Review: Gun


Platform: Xbox
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision
Players: 1


This is what Red Dead Revolver wished it could have been. A gritty Wild West free-roaming shoot-em up. And you get to ride a horse.

Gun is essentially a third person shooter with first person elements woven in. Set in the old west, missions are mostly shooting bad guys and the occasional beast. The story line isn’t that engaging, revolving around the evil ex-military commander and his crooked underlings that you face as not-so-tough bosses. The only worthwhile plot element is finding out in the beginning your father really isn’t your father right before he is killed. Even the gratuitous prostitute slaying, while fun and tasteless, isn’t that dramatic or gory. Plus the game design doesn’t play for a steady push of narrative as the player is encouraged to play the numerous side missions (for money and character skill advancement). Speed runs with the pony express tax you horse skills. Kicking them makes them go faster. You can even run them into the ground and they die of exhaustion. Cool. Some Texas Hold’em can be found as well to break up the ‘hunt and kill’ missions. But mostly, this is a gun slinging affair, complete with a slowed down ‘bullet-time’ to really hone the accurate pistol shots. Some Indian missions test your bow/stalking skills, so it’s not all gunplay.

The environments, while not mind blowing, are engaging in that Wyle E Coyote wild wild west type motif and are generally presented in a limited free-roam form (invisible walls suck).

A few elements seemed rushed or not completely realized. A scalping knife can be bought, allowing you to scalp dying enemies. But aside from the sadistic thrill, there is no real reward for doing so. And as far as environment exploration, the occasional gold deposit is all you will find (seriously, a giant pile of gold = $10?). Random bandit attacks happen, but they are a waste of ammo and time, as there is no real bonus for killing them. One can start trouble in any town, killing innocents and draining the town’s ‘patience’ meter, which can result in a showdown as a laughably weak posse comes to kill you. Once you beat them, the town resets. No rewards, no punishments.

It doesn’t take long to realize this is a lot of running around on horses and shooting bad guys, but who doesn’t like running around on horses and shooting bad guys? A decent play that could have been better, but still delivers.