The conference Microsoft and Bethesdathe most anticipated of all those that have been there these days (here the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase special), opened with Redfall, one of the two games, together with Starfield (here Starfield preview), which were scheduled for the last quarter of 2022, only to be postponed to the beginning of 2023.
Expectations on Redfall were very high: we are talking about the new game by Arkane Austin, one of the most talented software houses on the current videogame scene as well as a master in immersive sims, a genre that leaves the player ample freedom of approach to decide how to approach each gameplay session. We were able to watch a five-minute video, very rich in content that gave us a clearer idea of what we can expect from this cooperative shooter for up to four players exclusively from Microsoft. Let’s go together to discover the now no longer smiling, Redfall Island.
Welcome to Redfall
Redfall was once a peaceful and picturesque island in Massachusetts. This place at peace with God sees its balance break with the arrival of the Vampires, who darken the sun and take control of it, thus segregating the island from the rest of the world. Four brave heroes therefore decide to embark on an apparently suicidal mission to free Redfall and put End Vampire and “Cultist” Hegemonyhuman fanatics who would like to become bloodsucking creatures themselves.
The narrative component will be evaluated during the review phase: Arkane has always accustomed us very well with its fascinating stories full of mystery, but we will see to what extent it will be able to deepen a plot with light-hearted tones which seems more than ever to support the playful experience. The trailer of the title presents us almost immediately – after an intense shooting in a church full of corpses and pools of blood – the characters we will take control of: Jacob Boyer, the sniper who can become invisible; Remi de la Rosa, the engineer of the group, with a marked passion for technology; Devinder Crousley, the “crypto zoologist” hunter with paralyzing gadgets and finally Layla Ellison, the youngest of the quartet, a student with telekinetic powers.
The synergy between the four protagonists will therefore be essential to overcome the action phases unscathed, the heart of Redfall’s gameplay. In this regard, each of the guns present gave us positive sensations, both in terms of sound and of the shooting as such. Armed with a shotgun, Layla Ellison ventured into a dimly lit and quieter church than usual, until she joined the vampires upstairs. After dealing enough damage to the creatures of the night, it seems it will be possible to finish them off, either with further projectiles or with the use of special stakes applied to weapons.
A classy co-op shooter
When we talk about Arkane, we can’t help but think of its most famous and quality IPs like Dishonored and Prey. The common point as well as the distinctive element of both works are the innumerable possibilities that are left to the players to face the enemies: take up the rifle and throw yourself head-on against everyone; silently kill the unfortunate person on duty or take advantage of the different design elements to give free rein to your creativity.
The hope is to find these multiple approaches also in Redfall and these five minutes of gameplay seem to be able to confirm our expectations. Jacob Boyer for example, becoming invisible, manages to knock out two fanatics without arousing the slightest suspicion and then move to a strategic position, equip his sniper rifle and use it to give quick headshots to the sentries protecting the perimeter of the playground. In the next sequence, Layla uses her kinetic powers to create a small tower which is used by her partner to climb over the fanatics and deliver them a small explosive gift, or to reach rooftops and snipe enemies from above. To make all these sessions even more fun, we take care of what – as we have already said – could prove to be a solid shooting system, with an excellent bodily reaction of the enemies on impact with bullets, net of a presence all in all reduced to gore and blood.
The open world of Redfall
The cooperative therefore leaves ample room for maneuver to the players, also depending on the “class” chosen, and will make it possible to overcome unscathed all those situations of obvious numerical inferiority. Let us also remember that all these mechanics will be included in an open world to be explored far and wide and populated by many different species of vampires. In this regard, let’s wait to see if the experience will be equally beautiful to play alone and in the company of vampire hunters managed by AI.
Just the open-world nature of Redfall means there will be nests of bloodsuckers to sift through and portals of connection with other areas of the island. Exploration will play a very important role in the game economy because, in all probability, it will reward us with many weapons, which, as we have seen, will have different rarities and therefore power. Also present are the inevitable points to spend to develop the skills of a tree that seemed to us to be quite large. From a technical point of view, Redfall appeared to us to be quite valid without making us cry for a miracle. In this case they will be the art direction and enemy design having to strike the eye of the players, as well as the creation of both indoor and outdoor environments. Finally, lighting, especially in the most claustrophobic moments, will play a role of fundamental importance in surprising players and giving Arkane Austin’s latest effort a certain horror potential.
Much remains to be seen on Redfall, both on the playful and narrative front, but the conditions for an adrenaline-pumping, engaging and at times frightening experience all seem to be there. There are still several months left for the game’s debut, which will take place at an unspecified time in 2023, so we are sure that we will meet him again several times along the way, so as to get a clearer idea of his real ambitions.