Gun Review (PC)

If life in the Wild West was anything like it is portrayed in Gun, it must have been dirty, hard, difficult, violent, and short. Gun is a new action adventure game in the Tony Hawk series from Never soft set back in the Old West. It features an open range environment that you can explore and adventure through either on foot or by horse, operate a variety of missions, and carry lots of rifles and guns-all in a fascinating and engaging story line. Sounds perfect, right? Well, not exactly. While the experience is definitely interesting, it is short lived. The story missions are good, but then you turn around and the plot is already over. The whole feeling is rushed and side missions arenít enough to keep you interested all the way through.

Life was brutal and short

It features an open range environment that you can explore and adveture through either on foot or by horse

Gun is the story of Colton White: an old-fashioned cowboy and quiet gunslinger who is raised by an old yet resourceful hunter. As the story unfolds, Ned and Colton land on a steamboat with an important historical artifact that Ned has knowledge of. Someone else knows about this too, and the ship is seized with Colton barely escaping. He gets to Dodge City as Ned told him to do and here he begins a journey that will pair him with a greedy railroad bigwig and all of his wicked sidekicks.

The characters in Gun are believable and strong, and 3D cut scenes are choreographed and motion captured, making each story mission something to look forward to; they will put you on the edge of your seat. Throughout the escapade Colton will find himself on both sides of the law; he will play the part of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Even though this story is so incredibly interesting, it is over just after it starts, or so it seems. The story goes so fast youíd think it was being chased. Situations are presented that you think will introduce entire chapters but are resolved and finished with immediately. It speeds along so fast from beginning to end that you donít really have time to think or get a feel for the characters.

Although the story missions are few, they are very different, they are packed full of action, and the gameplay is good. You will have the chance to use all sorts of authentic weapons that the gunslingers use: pistols, shotguns, sharpshooters, rifles, and even dynamite. You are able to ride and fight while on your horse, which makes for some breakneck, high speed entanglements. The mechanics of the horse riding aspect are designed very well; you can shoot with pretty good aim while riding.

It is packed with a lot of action

There are all sorts of authentic weapons

Graphics in Gun are attractive, especially in the nicely animated cut scenes. The lifelike animation and realistic physics work very nicely together. Explosions will throw bystanders in all different directions hard and fast. The graphics capture the western environment pretty well; there are various lighting effects for night and day, wild animals, and, of course, tumbling tumbleweeds. The only thing that can be viewed as a visual drawback is the repetition of character models and occasional frame rate drops, but other than that the graphics are top notch.

The gameís audio is top rate, thanks to the voice acting. Kris Kristofferson is the voice of Ned, the hunter, and makes him an instantly likable character. Coltonís quiet yet confident figure is voiced perfectly by Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea) and Lance Henriksen (Aliens) and Brad Dourif (Deadwood) made very convincing, nasty sounding villains. Gunshot effects, galloping horse hooves, and all of the other sounds encompassed in the West are pretty accurate, but they donít hold a candle to the amazing voice-overs.

If you thought there would be a lot of shoot outs in Gun, you thought right; the name fits the game. There are usually groups of enemies coming at Colton at once, but a wide aim on pistols makes it possible to blast more than one foe at once. The fighting gets imaginative and Colton can slice people up with knives and hatchets if he wants to. The shooting is like the real thing, its like you can feel the power of it hitting someone. Get ready though; this game has one of the highest levels of violence and basic vulgarity. It is higher than you would expect from a western ďgentleman.Ē Itís not just ugly and dirty, itís even worse, but nobody said the Old West was easy or pretty.

There are some ideas outside of the mainstream story-line that donít really add up. For example, you can buy a scalping knife to finish off an already half dead enemy. Whatís the point? Is it for the extra blood, or does Colton just collect scalps? Maybe if he was an Indian this would be excusable, but in this setting it doesnít fit in nor does it make any sense or have a point.

There is another aspect of Gun that doesnít conform to action adventure games: free roaming is not rewarded. Here you are in this town where you can do anything you want. You can keep the peace or start trouble. If you start trouble and kill half the town, the rest goes back to normal like nothing happened. If you get killed you restart with absolutely no penalty. It is nice to have the occasional showdown and to have townspeople walking around, but there is no reward for any explorations, finds, or experimentationís as many action adventure games have.

You can keep the peace or start trouble

There are no rewards for explorations as many action adventure games have...

Gun is audibly and visually an expert game with excellent characters and some great fighting. Cut scenes, which have a tendency to be uninteresting, are one of the best things about this game. The gameplay is good and will have you paying close attention, until itís over as soon as it started. Donít blink, you may miss something!

Top game moment:
Gun gives you the feeling you are a real cowboy and gunslinger in a Wild West showdown. Thereís nothing better than a good shoot-out, especially if you win. Race through town on horseback at breakneck speeds and hear every hoof-beat of your horse while you shoot down lowlife trash while trying to finish your mission.

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