Yes, I got an Xbox 360. No, I didn’t line up all night in the pouring rain like some people – I preordered it back in May. But this isn’t a story about that – this is a story about a great game. I hadn’t intended to buy it – it was an impulse buy when I cancelled my Oblivion pre-order (since it got pushed back to the Spring), but I am so glad I did.
GUN is published by NeverSoft, the folks who did the Tony Hawk series of skateboard games. Set in the old West, GUNtells the story of Colton White (insert White Man jokes here), a trapper who stumbles from his everyday life into an epic story. You’ll see mountains, deserts, Apache camps, renegades’ forts, ranches, villages, and everything in between.
The music, sound effects, and voice acting are all top-notch and really get you absorbed in the story. Actually, I’m surprised that they are not making a big deal out of the game’s all-star voice cast: Tom Skerritt, Kris Kristofferson, Brad Dourif, Ron Perlman, and Lance Henriksen take some of the lead roles.
The game is played almost entirely from a third-person perspective, except when you go into “quickdraw” mode. This is the “bullet-time” type mode that seems to be becoming a requirement in action games these days. When you enter this mode, the view shifts from third- to first-person and time slows down, allowing you to pull of spectacular shots like shooting the gun from an adversary’s hand.
Any fan of Westerns will appreciate the detail put into the character models and scenery. The version of GUN was not souped-up for the Xbox 360 (you can see some repeating textures in long shots for example), but everything still looks very good. The animations are smooth, and even the dialogue lip-sync is good.
A favorite feature of mine is the smooth integration of horses. Unlike other games that give you horseback “sequences” that are basically rail shooters, you can jump on or off your horse at any time in GUN. This gives you plenty of flexibility in how you handle the missions – do you ride out to meet your enemies, take cover and shoot it out, or just head for the hills? The riding controls feel great – the way the horse moves and turns is very well done. You can jump over obstacles, make your horse trample an enemy, or rear up if you feel like yelling “Yeee ha!” You can “spur” your horse to get more speed out of it, but ride it too hard and you’re going to be looking for a new one.
The story moves along at a good pace, and there are always plenty of side missions to do as well, from bounty hunting and herding cattle to poker playing. These missions will bring in cash (used to buy weapon, health, and horse upgrades) and increase your stats, so you’ll definitely want to do at least some of them.
If I had to mention a negative about GUN, the only thing I would say is that the game is a bit short, and a bit easy on Normal difficulty. The nice thing is that once the story ends, you can still keep playing and do the side missions and so on.
There aren’t many Western video games, and there’s no good ones that I can think of. GUN seems to have finally broken the curse, and in a big way. I’m already looking forward to a sequel.
I give GUN a hearty
4.5 YeeHas out of 5.