Gun Xbox 360 Review

Welcome to the DarkZero review of Gun for the Xbox360, most of you probably know that this is basically the same game as its older counterparts with little or no changes been made to any parts of the game. In fact the gameplay is exactly the same as its PS2 and Xbox counterparts so you might notice all of our Gameplay text is exactly the same as it was in Johelian’s review of the game on older systems. Due to the fact of the graphics, lifespan and to a lesser extent the sound getting slight upgrades these sections are brand new so read on to see if Gun should be added to your ever-growing 360 collection.

Gameplay

Gun eases you into its world gently with a reasonably relevant tutorial that sees you shooting various varmints and creeping around to avoid detection before throwing you into the meat of the matter. You accompany your supposed “father” onto a riverboat, only for it to suddenly be ambushed by natives and unpleasant looking cowpokes, all of whom seem to have something against your old man. Before the ship is destroyed, your father has time to shout one thing at you – “I’m not your dad!” before you are thrown overboard and miss the grand finale. You wake up conveniently on a nearby shore sometime later, and are now faced with some difficult questions; who was the man on the boat? Why did they want him killed? Wouldn’t it be easier to murder this old man and take his horse rather than take part in a pointless race around the clearing?

Controls are pretty straight-forward; you carry one weapon of each type (the best one you have taking the place of the ones before it), and can switch between them using the directional pad. Rifles are excellent for long range shots, shotguns will blast a hole in anything at close range, molotovs are great for roasting a bunch of clumsy baddies – you’ve seen this stuff before. Every ranged weapon can be zoomed in in first-person mode to make tricky shots; as well as this, the good-ol’ bullet-time feature makes an appearance allowing you to quick-draw and fill that sucker full of lead before he’s even laid a hand on his gun. Colt can also duck behind obstacles and peek out around the edge of walls, although most enemies seem to prefer rushing you and so a quick trigger finger is usually more important than sneaking about. As a matter of fact, the sneaking option seems fundamentally flawed in the same way that Red Dead Revolver’s was; enemies just seem to be able to either see or sense you, no matter what’s between you and them. This is a little frustrating; thankfully, unlike Red Dead, none of the missions really depend solely on you being able to remain unseen, and so this is a minor niggle.

As well as swaggering about with a pistol slung about your waist, horse-riding is really the way to show off your outlaw skills. Horses can, thankfully, be found pretty much all over the map; if you can’t steal someone else’s, there are several herds of wild mustangs roaming the terrain that can be used at a pinch. This is handy, as moving around on foot takes forever; you really don’t want to be stuck in some out-of-the-way location without a mount. Horses can be forced to gallop at high speeds to get you out of trouble, leap over obstacles or even trample your foes to death; however, a horse only has a limited endurance level, and will eventually die if abused too much. This can have its benefits; shooting out the horse of a bandit and seeing him catapulted to the ground never loses its appeal, particularly if you can then run over the top of him with your own steed before he recovers. Ah, the joys of the West.

The game is divided into several missions ala GTA; the first few of these take place in the large Dodge City, although you will eventually be expected to move further a field to carry out tasks elsewhere. This is perhaps the game’s real downside, as the game takes place in roughly four towns, with two being the primary locations and the others being almost an afterthought. With the game’s potential for exploration and freedom, the map feels intensely claustrophobic at times; one can’t help but feel that the map feels about half the size it really should be. As well as the major missions, there are plenty of side quests to carry out; Pony Express missions if you feel like pushing your horse practically to death, hunting and cattle wrangling…there’s even a poker table at the bar if you feel like robbing the locals of a few coins. If the fever takes you, you could even go searching for gold in the mountains – just don’t forget to buy your shovel first.

The game’s missions are diverse, with the story leading you through several different scenarios and situations and ensuring a bit of variety; unfortunately all of it just feels like it’s over too soon. This is a real shame, as what’s there is great; there just isn’t enough of it.

Graphics

This is where the 360 version of Gun falls through the salon doors bumps into a poker table and collapse on a rickety old stool next to the bar. From the moment you first start playing it is evident that the game was developed to push the older machines that sit next to our TV. Nowadays the Xbox360 version of a game should be classed as the definitive version (at least in graphical terms) and the recent King Kong has already shown that it is possible to add some next-gen sheen to a last-gen game. Sadly Neversoft have added no sheen at all, sure the game does run at that fabled 720p that it is so important these days but instead of making the game look that bit better it just facilitates in exposing many of the flaws the game has.

Sound

In my opinion I found most of the game audio to be of a high standard with the voice acting having lots of emotion and feeling behind it. The main reason for this high quality voice acting comes from the game using actors from Hollywood to voice their game. Thomas Jane from Deep Blue Sea plays Colton White, while Lance Henriksen from Aliens and Brad Dourif from the TV show Deadwood play other important characters in the game. With these three names alone you should be expecting great things but there are also a few unknown people who put in good performances as lesser characters to bring the whole game together. Music, while not as good as the voice acting, is up to a good standard and has an epic feel to it. This epic feel may not suit the western style of the game very well but it does have some interesting tunes through the course of the game. Finally the sound effects are just as you would expect them to be, with all the oomphs and bumps included. The gunfire should be singled out for special praise as it sounds amazing, especially when heard on a 5.1 sound system.

Lifespan

Many of the main missions are very easy and most of them are also are very short. In fact there are only a handful of challenging mission and even less that last a significant amount of time. Interestingly the boss battles are of an extremely different nature, so much so that they feel like they were done by a completely different team of developers. Most, if not all of the boss fights are old school trial-and-error affairs where you must study a pattern and understand what the boss will do next then figure out how to hurt them. All but one or two of the boss fights are very challenging and are hard to give you a sense of pride after you beat them.

Other reason you might want to keep playing come in the form of improving Colton’s stats for things like gun handling, melee weapons, and quick draw. These improvements are done by completing the side quests the game sets you. It has to be said that you will probably complete the main game before you do all the side quest so there is not really much incentive to want to complete the full game other than getting all the Gamerscore point that are available if you are that way inclined.

Overall

Ultimately the 360 version of Gun is a last-gen game with a shiny new coat of paint. Sadly playing it also has comparisons with watching paint dry as it can be very boring and uninspired at times. Sure there are lots of interesting features in the game but none of them really scream next-gen. If you really need to have the game then you should check out the Xbox or PS2 version which will save you around £10 but if you want to convince yourself to buy the 360 version then all it offers you sharp visuals and Gamerscore features. In our opinion these addition are not worth the money but remember the 360 offers you the ability to turn it off with a remote controller which could be a lifesaver as the game can get very annoying at times.

6.8 out of 10

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