Bethesda was form sufficient to ask PCGamesN all the way down to its London studio to take Arkane’s new FPS recreation, Redfall, for a spin. Because the doorways swing open I’m greeted by swimming pools of blood-red mild – all the pieces is bathed in crimson however for the recesses it fails to succeed in, the place ominous shadows lurk. A number of the greatest gaming PCs within the enterprise purr menacingly as large digital vampires study me from the projector display throughout the room. It units fairly the tone.
Arkane Austin’s studio director Harvey Smith provides us a brief however candy introduction to the city of Redfall, a once-quaint island getaway that has been reworked right into a dwelling hell by a sequence of failed medical experiments. We study that one Dr Addison is the person behind the mayhem, and that the now-immortal bloodsuckers his exams spawned have been as soon as part of the city’s elite one %. Take from that what you’ll.
My process is to search out out extra about Addison, now a warped and twisted vampiric entity often called ‘The Hollow Man.’ To take action, we have to breach his inside sanctum (aka his battered previous mansion) and snoop round. Naturally this goes off with none problems and Redfall seems to be a cute point-and-click journey wherein a bunch of plucky teenagers study heaps about New England structure earlier than discovering the ‘vampire’ is only a grumpy previous man in a masks.
Simply kidding; we kill issues. I spawn within the Redfall fireplace station, which serves as the sport’s hub space, and hosts myriad NPC distributors providing an unlimited array of weapons, medical provides, and extra. My private favorite is Redfall’s native reverend, a closely tattooed lady who sports activities the standard black priestly garb with an outsized crucifix as an adjunct. This encounter alone gave me a sense that I’d actually, actually like this recreation.
However neglect the NPCs; who did I select as my digital persona on the planet of Redfall? There are 4 completely different characters to select from. There’s the extremely superstitious Devinder Crousley, sassy half-vampire Layla Ellison, sharpshooting sniper Jacob Boyer, and hardy fight veteran Remi de la Rosa. Whereas Devinder’s playful persona and obsession with the occult most likely speaks to me probably the most, I go for Layla, and I don’t look again once I uncover that her ‘ultimate’ skill summons her vampiric ex-boyfriend to battle for her. Cringe? Doubtlessly. Quirky and smirk-inducing? Completely.
Layla is one among Addison’s failed experiments, and whereas she’s no bloodthirsty monster she does retain a few of the vampires’ telekinetic skills. She will summon a spectral violet umbrella that shields her from assaults and, if triggered once more whereas open, lets out an enormous shockwave that stops enemies of their tracks. She will additionally conjure an old-timey carry that’s harking back to Tower of Terror, the long-lasting Disney theme park experience that allows you to freefall lots of of ft whereas your abdomen mysteriously appears to drift the place you left it. Given my affinity for all issues ’20s, that is completely one among my favorite skills that I’ve ever seen in a recreation – it’s fantastically animated, genuinely helpful, and allows you and your teammates to chain collectively skills to create some actually sickening combos. Ding ding, the elevator’s right here; now let’s kick some ass.
After which, after all, there’s Layla’s ex – how might I neglect. You possibly can summon her vampire lover that can assist you out if issues get slightly dicey, and he’s an absolute gamechanger. You possibly can reposition (or straight-up flee) whereas he attracts enemy fireplace, or use the distraction to pin them down and stake them.
All in all, Layla’s equipment feels well-balanced and gives loads of potential to tailor it to your playstyle by way of an intensive talent tree. Whereas I did have some teething points with getting her umbrella to fold away so I might get again to popping heads, I loved the expertise – Redfall’s fight feels very clear. Switching weapons is simple, and there’s a lot to select from; it’s the tried and examined, gritty Far Cry 2-style FPS mechanics we’re all used to.
Whereas it doesn’t actually innovate on the capturing, the vampires themselves are fierce. They will teleport behind you, have completely different powers relying upon their class, and are agile and nimble: all the pieces bloodsucker needs to be. Taking up one is difficult, by no means thoughts three or 4, and whenever you throw within the brainwashed Hole Man cultists who to fill out the numbers in a battle, the issue will increase exponentially.
I skilled this primary hand attempting to filter a nest, a hive of vampiric exercise akin to Far Cry 2’s guard posts (laterally outposts). I received completely slaughtered throughout my first try as a result of I wandered right into a room with two feisty fiends that darted round me as if taking part in with their meals, and solely discovered the gaul to return after ending the core mission. Then, now adept at utilizing each the elevator and umbrella, I managed to liberate mentioned hellhole in fashion. These vampires are not any shiny Twilight boys; they’re the actual deal.
Regardless of all of those positives although, I depart my solo expertise feeling not-quite satiated. I solely caught a glimpse of the primary storyline in my mission, which whereas intense and thrilling (no spoilers right here, don’t fear) left me wanting extra. I did die just a few too many instances due to the umbrella refusing to shut, too, which rapidly grew to become very irritating – particularly as a result of I spawned again on the firehouse and needed to run all the best way again to the Hole Man’s mansion on the reverse finish of the island. Whereas the scattered safehouses will negate this sooner or later, it was fairly annoying and felt like an enormous, meaningless time sink.
I believe the larger unscratched itch, although, is that I used to be solo. I believe Redfall will actually come alive with a bunch of gamers. The intention of co-op fight, of a ragtag group of heroes shouting excitedly at one another, appears to lurk beneath your complete world and its fight encounters. It already feels harking back to the nice previous Left 4 Lifeless multiplayer days, and even its religious successor Again 4 Blood. Whereas the story is intriguing, it appears to border the fight greater than outline it.
I don’t imply to recommend the story is dangerous – don’t eat me alive, I’ve had sufficient of that in-game. In actual fact, the snippet that I noticed was shifting, jarring, and rage-inducing. I wish to see extra, I need one other chunk, however till I get to strive the multiplayer it appears like Redfall is lacking simply that little sprinkle of stardust that might remodel it from recreation to top-of-the-line PC video games of 2023. Arkane appears to really feel the identical method – the teamworking side even takes centre stage within the recreation’s trailers – so I used to be slightly stunned to find this journey was single-player solely. I appreciated what I noticed and naturally I’m glad Arkane desires this to work as a single-player recreation, but it surely doesn’t really feel like, deep down, that’s what it’s actually for.