versions PC, Xbox Series X/S. Also available at Xbox Series X/S (2/5/2023).
It’s normal to have doubts red fall. He shooter in an open world with co-op that’s been in development for five years, it might look like a very different game from the titles we identify with Arkane Studios, those games with a focused and careful level design, very systemic, and that offers a thousand options to the players to overcome challenges in a creative way. Yes, it’s partially different, but after playing nearly two hours of a preview version, we can reassure fans of disgraced, prey It is death loop: Arkane’s DNA is very present.
Four heroes and an ex-boyfriend against vampires
red fall takes us to the island with the same name, where a privileged group carried out experiments in search of immortality and managed to vampiric chaos unleashed at the place. Those who have not died or turned into bloodthirsty beasts try to survive in a place completely isolated from the outside: vampires have opened the waters and interrupted communications. As if that weren’t enough, they have sects arose that worshiped the gods from beyond the grave who share dominion over different areas, so their weapons increase the prey threat.
But the four protagonists (more will arrive in the future as additional paid content) that we can choose from are not mere survivors, but will do everything in their power to make that happen. the sun shines again in redfall, even if it means using thousands of bullets and hundreds of stakes to defeat the vampiric deities. Each of them has its own narrative and playable personalitywhich is demonstrated just by looking at their skill treescomposed of significant feats that alter the abilities of some powers reminiscent of those seen in previous Arkane games.
jacob focuses on stealth and tagging enemies to take them down from afar with a sniper; Devinder uses gadgets that allow him to use an evolved version of Corvo’s wink and a stun rod like Gandalf’s staff; with remi very creative moves can be made by mixing dynamite with a robot that follows your orders; and the one we choose laylais a half-vampire capable of summoning an umbrella that absorbs and spits out bullets, an elevator with which We move around the stages with great freedom and verticalityand she might enlist the help of her vampire ex-boyfriend to wreak havoc among the enemies.
Great level design beyond the main quests
None of this stands alone: the level design must match so that it is necessary, or at least advisable, to take advantage of all this. We managed to play through one of the main missions which, from what we saw in the menus, branch out and can be completed in a different order. the goal was investigate the scientist’s laboratory that he became one of the vampire gods to try and find a way to kill him. Arriving at the place we found a huge mansion, filled with alternate entrances, guarded by dozens of vampires, bloodsucking rays, and gun-toting cultists.
Accessing the weapon by shooting anything that moves was not an option: three or four vampires can make things very difficult., as they are very resistant and to kill them you have to get close, either to stake them by exposing the heart, to set them on fire with flares or to petrify them with ultraviolet light. so you had to move around the spacious and labyrinthine mansion, using creativity and a little discretioncatching opponents off guard and using our spectral elevator to evade or get into advantageous positions.
We really liked it in terms of game design, it was Arkane straight and tough, and it was like that in the narrative too.. The place was full of storytelling details, in addition to the usual documents, and all wrapped in a somber tone. Not in vain, the mission led us to look for three figures in the environment, with no indication other than a note of the approximate location, which we then had to place in a dollhouse to teleport us to a distorted version and terrifying of the mansion.
If this main quest is representative of the rest of the game’s quests, red fall It makes clear the study behind it and the type of gameplay we can expect, even being inserted in an open world. But what about the other missions? To our surprise, a schoolgirl who took us to find a popcorn machine in a movie theater placed in front of us a vertical scenery, full of nooks and crannies, typical of the best Arkane and which even showed us types of vampires that we had not seen before. Not everyone will be like that, admitted to us in an interview Creative Director Ricardo Barewhich says that there will be missions more focused on fighting vampires and others focused on the narrative of the inhabitants of the island.
The importance of the open world: an even more systemic game
The crucial question is what co-op and open world bring to all of that. We couldn’t test the cooperative, but simply looking at the skills of the protagonists, the synergies between them and the possibilities that open up with a little ingenuity are clear. On the other hand are the open worlds. Yes, in the plural. What We Explore, Medium in size and centrally located city, is controlled by a vampiric deity. It seems to serve as a tutorial compared to the another, much broader according to Bare, with three gods in permanent conflict, as well as the sects that follow each one, which can be used to our advantage. But what good is introducing these more or less complicated locations into a wider setting? Arkane’s seal only: the systemic, how some mechanics mix with others.
There are many common elements of the genre. They don’t miss map with icons of the missions, the Headquarters where to equip yourself and where other characters offer quests and conversations, the patrols of vampires and their followers, the survivors to save of their kidnappers, the brief pop-up activities we found on the streets and the shelters that function as fast travel points They are unlocked by turning on a nearby generator, drawing the attention of surrounding enemies. But there are also very interesting ideas. One of them is the Thunder. As we complete missions and kill vampires, a bar fills up indicating that the area’s deity is watching us. Once full, it summons that huge bloodsucker, a veritable mass that we can only defeat by giving our all in combat, and that can appear at any moment, even in the middle of a main quest.
On the other hand are the vampire nests. Where and when they appear is random, as is their design. These are dreamlike places where different zones are procedurally mixed with colorful decoration. The goal is sneak up trying not to wake the sleeping vampires, break the heart from the bottom, and against the clock, explore the cameras that surround you to obtain equipment, and if possible, find the exit door so that the objects obtained improve. The key to the nests is that have an increasing radius of influence that makes vampires within that zone twice as powerfulso you constantly have to assess whether it’s worth risking getting into one of them or going into the quest you play knowing it’s going to be complicated because it’s affected by the nest.
This first contact with red fall he left us more than comfortable with the level design of the missions and managed to answer what the open world contributes to the essence of Arkane, but we are still left with doubts and there are details that have not finished convincing us. Traveling around the world to get from one point to another is not very exciting, we would like the artificial intelligence of enemies would have gone a step further than what is usual in these games, it remains to be seen whether enough variety is offered in the nests and in the activities that we find on our way, the gun game could be more satisfying and we’re left with the fear that we could be a lot of time in the menus comparing stats of the many weapons that we find at every step.
A great visual and sound environment
What I know is reassuring is that even with a large open world, Arkane retains its ability to tell stories with environments. It is true that red fall it’s not a technical wasteat least facing the gallery, but facing the streets, the houses, the shops, the parks; everything is packed with details that add to the environmental storytelling, for the construction of the world. Equally careful is the music: It’s amazing how he sets the stage, how he heightens situations, how he disrupts. And neither the effects nor the dubbing to spanish they fall behind
Any fan of immersive simulators has reason to be excited about red fall. The time we spent with the game, which seemed very short, made it clear to us that the good job on level design, use of blending mechanics, and giving players freedom to face the challenges stay here; and that the open world greatly enhances this, although it is true that we continue with the fly behind our ear due to the possible repetitiveness that it can introduce. As has already happened to death loopthe new Arkane is an attempt to make your good ideas reach a wider audiencebut there is nothing to fear when your foundations are as strong as shown here.
We made these impressions after testing a preview PC version at an event we were invited to by Ziran.