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Stories By The Campfire
Gun is one of the few FPS titles in the Western genre. And by Western, I mean cowboys and indians. The story begins by telling the tale of Colton "Cole" White, the part you get to play. Using a mix of truth and fiction, the game winds its way through the wild west lands of Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, and New Mexico. The Year is 1880, and its a rough time where gun hands are sought to solve the tough problems of the time. As Cole, you get to play the part of a hero of the wild west, with all the skills expected of a gunslinger.
The characters and storyline introduced are very much what you would expect in this genre. Its reminiscent of old Western movies that Hollywood used to crank out, so if you enjoy that, you'll find a lot to love about this game as well. People are fairly authentic in their dialogue, the bad guys are notorious, and saving the innocent has never felt so honorable and just.
There is one significant negative with the game's storyline however. The story is noticeably short, ending just as you are really getting to enjoy how fun the game really is. If you choose not to do the side missions, the game is over before you are even ready. If it weren't for this one factor, the game would be exceptional. This one facet however, is severely limiting on what could be a truly singular gaming experience.
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Sounds of the West
The whisper of the wind across the prairie accompanied by a coyote's howl definitely puts you into an Old West frame of mind. Gun immerses you into the sounds and music one would expect for this genre. To say Gun has captured the essence of the 1800s American west is an understatement. Yes, its safe to say that the sounds of the game definitely fall in line with the type of game it is. Music is appropriate in the background, but its almost unnoticeable. This might be a detraction with some games, but with Gun it comes off as just right.
The voice acting in the game is truly top notch. The main character Cole is none other than Thomas Jane aka The Punisher. Other noteworthy voices include Kris Kristofferson, Brad Dourif, and Tom Skerritt. Its safe to say that the voice acting is a laundry list of exceptional individuals, and it shows in the final product.
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A Smoking Gun
Gun is an FPS, so its expected that there will be an arsenal of weapons. In some ways its similar to other FPS's, since there are pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The developers keep to the western theme however, as you get access to a hunting knife and other appropriate weapons of the period. There's dynamite for the train robber in all of us. You can even use a bow and arrow if you like. Each weapon is fairly realistic, not being too accurate in some cases and not overwhelmingly powerful in others. Your skill advances as you go through the game, as does the selection of weapons. One noteworthy aspect of the game is the fact that ammunition is not just lying around everywhere. There is enough available to allow you to do what is necessary, but you don't find yourself at the end of the game with more ammo than you know what to do with. It helps keep the game from becoming too easy, which is a nice feature.
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How The West Was Won
Unlike some FPS's, Gun is a sandbox game and allows for a lot of exploration. Quite a few of the side missions in fact won't be found unless you do explore all over the environment. This is also where the title falls a bit short. There is a lot of land to explore, but too much of it is empty of anything useful. It is definitely not on par with games like Oblivion. The idea of bullet-time is used to great effect, allowing the player to take on more opponents than usual without using up ammuniton. As you kill opponents, you gather up quickdraw power which can be used whenever necessary. There are also interesting activities like playing poker in a saloon or herding cattle to help some rancher. You can even wear a tin star as a lawman or hunt down outlaws as a bounty hunter. Although you start out on foot, soon enough you'll be riding a horse across the landscape. The motion of riding is very authentic, and you can even fire weapons from horseback. The sensation definitely helps draw you in to the feel of the game, and the difficulty is enough to help you realize just how hard it must have been to be accurate with a firearm in that situation.
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Dust Gets In Your Eyes
Visually, Gun draws you in and reminds you what makes the 1800's American West so enticing. The graphics are not as breathtaking as the views on some games, such as Oblivion or Crysis perhaps. But they are more than adequate at supporting the theme of the Old West. The citizens are authentic in attire, and the moments where you enter the slow-mo gunslinger mode make you feel almost as good as Clint Eastwood in Hang 'Em High. The guns look authentic, and there's no latency no matter how much is going on around you. The game is a bit older than today's latest titles, but the visuals can still hold their own against some of the best.
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The requirements for this game are fairly low, which is nice for those with older systems. If you happen to have a nice gaming rig, you'll be able to really enjoy this game as intended. Here's what you'll need:
- Processor: 1.8 Ghz
- RAM: 256MB
- Graphics: 32MB DirectX9c-compatible card
- Sound: 16bit sound card
- Hard Drive: 2.8Gig of space
- OS: Windows XP
As you can see, pretty much any system currently running should do just fine. The game runs fine on Vista as well.
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On the whole, Gun is an experience in American history. A game made on this premise however, has to be done right. Gun achieves this success admirably. The storyline is well done, despite ending way too quickly. The visuals and sounds immerse you into the period of the 1800s, and the gameplay is good enough to be memorable. It can't be said that the game is inventive, but its definitely fun and a nice diversion from the usual FPS. Pick up a copy and head out West to see for yourself.