Review | Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West
Love and hate…
Format: PC/PS3 | Genre: Action | Publisher: Paradox | Developer: Fatshark | Release date: 08/04/10 | Price: £10
Phill Cameron gets all confused by multiplayer shooter LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST.
It’s a beautiful game, this game of two halves. Or not. Or maybe. Or not. Or yes.
I love that it’s a Western, first and foremost. It’s a neglected genre, and until Red Dead Redemption next month, we’ve not really had a serious take on it. Sure, we had the likes of Call of Jaurez and GUN, and even the few attempts in the world of modding such as Smokin’ Guns, which was the last proper attempt at a Western multiplayer game. So Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West is treading a path less trodden. Trying something new isn’t always something to be lauded, but in the case of Westerns, the more the better. I mean, you’ve all seen For a Few Dollars More, right?
Which brings me onto my first hate. The music is a lacklustre attempt to pastiche the great anthems of the West, to the degree that it just evokes them in the poorest sense, and has you sitting there on the precipice of remembering the great refrain of Il Bouno, Il Cattivo, Il Brutto, (Or The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, for those of you who aren’t down with your Italian), but getting distracted by this poor excuse for music. Really, no music would be better, if only because it would allow you to impose your own music on top of the game. Ennio Morricone elevates this beyond superb, honestly.
But I love the sound. The actual half-heard gunshots in the distance, the guttural groans as you’re shot, and the angry whines of each bullet that ricochets past your head, inches from fatal. Each sound is eminently recognisable as a Western sound, and does more to immerse you than a dozen tumbleweeds ever could. It serves as the perfect backdrop for all of your gunfights around your O.K. Corrals and 3:10s, which is all you need, really.
But, then again, I hate how wieghtless some of those fights seem. The guns offer an impressive cross-section of all the iconic Western firearms, from your ‘Negotiators’ (I’m guessing they’re not allowed to call them Peace Makers), to your shotguns, your rifles, and your hilariously long-scoped sniper rifles. It all makes sense, in a very Western way. It’s just that, beyond the six-shooter and the shotgun, they don’t really feel like the deadly instruments they ought to. The rifle, inaccurate as it is, takes far too many hits to kill, and the sniper rifle is as unwieldy as they come.
Perhaps it’s down to the levels, which, despite their shortcomings, I love. You’ve got a Mine, a Frontier Camp, a Border Village, a Gambling Town, and one of those Crazy Cliff Towns, which always seem a moment from falling away into the Great Big Nothing they are so desperately holding onto that cliff to avoid. The whole thing has a certain washed-out palate that fits it perfectly, as if a fine layer of dust is hanging in the air, just waiting to be disturbed by flesh and lead.
But I hate how unbalanced they make the game. Only a few levels have any sort of open area, and even those don’t lend themselves well to actually forcing players into that area. Which is bad news for the Deputy and the Trapper, both of whom are utterly terrible in close-quarters. What this means is that games are predominantly filled with people playing Blasters and Gunslingers, the two close-quarters fighters. And because so much of the game is close-quarters, anyone who does dare to go a ranged class tends to get cut to ribbons.
Pages: 1 2