Weird West is an action RPG that follows the story of five characters in a Wild West that also feeds on dark fantasy to populate it with all kinds of creatures and black magic. A game full of systemic possibilities, heir to the Arkane formula. We tell you everything in Weird West’s analysis.
It didn’t take me more than a moment to recognize the signature of Raphael Colantonio as soon as I had Weird West. The designer likes universes based on systems that interact not only with the player or with the environment, but also with each other. Thus, Weird West is the Arkane brand without being Arkane: a game where customization of the style of play takes precedence over everything else. Want to make a name for yourself in this strange West? You’ll see results in the form of allies arriving unexpectedly to save the day, for example. Do you want to create the most absolute chaos? You can wipe out an entire population and turn the place into a ghost town that will dwell with supernatural creatures while the perpetrator (you) is endlessly persecuted by justice.
Weird West is a Western game and it is not. The brand engraved with fire Dishonored This is also noticeable in the taste of dark and strange fantasy. There is a certain fascination in beginning to understand the sinister magical rules that make up this world. When you realize that monsters like newts don’t just feed on people, but can also consume their memories. From minute one, you notice how flawed this environment is with the grotesque and spooky. By some strange black magic that starts with the same player literally embodying a cast of characters, each with their stories and motivations, but one common element.
It’s one of the most unique elements of Weird West, making it a choral game. Five different characters that have their special conditions and abilities. For example, a retired bounty hunter, a man transformed into an anthropomorphic pig, or another with the ability to transform into a werewolf. It’s an interesting idea that the game makes the most of its consequences. This might risk breaking the continuity or sense of player progression, but it doesn’t. Because? because we are able to transfer certain skills to another, allowing us to improve our speed, damage, stealth or combat capabilities, for example. Others define each character and are rare, which promotes the replayability of the title.
Its cast of characters is one of Weird West’s most unique elements.Once you’re released to the playing field, yes, the Freedom it is absolute. Freedom to complete objectives as you see fit, kill even key story NPCs, and annihilate enemies of from more traditional to more creative forms. You can use the arsenal, consisting of pistols, rifles, shotguns, bows, explosives or short-range weapons; but it is interesting to see how, especially in the face of a marked shortage of ammunition, wolf eye games wants you to tap into the creative element using elemental attacks, taking advantage of the terrain to your advantage, including rain or fire. Many things in Weird West can be a weapon. Plus, the map is big enough to be filled with side quests, secret places with caches and bounty hunter missions, for example, in case we want to further improve our character and be better prepared for the main mission.
The problem is the technical limitations. Colantonio is used to making games that take advantage of all of these elements in complex, multi-level environments. The world of Weird West, on the other hand, is made up of a series of levels separated by a map which never quite takes off. The prairies, towns, mines, canyons and other environments we visit they don’t have such a stimulating depth or design wanting to play with all of these mechanics and often even for stealth use it’s easier to make your life less complicated and use brute force and lots and lots of bullets.
The combat system is simple and twin-stick shooter style many isometric action games: a stick to move the character and another to aim. This requires a lot of precision; So much so that, even if you have no trouble dispatching the enemies, you have a constant feeling of inaccuracy in the actions, of lack of control over them, which does not help you to take full advantage of the duels. I think with the mouse things will improve considerably, but my experience with the controller has been somewhat inaccurate. The controls get too chaotic and, again, it’s easier to turn everything into a fight for health bars, than to exploit the possibilities of the game, since skirmishes happen too quickly to be as tactical as it allows, for example, a Divinity: Original Sin 2.
The visual style doesn’t help much either. It has personality and is especially reminiscent of Arkane’s previous work in menus and 2D drawing. The levels are simulated in a kind of paper map, in which we can see the limits of the sheet, creating a very unique and attractive style. Corn a poor graphics section limits both exploration and combat. Poorly detailed textures and modeling, with often dark and eerie lighting, make it difficult to clearly spot caches, corpses, and items to loot, making navigation a little tricky. It doesn’t help that in my case there isn’t a PS5 version, rather the game directly runs the PS4 version at a resolution that blurs the whole thing a little more and makes this exploration a little more difficult (and I understand it won’t happen on PC).
There are enough reasons to be interested in Weird WestWeird West is a title that defines the style of Colantonio, always betting on complex designs that offer multiple possibilities to the player. But I think WolfEye Games’ journey has only just begun. They were systemically ambitious and, while I can appreciate the visual limitations, perhaps its level design as well as the combat could have been more refined, as these are what really sustain the game in the long run. There are plenty of reasons to be interested in Weird West, however: its mix of Old West and supernatural elements might seem “weird”, but it’s much more appealing than you might think. Splitting the campaign into five character journeys helps see different perspectives of the world and encourages a variety of playstyles. It’s clear WolfEye is precisely targeting a very specific type of player here, and if you’re targeted it’s easy to fall for under his sinister spell.