West of Dead, Hard West (already two parts), Weird West, Evil West… More games than about Wild West are now in preparation, except maybe about horrors of space. Despite the not immediately distinguishable names and similar mystical motifs, studios approach entourage and the genre in different ways. If you want to have it cozy and with a touch of nostalgia, you should pay attention to Blood West from all game variants of the Wild West.
Aim six times, don’t shoot at the end
The unnamed gunman wakes up in the middle of a deserted canyon. Higher powers, speaking to the protagonist through a totem made from a goat’s skull, narrate the straightforward storyline of Blood West: Darkness has conquered the frontier, and the hero has been brought back to life to deal with the problem. They could at least spend a revolver since they will be sent into battle with otherworldly creatures. But Hyperstrange doesn’t aim to make the player’s life easier.
We have in front of us not just another representative of the “boomer shooters” as one might think considering the low-poly environment and the textures like from PS1. Blood West is closer in spirit to the old Thief or Deus Ex. There are few resources, the enemies are evil, it is not clear what to do with all this. The game requires study and only gently pushes you in the right direction. Pretty quickly, he manages to figure out the ultimate goal – to collect several cursed artifacts so that the path to the “Heart of Darkness” opens, which must be destroyed.
The part of the border that can be explored in the early version is completely open. It’s easy to catch the eye on interesting study points: a fortress conquered by monsters, an empty ranch, a church with ghosts hovering over it, and so on. Finding all plot items yourself is not so difficult, but in extreme cases, you can find out rumors from rare traders – they always have a clue to the location of the key item.
To get to each artifact, you’ll need to slip your way through the ranks of various creatures, from simple zombies to birdmen to terrifying wendedigo. At first it is better to act in secret – the hero is not very accurate and there are obviously not enough cartridges for each enemy. But the ax in the back works fine. Unless they have a hard time getting spirits, and the same wendigo will only tickle a piece of iron. The latter is easier to kill with a bunch of dynamite.
Stealth is implemented in a simple but functional way. Separate indicators tell you that the enemy sees or hears you, and once the suspicion scale reaches its maximum, the monsters will start running after your soul. You can try to run away and come back later when the dust has settled, but if you’ve already thinned out the enemy ranks it’s quicker to engage in open combat with the remaining opponents. Especially when you add a good carbine to your arsenal.
The inventory allows you to carry different pieces of gear, but you can only equip two weapons at a time. In addition, only one slot is provided for a large weapon. In a pair of rifles, you can grab a revolver or a knife, but not a shotgun or a massive axe. It is very comfortable to use the trunks – they boom juicy. But you have to aim accurately. A well-aimed punch to the head hits almost any opponent, but sometimes a whole clip goes to the body.
Over time, hiding becomes strictly optional. If you save money, sellers can buy both cartridges and high-quality weapons. An attentive player can get them for free, you just need to look under each bush – you never know where the treasure is. Exploring is always recommended, and sometimes you’ll even come across unique gear with special properties, like a revolver that deals extra damage to ghosts, or a knife that speeds up movement when crouching.
Finding artifacts, completing rare side quests, and hunting monsters will earn you experience. Upon reaching the next level, the hero receives skill points, which are spent on various passive talents. Along the way there will also be magic talismans with their own bonuses. Blood West gives you enough tools to customize your playstyle: simplify stealth, become a melee master, or stuff everyone with lead.
At the same time, it is worth approaching each battle wisely. Let the hero be immortal, but you don’t have a quick save option either. It’s worth letting the zombies in, as you’ll lose an impressive chunk of your health right away. As soon as the hero falls to the ground, he will be revived by the last visited totem. But not for nothing – in addition to the revival, a curse is due. The more often you die, the harder it will be for the arrow in the future. Damage can, of course, be removed, but this requires quite rare consumables. Also, along with the protagonist, some monsters return from the other world. And no, it’s not like Dark Souls.
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In the early version, the first of three acts is available. Judging by the organization of the menu, the action of each of them will unfold on separate maps – in the future, smelly swamps and a gloomy forest await us. Whether progression and gear will transfer between them is yet to be determined. I hope that structurally and substantively they will not give way to the Wasteland – they are interesting to explore and the effort promises a valuable reward. But I would like more visual variety – completely gray landscapes create an oppressive atmosphere, but they are not at all pleasing to the eye.