Redfall – Game Review


Redfall

(available for XBox Series X and S, and PC. Xbox Series X version used for this review)

Redfall is a first-person co-op shooter developed by Arkane, developers of games like Prey, Dishonoured, and Death Loop. This game was specifically developed by the Austin, Texas division responsible for Prey.

Redfall is a project that has become an Xbox first-party title after Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda. Ever since E3 2021, the game has been quite heavily marketed by Xbox during their showcases. This also marks a turning point as this is the first £70 game on Xbox’s first party, though it is also available as part of your Game Pass subscription.

Redfall seemed like it had some good buzz around it, despite early trailers inviting some comparison to the Left 4 Dead games, Arkane were very persistent that the game was more similar to Far Cry.

Despite some good showings leading up to the release, the game had received some bad press. For starters, the game was revealed that it would be always online, though the team planned to have this at launch, they were planning to take it out later down the line. It was then also revealed that the game has host-only progression meaning that if you play with your friends, you wouldn’t keep any progress like weapons and power-ups during those sessions. You would have to do those story missions over again on your own save file. The game would also be launching with no Performance Mode, only Quality Mode, meaning that while the game does give out 4K resolution, it’s locked on Xbox at 30 frames per second.

Personally, I thought that all of these were weak choices but it became clear that the game wouldn’t be delayed any further since Microsoft made a promise that one of the three games that were delayed in 2021 would be released in 2022. Since Starfield currently has a release date of September 26th, Redfall had to come out. But if the gameplay was there, I think that you could have gotten around these issues.

Full disclosure, this review should be taken with a pinch of salt. I have multiple hours within the game, but there are major sections in this game that I haven’t tried out, and one of them is co-op. I love a good co-op experience, the problem is that I couldn’t get anyone to play this game with me! Anyone who I wanted to play with had to be on my friends list and I couldn’t convince anyone! In fact, one of my colleagues downloaded this game on release and gave up on the first day. I heard from several people that have played it in co-op that the game does improve in multiplayer, but I haven’t personally experienced it. Based on my single-player and other accounts online, this game must be so easy in co-op! There’s no real challenge when you’re playing the game in single-player even with the difficulty spikes.

As I mentioned before, this is a co-op first-person shooter, but the best way to describe it is it’s more of a loot shooter. The team might be aiming for FarCry, but I would compare it to Borderlands. Unlike Borderlands, however, the gameplay loop is really dull. It’s set in the fictional New England town of Redfall which has been recently invaded by vampires and cut off from the rest of America, leading a team of 4 vigilantes with powers to take down the vampires. That’s it, that’s all the story you need, there’s really not much more to it.

PROS

  • Not Really Anything

I’m really struggling here. I tried for an hour in the process of coming up with notes for this review to put anything down in this section but it’s not happening. I suppose I can say that the shooting mechanics are fine and the game functions for the most part. But on the whole, that’s all I’ve really got. There’s not much I can put in here.

MIXED

  • Performance

I mentioned that the game functions fine at 30FPS, but this game is begging for 60FPS. Again, 30FPS is fine and it functions well enough and the framerate doesn’t dip too much. But man, it does feel off that the game has launched in this state without that better performance. That’s just on consoles. For the record- the Series S version doesn’t have a 4K resolution, it plays at 1440p with 30FPS.

The PC version does have a higher framerate, but it comes with its own issues, mainly that it has severe framerate drops. This is mainly because it comes with something that will enrage PC players everywhere: Denuvo. Denuvo is an Austrian tech company that has developed a digital rights media program with the same name. A lot of PC games, particularly ones on Steam, get it as an anti-piracy tool when a game launches. It usually gets removed later down the line when sales slow down. Many games with it have consistent framerate issues at launch. Denuvo has denied that their program is causing framerate issues on these games, but in my personal opinion, when there are so many examples of it including this game and the only common denominator is that program, those denials are getting harder to believe. Redfall on PC is no exception.

I spoke to my colleague Elliot, who gave the game up very quickly, and he said that he was experiencing a very poor framerate.

CONS

  • Single-player Experience

This game is really, really dull in single-player. I tried, I really, really tried to get into this game. But there are a lot of dull fetch-quests against a very uninteresting world map, and occasionally you’ll do a side-mission to create more fast-travel points as well as unlock some more content. The only thing that you’re getting is a few extra missions which get very repetitive, you create these safe houses by killing a boss vampire. That’s assuming that you are going to fight a vampire because large portions of the game have you fighting Cultists, who look and act like they’re out of the Last of Us.

The vampires themselves have a cool design, but unless they’re in packs, they’re not too threatening. Once I got a stake gun they went down really quickly.

The game gives various characters powers, I completely forgot they were a thing. The character I chose for most of my playthrough gave me a Raven which would locate enemies on the map, which never worked when I tried it so I stopped using it. In fact, I fired it directly where I knew there were enemies and still no luck. The cloaking method that makes you invisible is game-breaking! I could literally walk around the back of the vampires and get an easy headshot and extend the timer.

  • Dumb AI

I thought that the AI in Deathloop was bad, but I’m begging to go back to that after playing this. There were several moments where I screwed up being stealthy and I wasn’t punished for it. These enemies are so dumb that you can easily take advantage of them to get a ton of kills. Not helped by the fact that the game is full of bugs. I got to a state where a couple of vampires just stayed in place and I was able to shoot them all without trouble. What’s more, they don’t even fire their guns or attack you intelligently. Unless you enrage a bunch of them at once, you’re not in danger of dying.

  • Story

Two points to this one: it’s non-existent in the sense that it doesn’t provide much lore or motivation, and the game has pretty much no cutscenes. The game is told through a lot of still images which look like a bunch of concept art spliced together- it’s something that you would show to people to illustrate how the game will look later on.

  • Graphics

I’ll say one good thing, and that is that the vampire designs are good. But nothing about this game feels like it should be of this current generation of consoles. It also makes me wonder why this game was such a large download size- where are all of those gigabytes going?

What’s more, the game does suffer with a lot of resolution issues and the bugs showed up in a lot of places. I noticed a hilarious one in a YouTube video from DigitalFoundry where water was falling out of a sink so it went through the sink instead of out of it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Redfall is a boring looter shooter and Xbox needs to do better. They had a great start to the year with Hi-fi Rush, but this has really put their future in disarray. Whatever mock reviewers they were hiring need to be fired because they clearly don’t have Xbox’s best interests at heart. The guns all feel the same, the enemies are bugged out, and it’s currently in a state on the console where it can’t reach a decent framerate and has major issues on PC as well. It’s just boring!

It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever played, it functions just fine, but as a whole, I really got bored of this one really quickly and I’m not interested in any future content updates that Arkane have planned. If this has come about because Microsoft has management issues within their studios, something needs to change immediately.

FINAL SCORE: 5.1/10

Calvin
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.
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