Redfall review ongoing – IGN

Redfall review ongoing - IGN

With Redfall arriving at IGN just a few days before its official release date, we haven’t had enough time to do a final review – certainly not without becoming a nocturnal monster of your own and staying up all weekend. Having said that, I have to admit that after several sessions – alone, in co-op with a friend, and also in a group of three – I’m completely overwhelmed by Redfall’s vanilla missions and its lifeless world, and very disappointed by the long list of visual bugs.

Redfall is a marked departure from Deathloop and Dishonored. Sure, some of that arcane DNA seeped into the finished product – mostly in the magical abilities of the four charged protagonists available – but Redfall’s open-world approach to modern-day Massachusetts is a little more mundane by comparison. Not only does Redfall’s architecture feel a little tasteless compared to Deathloop’s funky retro-futurism and Dishonored’s Victorian setting, but it also seems to absorb little when I stop to explore.

Perhaps best described as Far Cry with a supernatural bent, Redfall’s premise seems simple: conquer the city from the drooling vampires and their human minions who have invaded it. Unfortunately, the experience so far seems surprisingly dull and broken on a regular basis. I seem to be just over halfway through, and the mission design seems largely geared towards scouring through different locations around town, looking for random items and picking them up, putting them down, or turning them on or off. Sometimes a locked door is in play, but a key to it lies somewhere nearby – waiting to be discovered at random. It’s just not interesting; It’s just a lot of walking around rooms looking at boring props until one of us accidentally highlights the one we need.

Even the wacky and otherworldly vampire lairs, which essentially act as enemy camps you can attack for loot, seem like a disappointment. These nightmarish nests, remixing and distorting bits of the overworld and stuffing them into twisting tunnels leading to a vast and haunted heart that must be destroyed, quickly became a chore – especially when I realized the same segments were being recycled and reused in subsequent nests.

fangs to come

With four heroes to choose from, each with three special abilities – plus co-op support for up to four players – there are objectively many ways you and a team of friends can approach combat in Redfall. At its best, players will strategically teleport around, summon a ghostly sniper rifle, or summon a friendly vampire ex-boyfriend to fight at your side – like a David Boreanaz foray. It’s kinetic and it’s gory and there Are Moments where it comes together in battles where Blade would dunk his sunglasses in disbelief. Unfortunately, such moments are infrequent at best, and I think it’s probably because Redfall’s enemies lack the wits to put up a stimulating fight.

Human enemies seem largely uninterested in taking cover in a firefight, and I had snipers charging at me like medieval knights. However, the vampires are definitely the worst of the bad guys, charging and beating us like mindless beasts. Worse, they seem miserably underutilized as frightening threats. They often just float around in the open – apparently sleeping peacefully. They just hover, waiting for us to go straight for them and attack them – sometimes completely unaware that you’ve just turned the vampire next to them to dust.

It would have been easier to look beyond simple combat if the rest of Redfall had been able to get their fangs into me, but he still hasn’t and I’m skeptical he will. The story itself seems to unfold in the engine in slightly animated paintings or static dioramas. They all look like placeholders for cutscenes that aren’t coming, and I have to say that I’m fighting my way to a film projector to run a slideshow that certainly brings a cheapness to Redfall that’s hard to shake.

Redfall doesn’t save progress for any player other than the host in co-op games, which seems fair enough if you and your friends haven’t unlocked the same missions, but makes a lot less sense if all players are at identical points in the game. I started Redfall from scratch with two friends, all three of us fresh from the first mission, but while they kept their gear and XP, they now have to play those missions again.

There’s been a lot of talk about Redfall only running at 30fps at launch on Xbox Series X|S, but while it’s certainly noticeable with fast movement, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend it’s a deal breaker. As a console gamer who grew up on 50Hz TVs running at 25fps, I’m not going to throw my toys out of the stroller for that. A far more pressing issue than Redfall’s framerate on Xbox is a host of other performance issues, from textures taking an absolute age to fade in (or not loading at all), disappearing characters and animations, and other missions. break bugs.

Sometimes my friends seemed completely still, gliding across the map like chess pieces, and other times they weren’t there at all—they were just a floating weapon. On the other hand, sometimes a character appears but their weapon doesn’t – making them look like they’re playing air guitar. During the climax of an early boss fight, my character completely disappeared from my friend’s screen, turning a satisfying team win into a moment of amused laughter.

During a side mission I died trying to kill a vampire but when I came back to finish the job he was just a non-interactive blue ghost turning towards me but otherwise rooted in place. When I came back, his energy shield was there, but the vampire… wasn’t in it. During a co-op session, I found myself (more than once) unsuccessfully attacking an enemy that was right in front of me, but my friends saw him as a dead body. Sometime while I was playing solo, my Crouch and start buttons broke. They just made clicking noises. My inability to crouch persisted after death but returned when I fast traveled to a shelter. By the way, the start button does not pause the game. It’s obviously understandable when playing cooperatively online, but completely confusing and inconvenient when playing solo.

For now, Redfall isn’t the game I was expecting, certainly not after the excellent Deathloop, but you can revisit us later this week for our final assessment.

Luke is Senior Editor and part of the IGN reviews team. You can chat with him on Twitter @MrLukeReilly.

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