Open World Review: Gun.
(AfroGamers.com) Western-themed games can be problematic at times. The genocide of Native Americans and removal from their lands are extremely sensitive subjects. Something like Red Dead Redemption came along at a time when studios have to do their research and take a respectful approach.
Of course, to avoid controversy, Native Americans weren’t featured heavily in the game. You mainly ran into bandits, bounty hunters, wild animals, and the like. It was interesting to see Rockstar dance around how to portray Native Americans in the game by probably pushing the setting to 1911 when the frontier era was coming to an end.
So, research is necessary if you’re going to release a piece of historical fiction. One of the last historical games for the PlayStation 2 was Neversoft’s Gun and it wasn’t without a bit of controversy.
Released in 2005, Gun ran into controversy right off the bat with its main character. While the character himself wasn’t just Conker-grade controversial, it was how the tribe Cole White’s mother came from was depicted as well as other Native Americans in the game. Things were made worse when the player ended up in situations where they had to kill the Native Americans they apparently riled up.
Oh yeah, you could scalp people in the game. It’s not a major gameplay mechanic like in Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag where you had to skin creatures for hides to make other things. This was just something extra you could do and a few missions required scalps.
The main event of gameplay in Gun was the horseback riding and gunfights. Before Gun was released, you had Rockstar’s Red Dead Revolver. It was a very Rockstar-early 2000s-game in that it looked like GTA in the Wild West.
That’s not a shade on the graphics because it was 2004 and only PC games were doing better graphically. That is unless you’re ignoring Dreamcast and Xbox’s smoothness and GameCube’s occasional smoothness.
Red Dead Revolver’s gunfights got the job done but it was pretty much like shooting in GTA without auto-target in third person. In Gun, combat just seemed right. It could be down to the actual mechanics or it could be that gunfights actually complemented the mechanics, controls, and execution.
Gun was the title Rockstar probably looked at and said “We need to do more of that with this next Red Dead and less of Revolver.” I mean, they probably didn’t say that but that would’ve been the valid approach here. This game got the job done if you wanted to play a western.
Problematic depictions aside, Gun was an incredibly fun Western game. It was actually more fun that the first Red Dead (Revolver) in that it didn’t feel as linear while playing. I won’t say that Gun had a ton of things to do, this is Western game and you were limited to what you could do in the 1880s and cause mayhem. You weren’t exactly riding your horse then ghost riding it while bandits shoot at you.
As is the case with Western games, it’s a tale of revenge and you’re steering the main character’s fate. It’s not the most unique or deep story but they rarely are unless it’s called Unforgiven. That said, it’s all in execution and Neversoft did well on the gameplay front and giving enough room for the player to enjoy within the PlayStation 2’s limitations.
I always felt Gun should’ve gotten a sequel on PlayStation 3 but that ship has long sailed after Rockstar got it right with Red Dead Redemption.
RATING: 7.5 out of 10 (Recommended)
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.