So I found this game was surprisingly reminiscent of a game I previously reviewed, Shadow Tactics. Except this one feels like it takes the similar real time strategy/stealth mechanics and mixes it with the classic Baldur’s Gate style RPG progression. There’s also a focus on a single highly customizable gunslinger character, which made this game much more approachable for me. It also helped make the decisions I made through my actions easier to understand with how I was affecting the world as a whole. I wasn’t familiar with the Weird West as a genre, but apparently it’s spaghetti western meets dark fantasy, which was a very compelling backdrop to the game. As you encounter these dark fantasy creatures, there’s some pretty grotesque and creepy designs that painted the game in ways I really didn’t expect but in a good way. Gameplay is semi-open world, semi-linear storytelling with slight branching paths.
You take on missions and bounties, which unlock new areas on the world map for you to quick travel through. However, going from destination to destination will take in-game days, which has the chance to trigger surprise encounters. These are often pretty terrifying, but can also lead to emergent side stories or sidequests that can be pretty lucrative. There’s an underlying mystery of uncovering the seedy underbelly of the local towns, and the mystery of your lost husband.
Along the adventure, you’ll earn skill points used to customize your activatable skills and increase your proficiency across a variety of weapons such as bow and arrow, shotguns, revolvers, or rifles. Stealth is a major aspect of the game, so is resource and money management. You want to top yourself off between hits and your exploration, while keeping yourself ready to take on multiple encounters in a row. Enemy AI is pretty competent, although you can exploit it using brushes to hide or maneuvering around the terrain.
You have quite the arsenal from your gunplay to your skills to even consumable items such as dynamite, molotovs, or flashbombs. I also appreciated some of the synergies you can unlock such as using oil or water to inflame or electrocute your foes with a wombo combo. You are often outnumbered, but between your dodge roll and the ability to slow down time, you can dwindle those numbers and get out on top. In addition, in between missions you can hire bodyguards and muscle to accompany you throughout your journey and fight alongside you.
Most missions involve dismantling a hideout filled with baddies and nasties to dispose of. There are also bounty missions that have you take out specific target, often surrounded by many MANY people and creatures acting as security and booking it out alive. It’s very obvious to tell when you’re going off the beaten path or following the story, but I appreciated having more input in personalizing my adventure with the decisions I could make. There is a morality system in place of maintaining reputation across the land, with upholding the law generally being a good way to stay out of trouble. You can try to sneak your way to riches or secrets, but it’s at the risk of jeopardizing your reputation, and by extension, your security. These mechanics helped shape the RPG interactive narrative elements and helped tether me closer to the main character.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Weird West. I like how approachable the game is, but there’s a lot of layers to unpack and different ways to express yourself in game. The difficulty curve felt just right for the most part, although occasionally, the random encounters could become excessive and a huge gatekeeping aspect of my adventuring. Often times I would find myself reloading just to make sure I didn’t happen to trigger one. This is an easy recommendation.
A review copy was provided by the devs
Hellfirebam has emphatically awarded Weird West the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval