Is Weird West a rootin’ tootin’ spooky good time?
Check out our review of Weird West. A top down isometric adventure RPG from the minds behind Dishonored, it looks to explore the awesome world of ‘Weird Western’.
Find out everything you need to know before you play, including how it plays, how it looks, what to expect from the story and whether you should check it out.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS, and welcome to our review of Weird West, a top-down isometric action RPG from Devolver Digital and WolfEye Studios. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and if you’re new to the channel, don’t forget to subscribe for more video game content every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it.
So, Devolver Digital are responsible for publishing some of my favourite games in recent years. The likes of Ape Out, Loop Hero and Carrion demonstrate that they’re on one of the hottest streaks going, giving the cream of the indie world the platform they deserve. And they’re looking to keep this going with the long-awaited release of Weird West.
Taking its name from the ‘Weird Western’ genre, you control a collection of characters as they deal with life on the frontier, as well as a veritable smorgasbord of werewolves, zombies and other supernatural threats. It does say Weird Western, after all.
But promising a modern twist on classic RPG mechanics, engaging plots and a truly unique setting, does Weird West deliver? Watch on to find out…
First and foremost, there’s a huge variety of things to see and do, and for the most part it’s largely excellent. In the early stages, there was a heavier emphasis on combat than I would’ve liked (given I’m more inclined to talk my way out of situations), but as the world opens up, so do your options.
As with any RPG worth its salt, there’s a huge cast of characters to interact with and quests to undertake, all of which help you level up the 5 playable hero characters however you see fit. While each hero has a detailed backstory and fixed narrative path, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it, and with many elements procedurally generated, every playthrough is going to be very different.
For example, you might walk past a peaceful tavern, only for another player to find that same peaceful tavern hosting a less than peaceful bar brawl. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, just because the skew towards combat at the start wasn’t for me, it doesn’t mean it’s bad – far from it. Not only does everything feel super slick as you swap between a huge variety of weapons, but the set up of levels makes for some truly intense setpieces. You’ll have to survey the landscape pretty quickly, taking in the locations of cover and exploding barrels to ensure you have the leg up on your opponent, and few games since Red Dead 2 have made me feel like I’m really in an Old West shootout.
Anyway, the procedurally generated elements of the game aren’t just limited to random encounters, but also shape the path your characters take. What I mean is, although each character has a path they’re meant to take, what would happen if you shot a key NPC you were meant to interact with later on, endeared yourself to the wrong people, or I don’t know, got turned into a pig man? Well, the game responds to these events, and dynamically adapts the narrative accordingly.
Using what the developers have coined ‘Narrative Legos’, the next chunk of the story gets slotted in depending on what you’ve done before. It’s a really cool way to augment the sense of immersion and roleplaying, an element that sometimes gets overlooked.
And the lack of a fixed narrative path allows for the world to exist and function in a truly natural and living way. It doesn’t feel like NPCs are just waiting to pop in to interact with you, rather they’re simply living their lives, and it’s up to you whether you interfere with them or not. You might find a coven of witches summoning the undead, and it’s up to you as to whether you stop them, join them or just yeet yourself out of the situation. It all makes you feel quite insignificant, and I mean that as a huge compliment. It just demonstrates how rich the world is, and how it continues with or without you, and it’s super rewarding to uncover how it all works, and how you can take advantage of it.
And it goes without saying, when you throw the supernatural into a Wild West setting, you know the aesthetic is going to be super cool. The gloomy, yet somehow vibrant (oxymorons are my passion) vibe suits the tone of the game perfectly, as does the dirgey soundtrack that simmers in the background. It’s been said before, but the best comparison is Red Dead blended with Dishonored, which makes sense as some of the minds behind the latter are involved here.
Weird West is another hit in Devolver’s acclaimed library. With tight gameplay, mechanics working in harmony under the hood and a totally engrossing world in which to forge your story, it’s a game I can see myself playing for months to come. I also really hope it opens the door for more games to explore the Weird Western genre. Undead Nightmare 2, Rockstar *hint, hint*?
But what did you think of Weird West? Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe for more video game content every single week, or you can always visit upsidedownshark.com to keep up with everything we’ve got going on.
Until then my name is Tom, we’ve been UDS, and we’ll see you next time.