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Score: 78%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

In the 30+ years the gaming industry has been around, it still amazes me that no one has been able to create the definitive western experience. For a genre that has created such memorable movies as “Unforgiven” and “The Wild Bunch”, you’d expect some developer would have struck gold by now. Gun is the latest attempt and though it doesn’t deliver on everything it promises, it certainly comes much closer than most western games.

Seeing as how the game is available on all consoles current and next, comparisons are unavoidable. Compared to its “lesser” console cousins, the 360 version doesn’t really stand out as being all that impressive. Texture resolutions are a little higher and landscapes feature a few more shrubs, but that’s about the extent of the next-gen makeover. Even when compared to other launch titles, Gun completely misses the mark. Character models are still blocky in some areas and the large, “open” environments are pretty small and closed when you get right down to it. Characters also suffer from some really noticeable clipping issues that you wouldn’t expect to see in a game that’s really using the 360’s hardware.

Audio, on the other hand, is clearly one of Gun’s strengths – or, at least the voice work is. Thomas Jane does an amazing job providing the voice of the game’s protagonist, Colton White, while Kris Kristofferson does equally well in the role of Ned White. Ron Perlman, Tom Skerritt, and Brad Dourif also turn solid work. (It is also worth mentioning that all of the character models look like the actors that play them, which is a neat little addition.) Music is decent, yet lacks the impact of a truly memorable western.


When taken as an action game, Gun is a fun ride. If you’re expecting anything other than that, prepare to be disappointed. Since it was first announced, Gun was hyped as something akin to “GTA: Wild West”, featuring a large, open world with tons of things to do. It is not until you get into the game that you realize just how confined things really are.

Gun’s narrative centers around a trapper named Colton White who embarks on a quest for revenge after his father is killed in a riverboat ambush. Colton’s original target is a crazy preacher whom he believes is solely responsible for the attack. He soon discovers that the preacher is only part of a much larger plot involving a railroad baron trying to make a massive land grab in search of something.

As cliché as it may sound, story is what makes Gun worth playing and frankly, it is one of the few things that actually kept me from turning the game off halfway through. There are tons of little twists, some predicable, others not, that keep you wanting to play. The only real fault is that the game is too short (about 7 – 8 hours), making some story elements feel a little forced and abrupt.

Missions are plot based, giving the game its rigid feel. It is easy to see where Neversoft was trying to go with things by offering a number of side-missions, but all feel way too restricted and lack that “openness” found in GTA. Side missions call upon every western cliché around – from cattle rustling to keeping law and order as a deputy to riding for the Pony Express. Some missions, like bounty hunting and law work, are interesting while others, namely mining for gold, feel like mindless padding to make the game a little longer. On top of that, all of the missions require you to play through the story missions to unlock them. This isn’t GTA where you can find things to do around every corner and entertain yourself for hours. Instead, you’re forced to do things, which results in the game feeling like a typical action game rather than something much larger.


Gun offers four difficulty levels, ranging from Easy to Insane. The only noticeable difference between the four is the number of health items and ammo available at any given time. Overall, enemy A.I. isn’t the brightest and usually relies on simply overpowering you rather than trying to outsmart you. If they’re not standing out in the open shooting at you, they’re charging at you full speed or using TNT barrels as cover.

Boss fights provide a little more challenge, at least until you get good at the Quick Draw ability (Gun’s version of bullet time), then they become a piece of cake since you can slow everything down and deal lots of damage by unloading a few rounds into the boss’ head.

Game Mechanics:

Combat is limited to mostly gunplay, something that is to be expected from a game named Gun. A nice variety of weapons is available and represent all of the major types found in the period, including the six-shooters and rifles. Generally, Gun does a good job of requiring you to use all of your arsenal rather than sticking to just one type. Some jobs require that you use the sniper rifle, while others call for quieter kills with your bow and arrow. Weapons can also be upgraded by the local shop keep, giving them a little more kick.

The art of shooing a gun, or should I say aiming, requires little skill. Colton has a very generous aiming area, which almost guarantees that you’ll hit something. However, you’ll have to use a little finesse during some missions, which requires making good use of your Quick Draw ability.

Seeing as how Gun is a western, you can expect to spend A LOT of time on horseback. Riding horseback comes with all the complications of driving in GTA. In other words, it is purely arcade, so don’t expect to deal with lots of complicated physics. Although horses will gain speed quickly and can stop on a dime, they do come with a one interesting drawback. Horses can only go so fast, so if you push your horse too much (by using your spurs), you can literally run it to death. Most of the time you won’t have to do this (unless you’re just cruel), though some Pony Express missions require it.

Gun is more "Young Guns" than it is "The Wild Bunch". Though it does do a few things right, there are still a number of flaws that keep it from being a true classic. Still, if you’re craving a western-themed game, Gun is a good rental.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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