Wednesday, September 06, 2006

GUN a AAA Title? Hahahahahaha!

I picked up GUN this weekend which, as noted below, hosed my plan of dropping below 10 games in my console backlog. The good news is that the game looks pretty short even factoring in all the side quests. I'm north of 60 percent finished already and I've played it for two days. What impresses me most is the voice cast which is uniformly stellar. I don't know how I managed to completely miss a game starring Thomas Jane with a father played by Kris Kristofferson and challenged by villains played by Lance Henrickson and Brad Dourif. That's the kind of voice work that demands attention especially when all of them get into their roles. Henrickson in particular rips stuff up as the most ruthless SOB the War Between the States ever produced.

What stuns me though is how this game was marketed last year as a AAA title by Activision. I have to laugh heartily at this because I picked it up for $20 in accrued store credit at EB and that was the right price point for it. There's no way in Hades I'd pay the full $50 (or $60 for the 360 version) that was originally charged. It's fun, but not fun enough to warrant multiple play throughs. Once I'm finished this thing goes up on the trade block.

One thing that stuck in my head which I wasn't able to figure out were the animations. In short, they're junk. You stand in front of a badly done model and watch them gesticulate wildly even after they stop talking. I knew I'd seen those somewhere else but couldn't place it. I knew they looked ugly as hell in that other place too, and it stumped me that anyone would use them in the first place let alone twice. Lightning struck this morning.

The same animations were used in the half-ass Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow. I ought to go back into my review and knock 10 points off it for reusing such poor animations. I thought the game was sloppy to begin with but now I consider it even more of a disaster than I originally did.

In so far as Gun is concerned, it's not bad but it's far from great. It's very much a GTAIII-lite set in the Old West which is a setting sadly ignored by almost everyone. With every company in the world pushing a WWII shooter of some sort almost no one (to my knowledge) is working on a Wild West shooter. Outlaws is considered one of the finest games in the entire FPS genre for good reason.

It got it right.

Playing through that back in college was akin to starring in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and it was glorious to experience. Everyone involved not only knew what the cliches were, but reveled in them with an infectious energy.

Gun is missing that same energy but as far as time wasters go it's not a bad one. But it's a B-title at best that doesn't come close to the AAA status Activision said it was.


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