10 Things That Are Wrong with Redfall

Arkane's open world shooter is a letdown in many ways- here are a few of them.

Posted By | On 05th, May. 2023

10 Things That Are Wrong with Redfall

Redfall feels like Arkane’s Anthem moment. Here’s a studio that has made a name of itself as one of the best developers in a specific genre, but has, for some reason, decided to veer completely off track to chase a few trends. Arkane’s new open world looter shooter loses so much of what the developer’s best games have always been known for, an issue that is exacerbated by the fact that the new things it does attempt, it doesn’t really succeed at. Redfall is a massive disappointment, and here, we’re going to talk about some of the biggest reasons why.

BAD AI

You’d expect the studio that made Dishonored and Prey to have excellent enemy AI in its games, but Redfall falls woefully short of those expectations. It’s almost hard to believe how stupid most enemies in the game are. Not only are they all too happy to stand in plain view while you take shots at them, they’re not very good at dishing out damage on their own either. Of course, the vampires do ramp things up a bit on this front – some varieties more so than others – but by and large, owing to the poor enemy AI, combat in Redfall seems to lack any urgency or any real sense of challenge, and ends up becoming a rather repetitive affair not too deep into the game.

CONTROLLER ISSUES

Combat in Redfall has other issues beyond the poor AI, especially if you’re playing on an Xbox Series X/S, in that playing the game with a controller can be a bit of a nightmare. Thanks to a deadly combination of input lag, stuttering, camera acceleration, and aggressive motion blur, aiming feels clunky and unresponsive. Heading into the menu to turn input response sensitivity down and controller sensitivity up will help alleviate this issue, but it still never really feels the way it should. Now, Arkane has never really been known for its tight action gameplay, but unlike the studio’s past titles, Redfall is a straight up first person shooter, which makes these issues that much harder to forgive.

LACKLUSTER STEALTH

redfall

This is another shock. Arkane has built its reputation on incredible stealth mechanics across multiple games over the years, and even though Redfall is, as we just mentioned, a straight up shooter, we did expect its stealth mechanics to be at a certain level of quality. To say that it fails to match that standard would be a massive understatement. The poor enemy AI is enough of a blow to the stealth side of the experience as it is, but you don’t even have a mechanic as basic as stealth takedowns. You can sneak up behind enemies, but to take them down stealthily, there’s no dedicated takedown animation. You just melee them in the back and they crumble to the floor. For a studio that has delivered some of the best stealth games we’ve ever played, that’s shockingly bad.

BLAND OPEN WORLD

Arkane has tried a lot of things with Redfall that it has never taken a crack at in the past. One of them is open world design, and sadly, it’s pretty much a failed experiment. Redfall’s open world is not totally without merit- the town has a cool vibe, and many of the interiors and locations you visit are loaded with detail in the way you’d expect to see from an Arkane title. But the bad far outweighs the good here. The open world’s biggest problem is that for the most part, it just feels too empty. There’s not enough in there to pull you in its direction, the side activities on offer are rote and uninteresting, exploration doesn’t feel very rewarding, and there are large stretches of real estate that are just completely empty and have almost nothing going on. Completely skipping the open world part of the experience to just overuse the generous fast travel system may very well be how many people end up playing the game.

TERRIBLE MISSION DESIGN

redfall

A lot of Redfall’s biggest issues would be easy to forgive if it had least had players undertaking interesting missions, but sadly, this is yet another area where the game fails to make any kind of a mark. Not only does the game make next to no attempt to make you care in the slightest about the narrative context of the mission or side quest you’re on (more on this in a bit), what you’re actually doing on those missions isn’t that interesting either. A lot of that is down to the fact that the game is very combat-oriented, and the combat, as we’ve mentioned, isn’t exactly stellar. On top of that, however, it’s also massively disappointing that so many of the quests in the game end up having boring, straightforward, and repetitive objectives that leave you wondering what the point of that quest you just did even was, other than gaining XP.

Oh, and speaking of XP…

BORING LOOT AND PROGRESSION

Redfall has gone down the looter shooter route and adopted a number of RPG mechanics, but progression in the game is, in a word, quite dull. You gain skill points by leveling up, which you then spend on skills that though not completely without value, hardly ever do anything that can’t be described as “basic”. Then you have the loot, which ends up feeling almost entirely meaningless. There is some variety in the weapons, and the likes of UV lights in particular can be quite fun to use, but when you get into the nitty gritties of a weapon’s rarity, its stats, its perks, and what have you, it all feels too granular and makes little to no impact.

NONEXISTENT STORYTELLING

Since Redfall was first revealed, we’ve spoken countless times about how cool its premise is. Stranded in a town that’s been overtaken by vampires who’ve blocked out the sun? Sign us up, right? Disappointingly enough, however, that premise is completely wasted. Story and storytelling take a massive backseat in Redfall in more ways than one. Cutscenes are just still images with voice overs, characters have next to no personality or development (to the point where they may as well not even have names), and even the notes that you find in the environment are mostly boring filler (the fact that there’s what feels like thousands of them doesn’t help). How de-emphasized the story is in Redfall is all the evidence you need that this is clearly a game that was designed first and foremost with co-op in mind. That, incidentally, brings us to our next point.

NOT FIT FOR SINGLE PLAYER

Arkane stressed on no few occasions in the lead up to Redfall’s launch that in spite of its focus on co-op, this is a game that is still going to offer a solid single player experience for those who want to play it completely solo. That simply isn’t the case. On top of the issues with the game’s story and storytelling, Redfall also has a number of other problems that make it clear that playing it solo is not the intended experience. Take the abilities, for instance- the game splits its ability pool across four playable characters, but that means every character is left with just two that you’re going to be using throughout the game. Those abilities are also on pretty lengthy cooldowns, which means the game ends up relying too much on gunplay- which, again is subpar. Other, smaller issues also highlight the fact that Redfall isn’t a great solo experience- like not being able to pause even when you’re playing single player, for instance.

Unfortunately, however, even co-op comes with its fair share of foibles.

CO-OP ISSUES

redfall

Playing Redfall with friends is inarguably a better experience than playing it solo, but even that has some significant caveats. The biggest of them all, the elephant in the room, is progress being tied exclusively to the host. Only the host player gets progress from completing missions and side quests, which means when you get back to your own game, you’re going to have to replay missions that you’ve already finished while playing co-op. Even setting up a game isn’t as quick and easy as it should be, since there’s no drop-in drop-out support. The co-op experience also isn’t as untethered as Arkane suggested prior to launch it would be- though the entire open world is freely explorable with or without the other players in your party, certain missions, as an example, won’t begin until all players are present for it. Having all of these issues in a co-op game in 2023 is… well, let’s just be mild about it and say it baffles us.

TECHNICAL ISSUES GALORE

The games industry never goes too long without major triple AAA titles that launch with major technical issues, and Redfall, sadly enough, is another name in that long list. Sometimes, it will randomly stop letting you crouch or sprint. Sometimes, specific items needed to progress in a quest simply won’t spawn in the world. Sometimes, you won’t be able to deal any damage to specific enemies. Sometimes, you’ll get stuck in an endless running animation, even when you’re completely stationary. Sometimes, the game won’t let you open up the menu. Sometimes, the cursor in the menu will remain stuck on the screen even during gameplay and cutscenes. Then there’s aggressive texture pop-in, poor draw distances, wonky animations, frame rate drops, some semi-rare instances of hard crashes, t-posing NPCs, and so much more. To call this a technically rough game would be an understatement.


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