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Redfall Review

Redfall Review

Redfall is an open-world FPS that drops you in the titular town as it's being taken over by vampires, and it is up to you — alone or with a group of friends — to fight back.

The game starts off by making a huge mistake: not explaining how you should play through it; more on that later. It begins simply, as you get to choose from four characters — two girls, two guys, and plenty of racial representation — and then you get dropped into the intro, where you get an overview of what's happened. Afterwards, you're pretty much free to grab a gun and go off anywhere in the town.

Whilst the narrative is quite an interesting one, there are two downfalls to it: firstly, it's a story that you have to piece together through sometimes vague scenes — which left me unsure if I had even understood parts of it properly — and secondly, outside of the story missions, everyone and everything feels lifeless. 

This issue was apparent from the beginning, as one of the first quests is to introduce yourself to the people of the main hideout, and what you get is a bunch of half-baked lines and awkward hellos. You never really get to know the characters, and while there are some that stand out, it's all very superficial. This was very unfortunate because, in a world where you're going out to face terrifying vampires and cultists for the good of the town and its people, you ideally want to care about the community and story. 

1 Redfall character screen

This is also when I'd like to preface something imperative: I played very little of the game alone. If I wasn't playing with my wife, I was in a group with her and another GameGrin staff member and friend, which means the game might feel even more empty if you go at it all alone, especially considering the gameplay loop; this leads me to why it was a huge mistake that they marketed Redfall as an "open-world".

For the first 10 whole hours of the game, my wife and I ran amok across the town, scavenging, killing, and discovering all sorts of areas. Since the title was supposedly open-world, we figured it'd be something along the lines of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn and The Witcher — you have a main quest you can play, but if you want to run around and discover cool places and side missions first, you can do that, too.

To our dismay, most of those hours were lost, as Redfall is most definitely not like that — instead, you ideally pick up a main mission, complete it, and immediately return and grab the next one. If you don't, any area you'll find is completely empty but for a few enemies you might find along the way sporadically. 

Although it might sound a bit boring and annoying, my wife and I had a blast playing once we finally understood how the game worked, and truth be told, even before that. The missions aren't incredibly in-depth — in fact, they're mostly heading to a place, killing enemies, picking up an item, and then returning to the lifeless NPCs — but, thankfully, the combat is fun, especially thanks to the unique abilities each character has. Additionally, the game does a great job of keeping you entertained with scavenging, which was one of my favourite mechanics.

2 Redfall Joe Creelmans note

Aside from finding health packs and gathering items to get goodwill with the safehouse residents — much like the currency system in State of Decay — you'll find different weapons, too, and occasionally even one of the customisable items. What makes it fun, however, is that firearms have rarity and level, which forces you to keep scavenging to find better gear throughout the game, so it never becomes useless to comb out an area.

This is one of my absolute favourite things about Redfall — I could scarcely think of a single complaint mechanic-wise. Most of my pet peeves in FPS titles were not a problem: I could reload while running, the inventory system was comfortable and easy to understand, there's no weight or space limit in your bag (although this can be good in some games), etc. Everything feels and plays really well; even some of the riskier mechanics, such as bullet travel time and physics, brought a lot to the table.

Additionally, the idea behind each character having their own set of abilities was great — each one I played felt quite different, and whenever we'd play in a group, it felt like all of us were contributing to the experience in our own way. Making spectral elevators to reach difficult areas, using bombs to even the fights, and sending out a raven to scout out the enemies are just some of the many abilities available throughout the four characters.

That being said, though, Redfall's definitely not a difficult game: despite my wife and I choosing the hardest difficulty, it still felt like we were breezing through most fights. Although that was a bit disappointing to us because we're fans of challenging games, I don't think it's necessarily a downside, just something I'd like to warn others of.

3 Redfall Eva reverend

Despite how much I enjoyed running around Redfall, killing vampires, entering nests, and scavenging, it would have been a million times better had I not lost count of how many times I crashed and the crazy amount of bugs I found. Most early access titles I've played have more stability than Redfall does, and that is quite disappointing, especially given the price.

I lost track of how many issues I encountered, but off the top of my head: I had to restart twice due to getting stuck, characters constantly froze in a position or didn't load, we missed out on cutscenes due to bugs, textures glitched out sometimes, some commands would stop working sporadically, etc. — there's an endless list of annoyances I experienced. And whilst I usually don't much care about bugs — I think they're rather funny unless they're game-breaking — this was a bit much, especially for a AAA title. 

Lastly, I would like to touch on the co-op aspect a bit. Just like the inventory, the invite system is incredibly intuitive, starting by the fact that Redfall has an in-game friends menu where you can see people’s status and invite them to play a round. Unfortunately, only the host keeps the story and quest progress, and everyone else keeps their character’s stuff, such as weapons, levels, and inventory. It wasn’t really much of a bother to me, but it might be a deal breaker for other people.

4 Redfall street

Additionally, when it comes to items, everyone can scavenge containers but each person will get a randomised item, so not everyone will get the same guns or resources, and before starting a mission, all players will be required to be in the vicinity. The multiplayer isn’t perfect — ideally, we’d all get to keep our progress — but it’s definitely better than many other games that label themselves “co-op”.

All in all, I quite loved Redfall — the combat is great, playing with my wife and co-worker was very fun, and I can think of a hundred compliments mechanic-wise. That being said, though, the lifeless story and NPCs, egregious price, and number of bugs were quite a disappointment; let’s just hope Arkane Austin and Bethesda get around to fixing those last two issues.

7.50/10 7½

Redfall (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Redfall’s a great title with lots to do throughout its world, but the lifelessness of the NPCs and story alongside the amounts of bugs and the steep entering fee, I can’t assume it’ll be for everyone.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Violet Plata

Violet Plata

Staff Writer

Liable to jump at her own shadow.

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Artura Dawn
Artura Dawn - 01:53am, 2nd May 2023

I quite loved playing Redfall, and I honestly can't wait to play even more!

Spooky_0ne - 09:23pm, 2nd May 2023 Author

Me too! Especially once the bugs are fixed.

Platinum - 09:20pm, 2nd May 2023

The game is so broken its funny, 2/10 so far tops.

Spooky_0ne - 09:22pm, 2nd May 2023 Author

It is broken, yeah, but the gameplay itself is pretty cool! Nothing crazy — just fun to spend time with friends! Thanks for the comment!

Platinum - 11:54am, 3rd May 2023

The gameplay seems ok from what I have seen, missions so far are poor though, 5 - 10 mins tops, hopefully, they get better and these are just introductory ones.

But the performance and the bugs are ruining it at the moment, until that's fixed this is a cant recommend for me, its horrible to play at the moment.

Spooky_0ne - 04:33pm, 3rd May 2023 Author

I thought the missions were good enough :) But each person has their own tastes regarding that! I do, however, feel like the game's bugs take a lot from the experience: the lagging, stuttering, and crashing are annoying.