Weird West - Review

Available on:      PC (reviewed, PS4, Xbox)

Developer:         Wolfeye Studios

Publisher:            Devolver Digital

Released:            March 31st 2022

Weird West is a sim like RPG in the first outing for new developer Wolfeye Studios, an indie team made up of ex Arkane Developers. Instead of a 3D first person approach the team is known for they have gone way back to their roots. Bringing back the isometric viewpoint, gameplay areas condensed into a single scene and overworld travel map reminiscent of the original Fallout games.

Weird West is set in, you guessed it the old west. Though it is a little strange, different, weird if you will… The setting here is exactly what drew me in the first place. The cool of the lawless western frontier filled with cowboys and bounty hunters crossed with sirens, flesh eating cannibals, creatures of the unknown and ghouls just to keep you on your toes.    

Your story is told through five differing journeys each told with your own unique character. During each character’s story arch, you subtly begin to understand that each is connected somehow. Each character’s storyline contributes to the core narrative of Weird West that while strange and somewhat difficult to understand becomes more apparent as you progress.

You initially start off as retired bounty hunter Jane Bell forced back into action by a heinous act. Jane is proficient in her use of weapons and is a respected and upstanding member of society. You use these traits to your advantage as you build your character using mysterious Nimp relics you find along the way. Building your character is made so much easier given that you can walk into town, find help, get supplies and even pick up a companion for your travels.

I highlight this as when you start with your next character the Pigman you are given a much different reception. You are warned that stepping into towns could have you shot on site so to level up your character and get better gear you need to wander the Weird West and make do with what you find along the way.

While more difficult it is definitely not impossible. Traveling between main objectives will have you open different areas within the map as you ride past them, be it an old mining settlement, a farmhouse or even the occasional grave yard and yes, being all things weird you can even dig up a grave to rob it of any valuables you may find.

Along your journey you’ll be faced with decisions that can have some real consequences later in the game. Let a bandit go and hear a tale of them causing mayhem and murder or help out someone dying and they can become a friend for life and help you out in a time of need. A lot of games tell you your decisions matter but they really don’t yet with Weird West you get to see the results of your actions as you play through.

The isometric single area gameplay is a nice throw back to the original Fallout games, unfortunately it also results in just as much frustrations with the controls. I found numerous times that I would lose sight of the enemy only to be gunned down or shooting the wrong way as I tried to run away or get to cover. Sneaking was also a little hit and miss with you or a body you hid being found when you should have been hidden away. The controls got that frustrating to me it prematurely ended my play through as I couldn’t put up with it any longer. Camera angles got the better of me and yet the art style is something to applaud. With touches of Borderlands and Dishonoured all thrown into this isometric view. There is nothing over the top technically like we have been seeing in other titles recently but the team have done well to showcase their talent with crisp and polished visuals.

Weird West is a great first title from the team at Wolfeye Studios and one worthy of the pedigree the members of the team are known for. It’s intriguing story and twisted take on a time we know is well worth the admission and the different decisions available means multiple play throughs are there for the willing.

While I couldn’t finish Weird West in my time so far, I will be going back to it as I believe the issues with the controls are more a me problem than anything else. Play time to finish the story I am told is around the 20-25hr mark with extras you can do after you finish or you can go again.

Weird West is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox with GamePass.  

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