I didn’t have any plans on playing Weird West, but I noticed that it was out on Microsoft Game Pass, besides being released on the usual digital stores. So I thought, why not give it a go? This is not a review, it’s just my impressions from a few hours into the game. Anyway. Weird West is an action RPG set in the wild west (that is weird, as the title implies) with a focus on “immersive sim” features. And for you that don’t know, it’s when a game has many systems in place that interact with each other – like weather with fire for example.
The story begins with you having your kid murdered, and your husband kidnapped. And as it happens you used to be a famous bounty hunter – so you dig up your old revolvers and set off after the bandits. And where I left off in the game, I’m still chasing after my husband, but instead of me actually caring about him, or my dead son, or the all other NPCs I have interacted with, it feels like I’m just doing stuff off a check list. So far the story hasn’t me invested, but that can of course change later on – still, not a great start.
Some things that work well and impress me are the immersive sim functionalities. How oil interacts with fire, water with electricity, and how vultures start to feast on dead bodies, etc. Fire also spreads, and you can kick in doors, shoot them up, or just blow them off their hinges. These are just a few examples of what you can do since there is a ton of systems in the game for you to use as your own little playground. One in-game example from when I was playing was how a dust devil lifted a corpse of a man I just killed, and threw him into the fortress I was sneaking around. This alerted the guards to my dismay, even if I found it hilarious. This could have all been avoided if I had a spade on me and dug a grave for the man I killed. Small stuff like this that adds random chaos to the environment is a great addition to the game. All games should have some form of immersion sim to them, as simulating the real world, but with a few exaggerated effects, never gets old. Not to forget, Weird West got a day and night cycle too, with corresponding mechanics like people going to bed, shops closing and such. Very nice indeed.
Unfortunately, the direct combat didn’t impress me much. It’s way too fast, and on the arcade spectrum, when I was expecting a bit more of a simulated approach to it. It reminds me of top-down twitch-shooters, but here with levels and RPG features thrown in into the mix. While you gun down the first batch of bandits fairly quick, later on, they turn into bullet sponges. This combined with the extremely hectic, and chaotic combat makes the gameplay unfocused, at least for me. The speed of it is not the only issue. The camera seems to fight me at every turn, making the aiming a real pain, and trying to throw anything, like dynamite sticks, turns the game into a pure boxing match with the camera. The stealth mechanics work fine though, sneaking, climbing around, and choking out unsuspecting dudes. It’s just when it turns into combat, the game falters something hard. The companions you can pick up don’t help much either. They seem to die incredibly fast and have a bit of a suicidal streak to them, which makes me think they are a waste of money.
So, after a few hours of playing, the systems of the game impress me. The story and the general gameplay are lacking, or just don’t seem to be made for my taste (which is fine). This makes it hard to recommend since I probably won’t be playing much more myself, but if you are really craving a Diablo-esque western, I guess you can’t go wrong giving this a try!
Thanks for reading.
PS. Weird West seems to be a bit thick on the woke agenda, having almost zero white characters in a predominantly white setting, well, except for bad guys. I do recognize that this is some kind of weird fantasy world, even so, don’t expect to play or see any kind of classic Clint Eastwood characters.