Review by marijumanji
"Is this Gun loaded or is it shooting blanks?"
I can imagine exactly how someone at Neversoft pitched this game... "It's Grand Theft Auto with horses." That's a fairly simplistic statement from a gameplay perspective. Comparing this game to GTA might even be a bit lofty considering that even though it was released on an inferior system 4 years before, it still had larger locales, more interesting characters, more levels and basically more everything than this bare bones "next gen" title. Let's take a look at what worked and what didn't in Neversoft's Gun for the Xbox 360.
For starters we should probably get the comparisons out of the way, Gun shares a few similarities to GTA and other 'Sandbox' games; A big open world that you can roam around in and many side missions to distract you, that's about where the similarities end. What makes Gun special, and what sets it apart from other titles in the genre is it's Old West setting. The game is great fun at times, riding around on horseback and blasting people to bits with your six guns in the Quickdraw mode is terrific but it's disappointing graphics and criminally short single player campaign, coupled with a tiny game world make Gun a weekend rental rather than a buy.
Colton, Magruder and Hoodoo brown are all well voiced and you'll definitely get a kick out of the story, which moves along briskly and never gets boring. Without spoiling anything the story actually reminds me a lot of old Saturday morning cartoons, everything is over the top and exciting, it doesn't go for any high drama like Call of Juarez did, and in my mind this is actually in Gun's favour. By not taking itself too seriously you're allowed to just have fun and go along for the ride.
I guess they weren't considered bad on the PS2. But this is not the PS2 version. Placed side by side with any other 360 game and Gun is just plain ugly. Textures are pointy and jagged, the 2(!) small towns in the game are sparsely populated with cloned townspeople, quest characters appear and vanish after you're finished with them, further killing any immersion. The noticeable exception to all this is your horse, which is quite well animated in contrast to well, just about everything else. I also didn't like how the game is filled with unnatural walls and barriers giving you the feeling you're playing on a movie lot, with cardboard buildings and styrofoam landscapes rather than in the actual west. The game seems wide open at first but after you reach the second town, that's it... you've basically seen it all. The west was supposed to be a harsh wide open untamed land, when you're always 30 seconds from civilization it renders the whole concept pointless.
I can't really fault Gun here, as a run and gun 3rd person shooter it gets the job done. The painfully overdone bullet time effect (called 'Quickdraw' here) is still as fun as ever. The ability to raise your stats and purchase new weapons is cool and gives the side missions some purpose. There is plenty of off the wall gore and exploding heads if that's what you're into. The thrill of riding on horseback and and firing at bandits and injuns doesn't get old. The story missions are all good, fast paced and exciting. Even though the game has several different kinds of side missions (Virtual Cattle Herding Oh Boy!) the game is still way too short and can be 100% completed easily in under 8 hours. Gun definitely leaves you wanting more, this doesn't sound that bad, but if I had paid full price for this one I would've been disappointed. One minor (and bizarre) complaint I have is that most of the game on normal mode is really easy, until the last level. For some reason they decide to ramp up the difficulty and it feels sort of cheap, like they were just trying to tack on a bit of extra length.
Gun sounds good, it definitely nails the ambiance of the old west. Your guns are all satisfying to shoot and the shotgun sounds appropriately different from the rifle and the six shooter. Your horse sounds like a horse should. A few more tracks would've helped as the music is slightly repetitive. Kudos must be given to the main title theme which is quite stirring and epic.
Beat the game once and their is really no need to play it again other than for the difficulty achievements but then again, that's a really lame reason to replay a game.
Overall this is a fine game but you're going to beat it in a few hours, put it down, and never play it again. The single player is fun while it lasts, but it doesn't last long enough and the game environments and some of the character models really should've been done better for the 360. Fans of the old west will probably get more enjoyment out of the story than others but it's still a ride worth taking.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/05/08
Game Release: Gun (US, 11/16/05)
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