Bloodless revenant –

“Redfall”, the new game from Arkane, wants to reach a mass audience and lacks old virtues.

By Rainer Sigl

The small town of Redfall on a small island off the east coast of the USA is actually an idyllic place – just as you know it from Stephen King’s novels. Or rather: Redfall was once an idyllic place, because that’s over.

A whole army of powerful vampires has taken up residence here, turning countless residents into undead and taming the rest with violence and mass hypnosis. The bloodsuckers are not only up to mischief at night: a magic ensures that even the sun cannot harm them. In addition, the sea around the island town is petrified and no one can leave this place anymore. In the guise of one of four charismatic heroes in the game of the same name, I am supposed to redeem the apocalyptic city of Redfall from this curse.

The heavy legacy of the immersive sim

„Redfall“ is the new game from the highly respected development studio Arkane, but its new work is very different from its previous games. “Dishonored”, “Prey” and also “Deathloop” were immersive sims, i.e. those types of first-person action games that are adored by fans but have always remained in a niche commercially, always characterized by experimenting with numerous game mechanics and systems have lived. In “ImSims” you have the choice between sneaking, fighting, magic or unusual solutions of your own – the worlds of Arkane’s earlier games were relatively compact but highly interactive sandboxes in which everyone was allowed to play as he or she wanted .

“Redfall” wants to be something different; what exactly is not so clear. However, the assumption is that the studio, which has been with the new owner Microsoft since 2020, together with its publisher Bethesda, was given the task of becoming a bit more mass-compatible. The to-do list of trend must-haves, which is unfortunately rather listlessly ticked off, can hardly be explained in any other way. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work.

„Redfall“developed by Arkane Austin and distributed by Bethesda Softworks has been released for Windows and Xbox Series X/S.

As a first-person co-op shooter that I play with four people, “Redfall” isn’t fast enough, it’s too monotonous as a loot shooter, it’s not scary enough as a survival horror game, and it’s too simple as an open-world role-playing game. Somewhere in this always impressively designed small town, a classic Arkane ImSim is buried, but it is rarely allowed to see the light of day. In short: “Redfall” sits between all chairs and quite uncomfortable.

Arkane Austin

Sad tummy tummy

The fact that technical problems and bugs are added at the start – for free. It is much more serious that the great quality of Arkane’s earlier games is not allowed to really come into its own anywhere here. It only flashes out briefly every now and then: in great locations, exciting situations that arise from the game itself and, unfortunately, far too rare moments in which everything fits together.

“Redfall” is not only a disappointment for Arkane fans. In the hunt for the big audience, they seem to have forgotten what made the earlier games so appealing. It’s a shame about the interesting setting, a shame about a vision that was sacrificed in search of more sales, a shame about a game that hardly ever rises above mediocrity.

Overall, Redfall is unfortunately a letdown, hopefully one that Arkane will recover from.

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