Redfall is Arcane Detoxified

Layla, Jacob and Devinder battle a vampiric enemy, a fisherman swimming in a pagoda in Redfall

Stephen Kings Salem’s Lot begins with chapter after chapter detailing the cast of characters and the Maine town in which they live. Before realizing that a vampire has come to make their home his new feeding ground, King spends a lot of time outlining the history and culture of the populace. It’s an approach used in many monster stories: give the audience a reason to care for a group of humans before they’re hunted down by blood-sucking ghouls.

redfall, the latest from Arkane Austin, reverses this setup and introduces players to the eponymous, fictional island of Massachusetts after vampires have already drained most of the life from the place. The result – roughly halfway through the story (our impressions are based on around 10 hours in a solo outing) – is a game that struggles to justify interest in the fate of its fallen city, and one that struggles to keep fresh Finding blood in all-too-familiar trends in the apocalypse genre.

As one of four characters, each with supernaturally colored backstories and accompanying special abilities, the player sets out to investigate the nature of the vampire invasion, keep a group of fellow humans alive and hopefully escape the island. The beginning is not very inspiring. redfall Begins with the player establishing a secure base of operations – in this case a fire station – and helping a group of survivors settle into their new home. There’s a stern priest, a gentle doctor, and a sleazy gunseller, each with their own storefronts, and an accompanying flock of other shallow NPCs. No member of this cast is particularly memorable, and it’s hard to evoke interest in their fate, mortal or not.

Layla, Jacob and Devinder battle a vampiric enemy, a fisherman swimming in a pagoda in Redfall

Image: Arkane Austin/Bethesda Softworks

The town of Redfall itself makes a stronger impression. It has a downtown core lined with centuries-old colonial architecture and outlying tourist attractions, including a lighthouse and museum, that mark its history as a whaling hub. As there are few horror story settings better than mid-autumn, the city lies under tall orange, yellow and red leafed trees; Many of its shop windows are decorated with pumpkins.

These locations, along with others — a dried-up, fish-studded lake bed or a shadowy, abandoned hospital, to name a few — create a stylish sense of menace, enhanced by splashes of bold ’80s red paperback fonts across menus and areas names. As you would expect from Arkane, a studio known for giving its games a strong sense of place through elaborate set attire, the interiors of these rooms are cluttered with everyday objects and discarded writings. These details inform the nature of the characters who once lived there and hint at the dark secrets underlying the vampire takeover.

The atmosphere dissipates, however, when enemies turn out to be not the terrifying otherworldly creatures, ruthless private military agents, or vicious human cultists the game makes them out to be, but mindless shooting gallery targets. A well-trained soldier responds to the first salvo of gunfire by running headlong into the corner of a movie theater, waiting to be hit in the head with a gunshot. A creature of the night launches a demonic attack by levitating towards the player in a straight line, teleporting away from a hail of bullets to retreat a bit and try the same tactic again. While the enemies occasionally demonstrate a little more creativity – vampires sometimes zigzag around the screen to dodge gunfire, and some humans set up automated turrets – they’re mostly brain dead and only pose a real threat when they’re swarming around the player and obscure one’s own vision.

washed up boats and docking materials on a dry lake bed in Redfall as a fiery moon hangs in the sky

Image: Arkane Austin/Bethesda Softworks

It’s worth noting that aiming is so suspended on Xbox Series X that the best battlefield tactics are usually to flick from side to side with a shotgun, blasting cultists and vampires as they maneuver into the crosshairs. Switching to Windows PC helped with that sluggish movement – and the general choppyness of the camera – but the gunplay still isn’t exceptional. This is a problem considering how much shooting it takes to wade through redfall‘s crowds of cultists, soldiers and vampires in any given mission.

Playing as Layla Ellison, a college student with telekinesis, is an enticing twist on the standard shooter design. But her suite of special powers doesn’t do much to confuse combat, which largely relies on mowing down waves of jerks with the weapon that has the highest damage number listed in her description. Layla can pop a large purple psychic umbrella that acts as a shield, and she can also summon her ghostly vampire ex-boyfriend to hover around and attack enemies. But those powers, along with her ability to summon a glowing mid-century elevator cage that launches herself or other players into the air, rarely add texture to the flat, unexciting gunfights.

A story that works redfall’His excellent sense of place could help push past his lackluster fight. So far the story hasn’t given much impetus to push mission after mission with decent exploration and drab gunplay. The casual writing – found in places like old notes or flashback scenes captured in ghostly dioramas – is evocative enough to color the broad strokes of the storyline with a weirdness and human drama it otherwise lacks.

With that tone taking center stage in the back half of the story, combined with plot developments that add some pizzazz to the flow, it might be easier to overlook the game’s weaker aspects and appreciate it as a compelling narrative work. At this point, however, the town of Redfall is too sucked into life for players to dwell on whether or not their vampires triumph.

redfall will be released on May 2nd on Windows PC and Xbox Series X. The game has been verified on Xbox and PC using a pre-release download code provided by Bethesda Softworks. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find For more information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy, click here.

#Redfall #Arcane #Detoxified

The worst Zelda game gets new life as a fan-made Game Boy Demake

The worst Zelda game gets new life as a fan-made Game Boy Demake

Redfall review ongoing - IGN

Redfall review ongoing – IGN