- Total Score - 8.6/108.6/10
Weird West feels like the next step in the immersive sim genre.
Developer – WolfEye Studios
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Platforms – PC, PS4, Xbox One, Gamepass
Weird West is the first game from developer WolfEye Studios. They are comprised of veterans from Arkane who developed the Dishonored and Prey series.
Knowing their stellar history is important in many ways. Weird West is the culmination of all of their previous games, ideas, and concepts combined into one stellar title.
On the surface, many people would classify Weird West as an isometric action RPG. It’s so much more than that once you dig a bit deeper under the surface. It’s one part action, one part narrative adventure game, and one part the detective game everybody didn’t know they wanted. Furthermore, it is the culmination of all their work in the immersive sim genre.
You play as six different characters through the campaign. Right from the moment you press play, you’re thrust into a world absolutely drenched with atmosphere and style. It takes place in the Weird West. A place with as many supernatural elements as cowboys, shootouts and saloon bar fights.
The atmosphere is second to none. Everything from the games visual style, the expressions on peoples faces and even the music help sell the dark, dreary misery of the setting. People are exhausted, shell shocked, and whatever is left is being ravaged by a dangerous outlaws and violent beasts.
Weird West delves deep into the immersive sim proper. A pure sandbox with dynamic AI elements layered through the entire experience. Gameplay options abound, and just about every action you can think, the game lets you do. Every NPC will also remember every action you take. Subsequent characters in the campaign will inherit a world filled with the consequences of your previous character’s deeds and actions.
This all comes together to create a fully fluid story dynamic. The arc you experience will be one of your own making.
It’s a lot of fun, and basically provides just enough tools to play out your Van Helsing fantasy. The game’s UI and inventory management are layered on a fantastic upgrade system. The dialogue options and the attention paid to the lore makes Weird West an immersive sim, harking back to the classics such as the original Deus Ex.
As an action RPG proper, Weird West is simply okay. It’s not a breakout in this field, but more than serviceable to provide fun moment to moment gameplay. Most of the AI can be tricked with clever positioning, and managing allies in a big firefight can be troublesome. Ina standard game these issues can be overlooked, but this genre is different. An ally dying because of clunky AI can dramatically change a story and how it unfolds.
It doesn’t have the precision required to quite pull off stylish combat the way your skills should allow. Between enemy AI sometimes forgetting about you mid-fight, or the camera getting a bit awkward mid-fight in close quarters. It often feels like an isometric RPG made from a studio not too familiar with the genre.
That best feature, is the narrative itself. This game really emphasize the role playing in RPG. Think of the traditional RPG. In so many of them, you visit and explore massive cities with tons of characters everywhere. Most of them are just there to fill in the world, and add nothing to the game outside of window dressing.
In Weird West, that entire mindset is flipped on its head. Every single NPC has a name, a back-story and a social circle they belong too. They have things they like, hate, and are never as simple as you want or need them to be. The sheer attention to detail in each and every character is only surpassed by the excellent writing.
The story, the way it is told, and how such an extensive web of characters and decisions make for a deep experience that will stay with you well after you are done experiencing any of the multiple endings it contains.
Weird West feels like the next step in the immersive sim genre. Come for the premise, and stay for the excellent characters, the miserable version of the wild West they have created, and the superbly written story you didn’t know you wanted.