Arkane is a beloved studio most famously known for their immersive sim games (Dishonored, Prey, etc). They are made up of two separate teams, Arkane Lyon, and Arkane Austin. Lyon previously developed Deathloop which critics generally praised back in 2021. Now, Arkane Austin has released Redfall, an open world, borderlands-esque looter shooter about a town overran with vampires.
With such a drastic departure from the types of games they’ve made before, does Redfall leave a lasting impression or a nasty bite?
Arkane & Redfall
Immersive sim games are simply one of the best types of games in the industry. Throwing a whole bunch of mechanics at the player and giving them multiple ways of attacking every objective makes for incredible replay-value. One of the best developers at this is Arkane, with outstanding games such as Prey and Dishonored.
Naturally many fans would expect Redfall to have many of these core game-design philosophies that have been so present in Arkane’s previous work. However, Redfall has very little to zero immersive sim elements.
I’m all for creative ambition, but chasing trends while ignoring all of the pillars which made you is a bizarre choice to me. All of this results in a confusing mesh with horrible AI, lack of choice, and facing enemies head on being your best course of action throughout the entire game. This doesn’t feel like an Arkane game, and that’s a major issue.
The World of Redfall
For all of the problems with this game, I still found myself having fun in certain areas. Particularly for me, the first 5 hours I thought that maybe reviews were being too harsh. However, the games problems reveal themselves to you the longer you play.
At first, searching for loot was fun, until you realize there’s only a just a handful of gun types and loot variations of said guns in the game. There’s only two or three shotguns, a handful of assault rifles, a few snipers, etc. Loot I got for these guns early in my playthrough, I also got later in the game. Seems there just wasn’t much loot made for each of the weapons (or at least enough to last 20 hours).
The actual world itself is quite pretty in some areas, but the awful textures really blemish it. I did find myself occasionally stopping to take in the scenery as most of the house and gun models look pleasant. I just really wish combat encounters, the story, and characters were fleshed out more.
Some people are saying this one of the worst games ever made, which simply isn’t true. This game is not good by no means, a AAA game launching in such a state is unacceptable from Arkane and Xbox. I do think many can have a good time with this game, especially if you play with friends. I had some fun, but as you put more hours into it, the game just begins to get repetitive.
It’s by no means the worst game I’ve ever played, but it could have been so much better. There is potential here and I hope they continue to update and support the game, but launching in such a buggy, unpolished state, was really the final stake in the games heart.