Weird West is a game that aspires to be several things at once. At its core, it is an action RPG set in the American frontier with a supernatural twist. Instead of just fighting outlaws and bandits, players must also fend off a variety of creatures like zombies and werewolves. The game also plays like a twin-stick shooter with immersive sim elements, boasting a persistent world that promises to react to the player's every action.
All that blending of genres and gameplay styles means that the final product is a classic example of a "jack of all trades, master of none." And for every facet of its design that seems to work to elevate the game, there are several others that prevent it from achieving true greatness. With these points in mind, here are a few areas that could use some improvement.
5 Better Performance
At a glance, one would expect a game like Weird West to run well regardless of platform. This is mainly due to its low-fidelity visuals and simplistic top-down, isometric perspective. In reality, though, the game suffers from some technical issues on occasion.
It's not uncommon to have the frame rate take a nosedive whenever you get into an explosive shootout with multiple enemies at once. Likewise, there are moments when the game may freeze momentarily when moving between areas or menus. These are issues that can be addressed with a patch or two, so here's hoping that they eventually get ironed out.
4 Better Visuals
Speaking of looks and visuals, Weird West adopts a distinctly old-school style that is immediately reminiscent of CRPGs from the late '90s and early 2000s. And while that style certainly has its charms, it still ends up contributing to an overall feeling of datedness that permeates the entire package.
The developers at WolfEye Studios have cited games like Fallout 1 and 2 as inspiration and it does indeed wear those influences on its sleeves, for better or worse. Textures can appear muddled when viewed at anything but the farthest zoom distance. There are some glitches with shadows. While none of this is particularly game-breaking, it still detracts from the overall experience.
3 Improved Combat And Controls
Even though Weird West looks like a classic CRPG, it plays more like a twin-stick shooter than anything else. The left stick is used to move your character around while the right stick allows you to aim your weapon. This setup seems to work well enough for the most part, at least until you find yourself in situations that reveal its limitations.
Take when you're faced with multiple enemies for example. The controls never feel as precise as one would hope and you end up taking a lot of otherwise avoidable damage as a result. This isn't helped by the fact that enemies not only appear very small on the screen but have equally small hitboxes attached to them as well, meaning that the controls never manage to deliver the kind of precision needed to truly excel in the game. Mouse and keyboard users don't exactly fare any better either, since that setup brings none of the pixel-perfect precision one would typically expect.
2 A Better Camera
Another area where Weird West could really use some touching up is in its camera. The game is largely played from an isometric perspective. Multiple zoom levels and the ability to freely rotate the camera mean that it should be easy to see what is going on at all times.
Except that isn't the case in enclosed areas or interior locations where the camera is often obstructed by walls and other objects. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many of those interiors have small objects you can pick up, but it is nearly impossible to tell when you can't see any of it. And even when you do, the act of lining up both the camera and your character so that the right prompt comes up onscreen can be quite the chore.
1 Full Voice Acting
Weird West is a heavily narrative-driven game, with an interconnected storyline that charts the actions and adventures of its five playable characters over its 20 or so hour campaign. So it is a shame then that not all of that story is fully realized through voice acting.
You'll spend a great deal of time reading through copious amounts of dialogue. And even though most of this is well written, it ends up lacking any real emotional impact due to the fact that it is just text in a textbox, making it that much harder to connect to any of the characters in a more meaningful way. The little sound bites and grunts some of them make from time to time do very little to alleviate this, so we really do hope the developers go the Disco Elysium route and release a fully voiced "Final Cut" version of the game sometime in the future.
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