Game Description: Gun is the story of a man's quest for revenge. When life robs Colton White of all that matters, the only thing left he can trust is his gun. Follow along with him as he seeks to exact vengeful justice on those who have wronged him. Seek retribution as you face corrupt lawmen, warring tribes, cold-blooded outlaws, and ruthless renegades.
Breaking away from the world of vert ramps, skinned knees, and million-point combos, developer Neversoft is trying its hand at an all-new franchise. Famous for its wildly successful Tony Hawk series, they've struck out in a different direction and created a new entry in the sparsely populated Western genre. I'm sure that stuffy suits in a boardroom somewhere are nervous about Neversoft leaving the dry, over-milked teats of the Hawk cash-cow behind, but in my opinion, Gun is an extremely solid game and an enjoyable experience from start to finish, skateboards be damned.
Telling the not-too-thrilling story of Colton White, Gun places players on a fairly predictable path of revenge and discovery. While scratching out a living selling game to passing riverboats, Colton's father is killed. Before dying, it is revealed that Colton is not actually his son. Naturally, this leads Colton into the untamed west in search of answers and justice.
To be perfectly straightforward, Colton is a boring, flat character that fits neatly into the western hero mold, and doesn't go an inch past. The story leading him along the way is equally uninspired. However, this gray zone of personality is saved by the fact that the play mechanics are squarely dialed-in and the variety of missions is excellent. Although Gun lacks the flair and style of Red Dead Revolver, it clearly has the technical advantage and offers a fuller experience. Gun is a perfect example of quality workmanship overcoming mediocre material.
Set in a free-roaming environment somewhat similar to Grand Theft Auto, I was able to follow the story missions or to pursue one of the many tumbleweed-tinged activities.. While I usually skip over side-missions in favor of the main quest, the opposite was true in this case. I got a lot of enjoyment helping a rancher herd cows and keeping lawbreakers off the streets in Dodge City. There was also the option to hunt animals roaming the landscape, and riding for the Pony Express or playing poker at the saloon were available, too.
While none of these things by themselves would make for a very rich experience, the fact that they all exist together cohesively helped to give depth and breadth to Gun's world—something that was greatly appreciated. In fact, I might even say that the side missions themselves are the best part of the game, creating a sort of Wild West-lite simulation.
Otherwise, Gun fits the description of an average action game. The graphics don't impress (never a strong point for Neversoft), but they get the job done adequately. There's lots of shooting, a range of upgrades to be purchased, a few costume switches, and the requisite last boss defeated by a couple of dumb gimmicks. It's nothing particularly unique or innovative, but the pace of the game is as smooth as warm butter, and the ability to alternate between the search for revenge or to peacefully ride among the mesas elevates its status.
Although I did encounter several bugs during gameplay (mostly collision errors like getting trapped inside walls, random freezes, or watching the wolf I was stalking pass completely through a large rock) these were only minor setbacks. Neversoft included frequent restart points to ensure that an untimely death or technical hiccup never set me back very far. Bonus points for that.
I'd have to say that despite the lukewarm tone of this review, Gun is by far the best Western game I've ever played. This is true partially because it's a good game, and partially because most of the competition is wretchedly awful. Still, Neversoft managed to get things right where a lot of other developers have gone very wrong, and for this I have to give them credit. In fact, the only thing I could really see missing were the mini-games I was hoping to find hidden away in the upper floors of the cathouse—if any of you find a code, e-mail me.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the Xbox version of the game.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
Parents should steer kids clear of this game. The bulk of play involves gunfighting, and it can be graphic at times. Heads explode, limbs are severed, and it's possible to scalp a downed opponent with a healthy gout of blood accompanying. Later in the game, there are scenes of dead bodies on display which had obviously been tortured, certain characters are executed, and one poor gentleman has fingers shot off in an interrogation. The main character restores his health by taking swigs from a flask, so people sensitive to alcohol usage should be aware of this issue. There are also several examples of salty language, and although there is no explicit sexual content there are a few references and the saloon girls are scantily clad. Basically, this is a game aimed at mature players, so please treat it as such and be aware that much of this material will be inappropriate for younger people.
Action gamers will find a standard GTA-style skeleton fleshed out with Western trappings. The game is short, the main quest easily finished in six to eight hours. Adjusting the difficulty settings will provide the appropriate level of challenge, and I strongly recommend exploring the side quests. In my opinion, these are what make the game what it is, and anyone skipping over them will be missing out on much of the game's appeal.
Fans of the old West will most definitely want to pick the game up. It doesn't have the same cool factor that Red Dead Revolver does, but it's way more solid and deeper all-around. Straight up, this is the best Western game out there, although it sort of wins by default.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers will have no problems. Gun offers full subtitling for all cutscenes and voiceovers, providing for a very smooth and playable experience without audio. The game also provides a small radar function to aid in the location of enemies, so there are no vital auditory cues to trip up hearing impaired players. Neversoft has done an excellent job in this regard. Top marks for accessibility.