Redfall Review – SIX FEET UNDER
I’m sure we can all agree that the ‘console wars’ discourse which has been circling around for the last couple of years has been extremely petty and limiting to those caught in its grasp. However, if I had to pick a frontrunner for console exclusives, Sony would clearly be leading the pack by a sizable margin. Now with Redfall on our doorstep, has Microsoft found a competitor to match the quality of God of War and the Horizon series? Or will it just be another generic, RPG looter-shooter that’ll soon fade into Xbox Game Pass obscurity?
Well, it’s not an absolute dumpster fire, though Redfall doesn’t bring anything particularly special to the open-world table. The game can be fun coordinating as a team; scouting out targets, approaching missions from multiple angles and synergising various weapons and powers, but it simply needs more. More enemies, more abilities and more visual impact.
I like how players can infiltrate a vampire-infested base to gain a stash of loot (which is instantly and conveniently sold as cash) or destroy an expanding zone of influence from which the bloodsuckers grow stronger over time. These aspects make the open-world design of Redfalll feel a lot more fleshed out, as walking through the streets of Massachusetts can be a pretty isolating affair. Not that there needs to be stimulus around every turn. Though again, more is the keyword here.
The same thing applies to skills. Each of the four playable characters is only assigned three powers they can learn altogether, alongside a selection of handy upgrades to boot. However, if you’re playing solo, a decent amount of the enhancements only apply to co-op gameplay. This means that the relevant solo skill tree slots will fill up rather quickly, making you wonder why extra abilities weren’t added to the repertoire. Especially since all four characters don’t have any discernible gameplay differences, apart from their three unique powers.
Like most looter-shooters, weapons are sorted into rarities and levels which determine their power, rate of fire, magazine size and specific perks. There are no customisation options like different scopes or laser pointers, apart from skins and stakes. The latter is used to finish off vampires when their HP drops to zero; something that can be quite challenging on the higher difficulties when a bunch of them start running amok. Even more so as they fully regenerate their health if not dealt with in time. However, this is where the UV guns come in. If players train a beam of light from these bad boys on a vampire for long enough, they’ll eventually turn them to stone—regardless of their health—letting hunters smash them into teeny-tiny pieces. Very satisfying.
Redfall’s mission structure is relatively straightforward; some area or building needs to be investigated or a certain amount of hostages need to be saved. This usually results in a few tricky encounters or parkour skills which are fairly fun to experience. Although, I can’t fathom why progression is only tied to the host player, plus the fact that there’s no matchmaking at all. What’s even worse is that during the second half of the campaign, the game will straight-up not let you return to the first open-world section for no particular reason. Why couldn’t they just expand the map viewer and have us fast-travel in between? Well, because that would make too much sense apparently.
In the same vein, Redfall’s also riddled with funny, yet mega annoying bugs and glitches like blocking access to menus, stupid AI decisions and characters T-posing on the move. Classic Bethesda. You can literally crouch-walk into a group of human enemies while casually punching them to death and they’ll have next to no idea about how to defend themselves. Furthermore, their plasticky character models and poor combat choices make them look like complete stooges at the same time.
Misery Loves Company
During multiplayer, the general difficulty is considerably easier. Zombies normally turn their attention to one target, whilst another teammate can easily pick them off from behind. Plus, when a character is downed, they can still shoot with any of their three equipped weapons and are given a very generous timeframe to be saved. Even if they’re not revived in time, it ultimately does not matter. There’s no penalty when one player dies, nor if the whole squad is taken out too. You’ll only get booted back to the nearest safehouse or fast-travel point with no progress lost in the current battle or mission.
On the performance side of things, the graphics and frame rate on PC aren’t bad, though they definitely aren’t next-gen quality either. Even with NVIDIA DLSS on, the occasionally smooth 60FPS in co-op would dip during the more chaotic encounters or by randomly walking through the streets. Doesn’t help that Redfall’s take-back-the-city narrative feels very half-baked, with its still-frame, Babylon’s Fail storytelling and characters who are so mind-numbingly dull that you’ll forget about them as soon as they finish talking. It’s hysterical how many NPCs characters will simply say “Hmph” or “Hmmm” or some variant of nothing in particular. One guy will just flat-out cough on you, then turn away. That is exactly how you’ll feel playing the game.
This won’t come as much of a shock, but Redfall isn’t the killer exclusive Microsoft is looking for. The game is afflicted with technical issues on all ends of the spectrum and is a subpar gameplay experience in almost every aspect. Yes, there are a few fun moments to be had here and there, but it honestly needed a lot more time in the oven. The AI will freeze up or move in super silly ways, the gameplay is average at best, and the story and characters will seriously make you want to watch paint dry. No joke. Those who were expecting a strong follow-up to Deathloop or Dishonored will be severely disappointed. This felt blatantly forced out the door and the final product is proof of that.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PC
Redfall turned out almost exactly as you thought. Not only is the usual Bethesda jank on full display, but the game is just straight-up lacking in quality. Right down to its wobbly frame rate, subpar gameplay and exceptionally forgettable story and characters. While it can be a smidge of fun playing this game in co-op, you’re far better off booting up Back 4 Blood or Vampyr for some Dracula-themed butt-kicking.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Bethesda. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.
3 thoughts on “Redfall Review – SIX FEET UNDER”
What do you mean with the „usual Bethesda jank“? The game wasn’t developed by Bethesda and as a publisher Bethesda has mainly released polished games. Until the recent Microsoft acquisition.
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