Late last year, Neversoft did something they've never done before - release a game which doesn't involve skateboarding (although we have a feeling if we look hard enough Gun has a skateboarding mini game) and proved to the world once and for all they are not a typecast developer. Gun was one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2005 and we absolutely loved it. It took a famous film genre, the western, and made it a video game. While it was not the first to do this, it was the first game to get it almost one hundred percent right. With the launch of the 360 comes the delayed Australian release of Gun and we've had a crack to see just how much it has changed.
For those who missed it first time around, Gun places you into the shoes of a young cowboy in the wild west who learns very early on in the game, that the man he thought was his father is not. As his friend is murdered on a steamboat, he vows revenge but also seeks out the truth about his father and this is how the game evolves. There are many subplots in the game but, generally throughout, it focuses on this one objective. The cinematic values are one of the things which made Gun such a brilliant game and these have carried across to the 360 well, in fact the improved graphics and sound makes these areas even better, as expected.
Gun is played from a third person perspective but can become a first person shooter for short periods of time. Basically it's a bit like a confined Grand Theft Auto: Western Edition. You can go anywhere in the current area and do whatever you want, but there is a main goal to be achieved. This can range from hunting wild animals to taking on one of the games many boss characters. It's not a game which confines you to a certain way to play. Someone will sit down, take on a boss character or level and complete it, then another person will do the same and take the task on in a completely different manner. It is things like this which make Gun interesting to play, even a second time through.
Aside from the main storyline, you will find a number of mini games to complete such as card games and racing on horses. There are also a number of sub-missions you can complete to gain money or just lengthen the game experience (which admittedly is a little short). One of the most innovative and useful aspects of the console game is the horse racing. Neversoft have put a huge effort into traveling on horses, because it is the traditional form of transport in the wild west and you can go anywhere on a horse unlike previous games which have restricted your movement. However you have to be careful, if you punish your horse too much they do collapse but any poor sucker riding around has a replacement ready for you, just punch them off. As we said, this is like GTA: Western Edition
Of course the big improvement with the game is the graphics and right from the outset you can see that this game looks about ten times better on the 360. Neversoft have really gone to town on the 360 hardware and produced a stunning looking game. We thought the lush green environments on the older consoles looked superb but on the 360 you may find yourself running around looking at the stunning level of detail. As well as this the load times have been significantly improved but we get the feeling this may only be the case if you fork out for the 360s hard disk drive which was in use during our demo. The sound is also improved and the voice acting sounds even better on the 360 in surround sound.
GUN, we imagine, will be picked up by many of you with the double pack and you won't be disappointed. In that pack this game is effectively about AU$50 and quite frankly that is the best value for the 360 we have seen so far. Even if you aren't a huge third person shooter fan, the cinematic values and strong storyline may just be enough to entice you. We'll have to wait until it ships to see for sure.