Review by Bill Wood
A Western adventure well worth the experience
Five years ago I 100'ed the PS2 version of Gun and had a blast every step of the way. Now that the 360 version can be found for dirt cheap from a variety of sources I decided to give the game another spin. Was it worth it?
Gun is a Western-themed third-person shooter in the vein of the now-immortal Red Dead Redemption, which isn't a huge surprise as this game takes many of its cues from RDR's predecessor, Red Dead Revolver. Many of the conventions are similar; Quickdraw replaces Deadeye, etc., although Gun takes more of a "modern Western" approach than Revolver's retro-Spaghetti slant. It is also sandbox-oriented, and in this sense it feels close to the latter Red Dead game than the former.
The game itself is surprisingly simple. There are multiple difficulty settings to make things harder, but the Normal setting doesn't provide much of challenge outside of the occasional boss battle. The shooting mechanics are incredibly forgiving, and you'll often find your bullets hitting their mark even when your shots seem well wide. And then there's Quickdraw, a meter-based shooting technique which slows everything down to bullet-time with auto-aim. It's a lot of fun, but I found myself relying on Quickdraw often as the game provides plenty of chances of build meter, adding to the sheer simplicity of it all.
Gun earns high marks for both storyline and voice acting. It's actually one of the better aspects of the game, and as you become immersed in the story it does feel as though you are taking part in a really good Western flick. On the other hand, the graphics will definitely bring you back down to Earth. Gun was never a beautiful game to begin with, and five years of aging haven't helped. This is basically a PS2/XBox game upscaled to HD. The HUD and menus have been awkwardly stretched for the HD format, and it's a bit of an eyesore to see bullet chambers shaped like ovals. Towns are almost completely devoid of townsfolk, which takes some getting accustomed to after spending hours roaming the bustling streets Armadillo and Blackwater. It's hard to explain, but in a way I found this minimalist approach refreshing as it offers the same sort of open-ended environment that Redemption's map offers, only on a much, much smaller scale.
Grading on a curve, I'd give Gun a "7" for the average gamer, maybe even a "6" for those who have zero interest in Westerns. But for those who love their Wild West adventures, Gun is an easy 8 out of 10, a journey well worth taking. Just don't expect it to last very long or provide much of a challenge.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Gun (US, 11/16/05)
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