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Redfall review
William Thompson


So much at stake...

A few days later…

Like many who played Redfall on Day 1, I encountered several issues mainly with the visuals. I noted several enemies seemingly stuck behind objects that enabled me to simply take pot shots at them without any danger. I got stuck in one location that required me to quit back to the main menu and I had some slight issues with frame rate drops when encountering several vampires at once. But all these issues were minor and did not reduce the fun I had staking vampires and removing cult members from the town of Redfall.

For those who are unaware, the game gets its name from the town in which it is set. The island of Redfall in Massachusetts has players taking on the role of one of four playable characters as they attempt to save the town that is under siege by a legion of vampires who have blocked out the sun and cut the citizens off from the outside world. The four playable characters are quite diverse in appearance and abilities and will each offer some variation in gameplay and will require slightly different strategies when getting from one location to the next. And although each has a different back story, they're each trapped on the island thanks to their ship being stranded before they could flee.

Diverse characters

Jacob Boyer is the sharpshooter of the quartet and quite handy with a sniper rifle. His two main special powers encourage a stealthy approach to the game. He can send out a raven as a way to provide reconnaissance of nearby enemies. He can also cloak himself for a short period of time enabling him to sneak around behind enemy lines. It is also quite handy when you encounter groups of cultists, as players can pick off several from a distance and then cloak themselves to reload. Each character also has an Ultimate power, and in the case of Jacob, is called the Heartstopper – which places him in stealth mode and then allows Jacob to pinpoint nearby enemies. It is quite a powerful attack but can only be used sparingly. As is the case of all the Ultimates, the power bar builds up as players take on enemies, which for Jacob, seems somewhat counter-intuitive for the stealthy approach.

Remi de la Rosa reminds me a bit of FL4K from Borderlands 3, the character with an animal sidekick. In the case of Remi, her sidekick is a robot named Bribon that she engineered herself. One of Remi’s abilities allows her to send out Bribon as a decoy allowing her to freely take down enemies that are now not focussed on killing her. Her other main skill involves a C4 charge. Remi can plant (or throw) the charge wherever she wants and then detonate from afar. This was great for throwing in the middle of a group of cultists, enabling her to round up the remnants.

The other two characters are Devinder Crously and Layla Ellison. Devinder's inventions are his special powers. One is a javelin that can electrocute those nearby when planted in the ground, whilst his other invention is a portable version of the Star Trek transporter, allowing him to immediately jump to a different location, often to a higher ledge out of harm’s way. Layla has telekinetic abilities, the first being an umbrella shield whilst her other skill is the use of a telekinetic elevator that allows her to move vertically with ease. Her ultimate ability is quite a unique one, in that it conjures up an ex-boyfriend of hers and he seeks out and helps to kill nearby enemies.

The missions are reasonably varied, with players tasked with completing tasks such as capturing safehouses, searching for important items and finding out about the Aevum company and its links to the vampire scourge. These missions will have players tracking back and forth across the somewhat deserted town. Anyone who has decided to venture outside is a target, being either a cultist, a Bellwether Security agent, or a vampire. And although there is some backtracking and criss-crossing the island, it enables players to get familiar with the island and different ways in which to move from one location to the next. Indeed, the use of verticality enables players to take alternate routes to their destination. And once players free safehouses and find historical markers, they can use these to fast travel between.

A nice juicy stake

Combat in Redfall feels somewhat like Borderlands, with each of the characters and their two special abilities and ultimate power. Players can fill their backpack with as many weapons as they can carry but can only have three to use at any one time. Players will need to have at least one of these attached with a stake so that vampires can be vanquished. Shooting vampires only does half the job, reducing their energy bar. Once it has been reduced completely, they can then be staked which will disintegrate them. However, players will have a limited time to drive the stake through their hearts - take too long and the vampire will re-generate health and you will need to start again. Battling vampires is definitely far more challenging than the pawn-like cultists or even the more militarized Bellwether security, particularly when there are several vampires together.

My one gripe is that if players decide they want to take the stealthy approach and sneak around (or over) certain areas, they will still generally be forced to confront the vampires at close range (apart from the watcher who can be sniped from a distance) as they'll need to be close enough to stake them.

The similarity to the Borderlands series is further accentuated when it come to the looting. Players will be able to pick up any weapon that is lying around, and as is the case with Borderlands, each of the available weapons have their own stats. Players will spend some time sorting through the collected weapons to find which ones that they want to keep and then cashing in those that are no longer needed. But as well as picking up weapons scattered around Redfall or from fallen enemies, the firehouse (as your home base for the first section of the game) also provides a chance to purchase some better-quality weapons, but at a premium cost.

Of all the weapons, I found that the shotguns were reasonably overpowered. Even when playing as Jacob, I often found myself forgoing a sniper rifle altogether as I moved throughout the town taking out cultists with a few well-placed shots from an assault rifle and then getting in close to the vampires with the shotgun which temporarily halts their speedy progress towards you. Having said that, the various Special Vampires and the Vampire Underbosses do provide for a challenge. Each of these will require a slightly different strategy to defeat. I found the Siphon to be one of the more difficult special vampires, as they are often surrounded by an energy shield and can siphon a player's health to replenish their own.

Luckily, environments can be used to your advantage as well. Shooting at electrical boxes will electrocute nearby enemies and shooting oil barrels, gas cylinders or even cars will cause large explosions – substantially damaging both human and supernatural enemies.

Something to sink your teeth into

Despite the several issues I had with graphical glitches and needing to restart on a couple of occasions, Redfall is an enjoyable experience. The story is somewhat of a slow build, told through its visual novel style approach, but kept me wanting to find out more about how Redfall came to be in such a predicament. But it is the combat and setting that provides for the most enjoyment. The opportunity to tackle problems from literally different angles and heights allow Redfall to be played with a variety of strategies. And when you team up with several friends in co-op, a whole new way of playing the game emerges with each character providing for a different approach.

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fun score


Fun combat, interesting story


Visual glitches, frame rate drops