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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Neversoft

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 16, 2005

 

 

- Slightly skewed Western

- Many nods to Western films

- Some good action

- Some easy going side-missions

 

 

- It's all over very quick

- Some very awful clipping issues

- Side missions are padding on all but the hardest difficulty setting

 

Review: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow (XB)

Review: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (XB)

Review: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (PS2)

 

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Gun

Score: 7.3 / 10

 

The easiest and laziest way to describe Gun is “Grand Theft Auto: Wild West.”  As Colton White, you have free range over a wide-open game world and a story that’s loose enough to allow room for many side missions and bounty hunts.  Besides being the easiest and laziest way to describe Gun it’s also accurate to a certain extent.

 

gun          gun

 

After an introductory tutorial which provides training for bullet-time quick draw, switching weapons, riding horses, swigging a flask of “health” the story takes off from there and revolves around outright revenge and the Cross of Coronado, last seen in the opening of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  The trail to scoring ultimate revenge isn’t that long (maybe 6 to 7 hours on Normal difficulty) but it sure is a bloody one.  You’ll slaughter many Indians with an assortment of authentic-looking period weapons, crush a train, watch a whore have her throat slit, kill horses, blow the heads of bandits, and so on.  If it sounds like wanton destruction that’s because it is – the violence is over the top during the main storyline.

 

During some of the optional side missions Colton can perform more mundane (and less head-exploding) tasks like herding cattle, playing games of poker or mining gold.  Unfortunately there aren’t too many of these side quests to really hold your interest once the main story is complete.  Ostensibly the side missions are included so Colton can upgrade his gunslinging stats – finishing a mission automatically allocates experience points – but in the end it feels more like padding because on Normal difficulty upgrading Colton’s stats doesn’t seem important since it’s a very forgiving setting.  Overall, Gun is a forgiving game with plenty of mid-mission saves, 

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which helps eliminates the frustration of having to start a mission from scratch because you miscalculated something near the end of the mission.

 

(Side note: We received a letter via email from Joel Jewett, President of Neversoft, noting that the Normal setting was designed for casual gamers and that, “Experienced first and third person action gamers should, at 

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minimum, play the game on the "Hard" or "Insane" difficulty settings to enjoy the full intensity of the game. At these levels it also becomes imperative that the player work through the side missions to build their character's attributes in order to complete the more difficult story missions.”  This is a fair statement to make so I’ll include it here to somewhat offset my own view that the game is easy even playing on the Hard difficulty setting.)

 

Besides some very graphic violence, Gun also showcases more than a few words that although accurate to the time period will likely offend some players.  For example, “coolie.” (Gun earned its “M” rating so parents PAY ATTENTION!)  The rest of the audio aspect of Gun is extremely good.  Besides some very convincing ambient sound like prairie breezes, there is the vocal support of Lance Henriksen, Chris Christopherson, and Ron Pearlman.  In a lightning-fast story we don’t really get to know any of the characters but they do sound good.

 

Gun is getting a lot of negative feedback in regard to its seemingly haphazard graphical port.  It’s been pointed out before that Gun on the Xbox 360 looks pretty much the same as Gun on a Playstation 2 or regular Xbox, though it’s $10US more.  There is something to this – there’s not a whole lot different between the Xbox and 360 versions aside from a bit more detail (based on a side-by-side screenshot comparison).  But because I’ve only played the 360 on a regular TV I can’t speak to what it looks like on a HD television, but there are still problems with the game engine.  During one mission that has Colton escaping an enemy fort, leading the way for some captured Indians, the accompanying Indians walk right through Colton.  This isn’t just a “clipping” of arms or something – the Indians walk right through him!  Overall, it’s an okay looking game and the horse animation is great (as long as you don’t run into anything).

 

gun          gun

 

Gun does a good job mixing in classic Western film situations – sniping a hangman’s noose, for example, taken right from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – into the context of the game to make it feel familiar and new at the same time.  It’s just unfortunate it’s over all too soon, because there is some good action here – the execution is just a bit off.  However, it’s still good to see Neversoft branch out from the Tony Hawk series.  I know Neversoft was also involved with the early Spider-Man games and a couple other action games in the Playstation era, but Neversoft has been typecast as “that Tony Hawk developer.”  They’ve laid a good foundation with Gun because the basic mechanics are sound but a more populated game world with more to do and a more extensive story would bring the whole experience from a rental on a slow weekend to an outright purchase.

 

- Omni

(December 18, 2005)

 

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