GUN allows player the chance to enter the lawlessness of the Wild West as they assume the role of lead protagonist Colton White as he enters a world of murder, gun-slinging and investigation. Following the death of his Father, who actually turns out to not be his father, White rides into Dodge City to bring his Father’s killers to justice by either hanging them high or saying hello to one of his friendly body piercing bullets. The action comes thick and fast throughout but also features some rather mellow undertones; ultimately is GUN any good? Is it worth buying if you have the Xbox version? Read on.
GUN fits neatly into the 3rd person action game category which means you get to view your on screen character at all times. Rather than follow a predetermined fixed path through the story, players are encouraged and able to digress from the main story and undertake a wide range of cowboy related tasks such as bounty hunting, ranching, playing deputy, deliveries and even hunting animals in the wilds. GUN features one massive playing environment to mess around in which means the only loading you will see is when you undertake side missions. You are at liberty to travel anywhere on the map at anytime to do as you please. There are two main settlements in which you can embark on side missions or simply terrorise the inhabitants if that floats your boat. The two settlements are Dodge City and Empire where here you will find regular folk going about their business. The rest of GUN’s lands are desert wilds and mountainous regions which are populated by wild beasts and randomly generated bandits who attack you on sight!
With such a large playing area to explore, in the west and other than the six shooter strapped to your waist the best friend money can buy is a horse. Well actually not your horse and no buying because there seems to be some rather absent minded people who let their horses roam freely or don’t mind you jumping on their backs and riding off into the sunset whilst the owners kick back at the saloon unawares that their transport has been stolen. In some respects GUN could have added an extra game play element here by making you look after your horse and ensuring that getting another would not be easy. Perhaps making the wild horses that wonder about the plains hard to tame? However the West is lawless and borrowing someone else’s horse is low on the list compared to murder and bank robberies. You will be spending a lot of time mingling with horses, whether that is as your own form of transport or fighting enemies on horseback of which there are plenty. Horses can actually be used to attack enemies which is pretty neat but also are a good way for you to shoot enemies whilst you are on horseback because the horse takes damage before you do when you are riding.
The actual combat is pretty satisfying and comes in two forms; long range and close quarters. Long range means that you will most likely need to use one of the many rifles in the game which offer a little zoom when using the first person aiming. Close combat means that you will most likely need to use one of the many pistols in the game and when the situation is right you can actually use melee weapons to attack opponents that get too close for comfort. The hit detection is reasonable here and means that players can line up their crosshairs to perform a well timed headshot or even knocking riders off horses. For the ultimate gun-slinging trick players can perform bullet time inspired moments with the pistol for short periods. These moments can be used to quickly kill several opponents in a short space of time and becomes quite a useful skill during some gun fights.
The lead character has various attributes which can be upgraded to give him an overall better performance. Completing side missions will raise the attributes making your life in the west a little bit easier. That said, players can choose to ignore all of the side missions and focus on beating the story. The story is told via cut-scenes using the game engine and are suitably dramatic and gruesome at times. The story will keep you hooked even though it is extremely cliché, but I think in this case it works really well and does a good job at making the player carry on playing to see what happens next.
Now this is where some issues come into play as GUN looked pretty cool on Xbox yet the Xbox 360 version seems to be identical. Well for starters the game play and story of GUN on Xbox 360 is actually identical to the Xbox version there are no differences or extras at all. I only really noticed slightly better resolution textures on the main characters and some surfaces and when I say slight I mean slight. So looking at the Xbox 360 as a next generation console it is safe to say that GUN does nothing to utilise the capabilities of the hardware and if the developers believe that a slight touch up on the texture resolution is enough then I guess software sales will no doubt be reflective of what gamers with their new Xbox 360’s think about a game that is strictly multi-format and shows. This is a shame because GUN could have looked really special with a graphical upgrade yet what gamers can expect is blocky textures, low resolution towns folk, repeated character models aplenty and sparsely populated areas.
The sound is one of the better aspects of the game because the main characters are voiced to a high standard. The voice acting is great because the developers enlisted a star studded cast of voice over talent and managed to get some pretty decent performances out of them. These performances drive the story line and help bring the characters to life and as I said earlier encourage players to keep playing to see what happens next. Other GUN sound effects are used effectively and with the sounds of ricocheting bullets to horses galloping it all gels together. The music is cinematic and full of harmonica filled moments as you would expect for a western themed soundtrack.
GUN offers plenty to do if you take your time and explore a little, however playing though the story alone and ignoring the side quests means you will have a much shorter experience and also be missing out on a lot of fun. I completed (all side missions as well) GUN in two solid days play which means the only thing to try is to beat the game on a harder difficulty to unlock achievements. In fact having achievements is the only difference in the game compared to the Xbox version. I am missing a couple especially the mining all the gold achievement which is a pain because I only have one more piece to find but could be anywhere on the map. This in itself could add hours of searching to accomplish! So to prolong the experience all that is left is to up the difficulty and restart the game!
GUN is a very fun game to mess around with, yet playing the Xbox 360 version felt very underwhelming when compared to the Xbox version. If you have played or own the Xbox version then I would suggest you stay well clear as you will be quite disappointed. For those of you looking for something else to play on your new console then I suggest taking a look at GUN by renting it first. It’s a solid game and highly entertaining yet let down by a lack of ambition with the Xbox 360 incarnation of the game.