Grab your stakes and garlic, because this game is all about slaying vampires and saving humanity. But is it worth your time and money? Let’s take a bite out of this game and find out! Redfall is the highly anticipated offering from Arkane Studios. It had the gaming community brimming with excitement, promising to be a multiplayer extravaganza infused with the studio’s renowned single-player prowess. It aimed to put a unique spin on the vampire genre. However, after sinking my teeth into Redfall, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. While it has its moments, the game falls short of capturing the promises that were made about this games release.
First of all, let’s talk about the story. Redfall is set on an island ruled by vampire gods, and it’s up to you and a group of heroes to take them down and save the day. While the heroes themselves may not be the most memorable characters, the history and lore of the vampire gods are fascinating and are slowly revealed throughout the game. The “live storyboard” cutscenes, while cheaply made, do a decent job of unspooling their histories and adding to the game’s world-building.
In the past, we have seen Arkane show strength within their storytelling with the likes of Dishonored and Prey. However the games cutscenes feel like cheap “live storyboards,” lacking the visual impact and engaging storytelling we’ve come to expect from the studio. The playable characters themselves also feel underdeveloped, with forgettable backstories and little meaningful interaction. The story overall feels interesting however can become tedious and repetitive if played for lengthy periods of time.
In regards to gameplay Redfall does offer some satisfying gunplay and the thrill of mastering your characters’ unique powers. Experience opens up your skill tree which creates more interesting gameplay. There are some serious flaws with “clunkiness” which were made more manageable with some controller adjustments, however still feel very stiff even after doing this. However, the game suffers from uninspired mission design. Main quests, side quests, and safe house missions all follow a repetitive pattern, leaving players feeling like they’re simply checking off boxes rather than embarking on exciting adventures. The backtracking required due to mission restrictions becomes a tedious chore, further hampering the overall experience.
I found the mission structure consisted of linear quests that revolve around fetching items, interacting with objects, or dispatching stronger versions of the standard vampires. It quickly becomes formulaic, and it left me craving more innovation and variety, and I found playing at the highest difficulty the most enjoyable as the lower settings make the world seem empty. However the gameplay within multiplayer is actually a lot of fun, I found myself completely distracted and was able to concentrate on the fun playing in a party – in particular the “trust” building when working as a team and the perks given in groups.
Redfall‘s technical flaws cannot be overlooked, and as someone who doesn’t normally play games with vampires/horror – I found the glitches in the game comforting. The game is plagued with bugs, ranging from fast travel glitches to enemies freezing mid-animation. Texture inconsistencies within the world and pop-in issues hinder the visual experience, even on high-end systems. Launching without a 60fps mode on Xbox Series X/S further mars the combat, making it feel jagged and off-putting. These flaws ultimately detract from the immersion and, at times, enjoyment of the game.
Unfortunately, the game’s loot system is pretty uninspiring. While the weapons feel hefty and satisfying to use, you’re constantly having to leave behind your preferred gear to keep up with the power grind. A transmog system would have been a welcome addition, but alas, it’s not here. One aspect where Redfall does shine is in its visual design. The world of Redfall, with its dense and stunningly crafted environments, showcases Arkane’s talent for creating immersive settings. From the iconic waves suspended by dark magic to the sunless skies, the game’s aesthetic is undeniably captivating. The vampires themselves, with their intriguing origins and unique appearances, stand out as a testament to the art team’s creativity – however I would have loved to have seen them incorporated more thoughtfully into the games environment.
But don’t let that discourage you from playing Redfall. The game’s side content, including vampire nests, offer a glimpse into the twisted psyche of the island’s inhabitants. And the art design at it’s core is quite beautiful, with iconic imagery that feels like it could be ripped from a horror movie. If you pay attention you will also find many easter eggs to the studios previous titles.
Redfall had all the ingredients to be a standout title, combining Arkane’s signature world-building with an intriguing vampire concept. However, it falls short of expectations due to repetitive gameplay, lackluster storytelling, and major technical issues. The game is extremely over priced, coming in at $164.90AU for the Bite Back Edition of the game, and I personally would not pay that much for a game that seems like a game development class project. While the game does have its moments, it ultimately fails to capture the magic and innovation we’ve come to associate with Arkane Studios. All in all, Redfall has disappointed many in the community, but if you’re a fan of Arkane’s world-building and love slaying vampires, it’s worth a bite. Just don’t expect it to be the next big thing in gaming.