While the competitive multiplayer genre is far from danger of ever going away, nor should it be, it’s also nice to see the cooperative first-person shooter genre getting a lot more love these days. Fans of games like Left 4 Dead have more options now than they ever have in terms of games to play where they can buddy up with a few people and take on hordes of various enemies and accomplish various tasks in a cooperative fashion. It is true that not every game in this genre ends up being a success as some of them can come off as too derivative or cookie-cutter, but there are a lot of examples of the formula working out quite well, especially with games that put their own spin on the format like the Vermintide game and other titles that haven’t released yet but are showing plenty of promise like Back 4 Blood.
Another game that seems to be throwing its hat in the ring is Redfall by none other than Arkane Studios working under the Bethesda umbrella of course. The game was announced recently with a trailer that dropped and showed us quite a bit of the world that Arkane is trying to build here. By the end of the trailer, it’s pretty obvious that this is a unique take on the cooperative shooter format and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about it. But as with any newly-announced game concrete details are still fairly scarce but we can come up with plenty of reasons to recommend keeping an eye on this project as it continues to develop and get closer to launch. So here are the top 5 reasons why I’m looking forward to Redfall and you probably should be as well.
Unique, well-defined characters
It seems to be a prerequisite to having a successful cooperative game, as all of the better ones do have memorable characters that are well-defined and just as unique from one another as they are complementary to each other. Redfall seems to totally understand that with characters that are strikingly different, uniquely interesting, and all seem to fit within this world extremely well. Devinder Crousley seems to be very enthusiastic about data collection and has a science-minded approach to everything. He doesn’t waste time being shocked by the dead body of a monster but instead instantly starts analyzing it to better understand the situation.
Layla Ellison has quite the attitude which seems to fit her combat style of a more aggressive gunner. She also seems to be sporting some pretty powerful telekinetic abilities that allow her to form useful barriers and other things that give her team an edge. Jacob clearly is a bit more reserved but seems to balance that out nicely by being extremely deadly from quite a distance as an excellent sniper. His raven companion and his glowing eye are likely part of the equation here as well. Remi de la Rosa and her robotic friend Bribon seem to have the engineer role down pat and look like they’ll prove useful in more tactful situations. It’s an interesting cast that puts the bland, two-dimensional characters of most cooperative games to shame and I’m very interested to see how they impact the story and lore of the game.
It’s not a huge deal on paper, but it looks like the way these characters are going to impact combat is not just with weapon preferences and a couple of earthly abilities. The characters in Redfall clearly have supernatural abilities that will vastly differentiate from each other in terms of how they play and different advantages that they’ll bring to the battlefield. Surely not every cooperative game needs these sorts of supernatural abilities – it all depends on the context – but in a world like this where everything seems to have fallen apart because of supernatural vampires – it makes perfect sense. If the small taste of what we saw in the trailer is any indication, then the supernatural abilities of these characters may just end up being the hook that makes this game stand apart from the herd when all is said and done.
While the success of the cooperative shooter is undeniable at this point it’s also equally undeniable that the genre is in need of some new ideas if it’s going to continue grow in popularity anymore, and Redfall seems to have us covered on that with an open world design. Whether that means the entire game will take place in a massive open-world or if certain levels will still be linear like most other similar games but within the greater context of an open world remains to be seen, but the fact that they are going this route does open the door for a lot of new opportunities for the genre to take some twists and turns that we might not have expected. If they can mix the ideas from some of gaming’s better open world games with the ideas of some of gaming’s better cooperative online shooters, then we could really be in for a special experience that evolves the genre of which it is a part rather than just fitting within it’s already defined parameters.
An interesting enemy
For those of us out there who are tired of hearing about games filled with zombies and the undead – and all of the tortured names that different games give the exact same type of enemy, we can take solace in the fact that the enemies of this game are going to be fairly different, at least in concept. Redfall is about vampires, but not just any vampires, these are vampires that have undergone failed scientific experiments that have produced a wide range of results for them that have mixed with their already-otherworldly abilities in various ways. That opens up the door for a lot of variety and based on what we see in the trailer it looks like the developers are going to maximize that potential as much as they can by throwing a good variety of enemies at us throughout the experience. On top of the supernatural powers and the open-world design of the game this is going to be something that really helps make this game stand out from its genre and hopefully set a higher standard for enemy variety going forward.
Need I say more? The same developer that brought us the Dishonored games and the Prey reboot are the game group of extremely talented folks making Redfall. Given everything that we’ve seen about the game so far with crazy abilities and over-the-top characters this really shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but it’s still extremely good news and should Inspire confidence in anybody who’s curious about the game. The track record of Arkane Studios so far is a very good one, so if nothing else we should be relatively confident that the game is in good hands and will at the bare minimum be a fun experience worth trying out. We’re going to have to wait and see if the game truly pans out to stand among the other greats of its genre but with Arkane Studios at the helm I think it’s fair to say that it’s got a pretty good shot.
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