While the voice acting isn't actually that bad, the musical score is a lot like the game itself: forgettable.
This is the worst looking new-gen-only game I've played. That's probably mostly down to the worst texture pop-in that I've ever seen. 10-15 seconds to spawn a texture is ludicrous. It’s just a really badly optimised game.
Redfall is a perfectly enjoyable and incredibly tight first-person shooter. You'll never once curse the controls - except when you get pinned by a gaggle of vampires - and you'll have fun slaying vampires and the like.
For a game with solid shooter mechanics, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Redfall is its delivery. There aren't many set-pieces to write home about, and the open-world is formulaic. You've played Redfall a hundred times before, which isn't usually the case with an Arkane Austin title.
The achievements are probably the best part of Redfall, in that they're unexpected and all over the place.
May 01, 2023
Arkane Austin is one of the pedigree developers in video games. The catalogue of outstanding games it’s worked on is up there with the best of the best. Whether it's extending existing IPs into new ground with the likes of Dishonored 2, rebooting a much-loved IP and smashing it with Prey, or creating a thought-provoking new experience like Deathloop; Arkane has certainly made a name for itself. That's why it baffles me to my core that the studio’s latest title, Redfall, is just very… ordinary. It has none of the trademark ingenuity that you'd expect from the same studio that brought you Dishonored 2’s Clockwork Mansion. By comparison, Redfall feels incredibly derivative.
Redfall sees you jump into the shoes of one of four unlikely adventurers, trapped in the vampire infested town of the game’s title. Your job is to put an end to the madness and free the people from the vampire occupation. Sounds great, right? Sounds like something that's right up Arkane Austin's avenue? It sure does! But the story is perhaps one of the more tepid parts of Redfall. The truth is, it never really takes off.
You'll venture from neighbourhood to neighbourhood dealing with vampires and zealots in a pretty archaic and uninspired fashion in Arkane Austin's latest outing. And while taking down vampires and thrusting a stake through their heart is invigorating for the first few hours, it gets increasingly repetitive after you've taken down your hundredth bloodsucker. That's the thing with Redfall, though, there's nothing inherently wrong with it - it just fails to capture your imagination. It fails to inspire across the board.
Mechanically, quite how Arkane Austin went from Dishonored 2, Prey, and Deathloop, to this, boggles the mind. Redfall is a pretty generic first-person shooter. And let's not beat around the bush here, that's exactly what it is. This isn't a first-person action-adventure title like Prey or Dishonored - this is a straight up shooter, with a couple of special abilities that recharge on a cooldown, as well as some light looter-shooter and RPG mechanics mixed in for good measure.
Even though the shooting is tight and enjoyable in Redfall, it doesn't really excel when put alongside other examples of the genre. After you've unlocked your third and final ability, the game pretty much stays the same until the end credits, albeit changing ever so slightly when it introduces a few new vampire types at various junctures along the way.
Redfall even has issues mechanically. They range from how long it takes to heal yourself - the game isn't as fast-paced as it makes out - to other instances of comically bad game design, like enemies pinning you against scenery with no real means of defence. God forbid you have to deal with melee-only vampires with no dodge or block abilities, against enemies who swarm you and pin you against whatever you're standing against. It's an incredibly frustrating experience, at times.
At Redfall's core is a shooter-looter mechanic, akin to that of Destiny. In a nutshell, the more formidable the vampire you kill, the better the loot. Which would be great if it was balanced that way. But when an ordinary level 20 gun can outperform a level 18 legendary (AKA an "unrivalled" weapon) in terms of damage, you start to wonder what's the point in having tiered weapons at all.
Usually with generic, mechanically operated games, you'd expect a game to excel in its set-pieces. Redfall does not. In fact, thinking back, I'd be hard pushed to tell you of more than one set-piece that I actually remembered fondly. Most of them are, basically, shoot everything that spawns, and then move on. As actual shooters go, Redfall is sound. You can't knock it. But the best shooters, or even first-person adventure games, pride themselves on providing rip-roaring set-pieces. Aside from a fairly engaging mission that sees you gather three dolls to enter a psychic dollhouse, nothing comes remotely close - and that mission isn’t particularly iconic - it’s just better than the rest. The truth is, that Redfall is thoroughly lacking in its set-pieces, and that's perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Arkane Austin's newest IP.
Technically, Redfall is a bit of a mess, too. Granted, we know there's a 60fps mode coming post-launch, but even now it can't retain the standard 30fps when things get a bit hectic. And that's even before we talk about the game visually. Despite being new-gen only, Redfall somehow looks worse than a lot of last-gen games. That's in part down to the awful texture pop-in, where it can take around 10-20 seconds for most textures to load in, which is criminal for a first-party title that’s been designed to sell consoles on the strength of its performance and graphical fidelity. When the fog descends upon Redfall, you may as well pack your bags and accept your inevitable death, too, as you're unlikely to see death come for you. Just another of Redfall’s graphical disasters.
The game is full of bizarre design choices, too. Things like the lack of compass markers for enemies, godawful AI, formulaic and uninspired boss fights, not being able to return to the first map once you’ve left, and the only punishment for death being the loss of 10% of your earnings. The only thing on the horizon in Redfall is frustration and bewilderment. And heaven forbid the game crashes when you've worked your way through an area, because when you load back in, you're returned to the last safehouse/fast travel point, and you need to kill everyone you literally just killed all over again. It's not like that's the only issue we had either; we had numerous bugs and crashes in our 25-ish hours with the game.
Redfall, then, is the perfect Game Pass game. A game not good enough to spend money on, but one that is a perfectly okay romp for 20-30 hours. Sure, you'll have fun, and enjoy the shooting mechanics, but it's entirely forgettable. It is the quintessential 6/10 game, in that it will occupy your time, keep you entertained, but as soon as you've put down the controller, you'll instantly forget about it.