are no fluctuations and spikes. The few bosses are themselves merely procedural and instead of being a highlight, they end up emphasizing the problematic nature of the game.

To all of the above, we should add the bad AI of the common enemies (that is, those that are armed with conventional equipment), going back many years. Their behavior is unnatural in the vast majority, seeing them sometimes simply standing motionless in front of our fire, other times passing in front of us to take cover in irrelevant positions or without being able to perceive where the shots are coming from.

It’s another area where Arkane has excelled in the past through the behavior of the enemies in Dishonored and the idiosyncrasy of the alien organisms in Prey, making the poor state of things all the more concerning in this case. Of course, the same was true of Deathloop, but there at least the game focused on other areas, unlike Redfall, where the action is the main component of the experience. The Vampires’ AI is relatively better, but it’s arguably favored by their melee nature, which means their behavior is simpler, as they just rush at us. However, there is no shortage of cases where you will see them stalling or failing in their efforts inexplicably.

The whole is closed by the unacceptable visual field, which seems to transport us to the first era of the last generation, if not worse. It’s another area where it seems to have done a subpar job compared to previous Arkane titles, as both Deathloop and Prey were clearly more appealing on a purely technical level. Here the surfaces look low-res and insufficiently detailed, while the lighting is simply indifferent and in no way capable of building the required atmosphere that should emerge from the subject.

The outdated technical field raises questions about the limitation to 30fps on both Series S and Series X. To be sure, in a game that requires fast-paced action and a first-person perspective, 30fps hurts the experience, as much as one could. get used to, someone after some time.

But the main thing is that visually it offers nothing at all to justify this limitation and it is clearly a strange choice on Microsoft’s part to allow this situation, which of course works negatively for the issue of console power, regardless of whether it is not their fault. from the console itself console “horsepower” for the result. Of course, we should mention here that for the needs of the review, the writer saw the overwhelmingly greater part of Redfall on PC, where in singleplayer the situation was much smoother at 60fps.

Speaking of single player, it must be said that at least in this area Arkane’s statements were honest in that the game seems to have been developed with the logic that it can be played as a single player without any problem. Certainly, at no time did we feel that the rest of the players were missing from our experience. On the other hand, the cooperative did not change the title estimate. The reality is that such a bad game will persist no matter how many players seek help.

Coming to the end of the text, we must point out that the game is currently plagued with various technical issues, from simple pop-ups to UI glitches that make it difficult to navigate through the menus. Of course, we must emphasize that Redfall’s problem is anything but technical problems.

While these glitches clearly shouldn’t have been around from day one, even up to this point, especially in a game developed by a console incumbent like Microsoft, the truth is that these issues are ultimately the last thing you’d expect. The company thinks about the quality of the game. And technically flawless, the point is that Redfall is a completely boring and unbearably standard FPS, with an outdated technical field that should have absolutely no place on Arkane’s resume or even on Microsoft’s lineup as its own title.

Something similar happened with the case of Remedy’s CrossfireX, albeit with the relief that the contract label was seen from miles away, at the same time that it seemed like a side project between Control, Alan Wake 2 and other more ambitious creations that are in the works. process. Not that this is an excuse, but ultimately it’s an interpretation of why the quality was poor. In this case, on a project that Arkane Austin apparently chose as a primary focus, the end result is disappointing and worrying.

He red drop on sale 5/2/23 for PC and Xbox Series. Our review was based on its PC version, with a review code we received from AVE.

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