I was able to play Redfall ahead of its release as Bethesda Benelux was so kind to support me with a preview code of the game and I would like to thank them for that. Therefore, I was able to clock in almost 30 hours.
While I haven’t finished the game yet, I would like to give you my initial thoughts. I wanted to try out every character before launch instead of picking one and going through the whole story campaign and only having played one character.
In Redfall you play as one of the survivors of a Vampire apocalypse and it’s a different experience than the Borderlands games I usually cover on this site. Redfall is an immersive experience therefore you will be reading notes and picking up individual items. I’m thankful that Borderlands implemented the auto-pick-up on a lot of common resources, however, that’s not Redfall because you are a survivor and you need to scavenge for your resources.
The game sets the mood to take it slow and explore the word, and I think Arkane Studios has done a good job with that. The Town looks great and there is a lot of storytelling though in the environment. There is a lot to do and while the first map looks big you can still easily navigate it by foot. However, when you need to make your way to the other side of the map, use those fast-travel locations.
The combat is weird because the game kinda sets you up to take things slow and plan your moves. However, once you fire your weapon, you raise awareness to yourself and you are quickly swarmed by enemies.
Taking the combat slow doesn’t work really well in those situations where you are outnumbered as you can easily die. However, when you start running around you notice that the Cultists are kinda dumb and the AI gets stuck from time to time. The Cultists do try to find cover but can also run into each other.
Vampires are pretty aggressive and in your face all the time because they can easily teleport in front of you. But they also just jump to the other side of a house while they try to attack you and basically just leave the combat area.
The AI can definitely use a bit more work. I got more enjoyment out of the combat when I play very aggressively but it is a shift in pacing as the other half of the game wants you to take it slow.
There is a variety of weapons that are all different but don’t expect a Borderlands level of weapon variations.
As I mentioned above I spend time with all four characters. Because I only had so much time to dive into the game ahead of time, I couldn’t fully spec out their skill trees.
Jacob was the first character I played with as his abilities looked promising for a game like this. The developers mentioned that stealth was a big part of the single-player experience. His Raven lets you scout the area and your cloak lets you sneak past enemies.
While this sounds great, I actually didn’t get much out of it as Jacob’s kit didn’t help me in combat. His cloak fell short in multiple scenarios because if you run the enemies still hear you.
The red-outlined character was nice because knowledge is power but then again your abilities initially don’t have any damaging powers.
Maybe I should have looked better for silenced weapons because every time I engaged in combat I felt like my kit wasn’t supporting me.
Layla was the second character I played as. Since I was more experienced with the game at this point I knew what I needed to do but I also felt that Layla’s abilities supported me in that way.
Yes, I still got swarmed by the enemy Cultists by Layla’s Umbrella let me counter that and retaliate. You can still die in these situations because it’s not a 360 barrier but at least you have a fighting chance.
Before I got my hands on Redfall, I wasn’t excited about the Lift ability. Then there was a trailer that showcased that you could also launch enemies into the air. That got me intrigued as that’s a fun thing to do. However, having that easy accessibility on rooftops is great. Redfall lets you enter buildings from multiple angles and because the front door is always heavily guarded that balcony on the side looks very interesting.
Layla was fun to play but also her attitude is great. I enjoyed her voice lines the most as there are more fun remarks from time to time. Also, her Ultimate ability is very useful in those heavy combat situations.
Dev was the third character I played with and while he is a bit weird I enjoyed Layla’s dialogue more. Dev was the character that allowed me to do things differently. I kinda took the same routes with Layla as I did with Jacob but knowing what’s ahead and Dev’s Translocate offered me some unique routes. I kinda wanna say he was the Speedrun character.
Dev’s Arc Javalin gives you a “grenade” with an Area of Effect attack. So when you are swarmed by enemies you can still have a level of control while doing damage.
Dev’s Translocate is great as it allows you to access that rooftop or balcony like Layla’s lift but it’s also great for getting around or out of dangerous situations. There is this Red Mist or Cultist blockade I need to bypass, well, just throw your device and ZAP your way past it. IT’S GREAT!
Remi was the last character I played and the character I was least excited about, however, her abilities are pretty good.
I wasn’t a fan of the Siren ability when they initially revealed it but it is actually a great tool to draw aggro away from you. It makes the overwhelming combat situations so much easier.
Remi’s C4 Charge deals good damage, I had the feeling it was more effective than Dev’s Arc Javelin.
Remi is a more serious character but her interactions with Bribón are fun. Yes, you can interact with your little companion.
The tutorial immediately lets you experiment as there are multiple things to discover in such a small area. Once you are out into the world there is a lot to experience.
While there is a main story campaign, I also got sidetracked as I enjoyed establishing safe houses or just found myself exploring buildings. However, some areas are locked off because a door is locked but that is where a part of the fun comes in. How are you going to bypass that obstacle? Are you going to use a lock pick and force your way in or are you going to look for an alternative route? Some doors even need a missing key, unraveling its whereabouts can be challenging but there could be cool loot behind that door.
The game does give you hints but they can be found in the various notes that lie around. For example, you can fix a machine but when you explore the location, you can find a note that mentions that the spare parts are in the basement. This way you got some direction but still need to explore.
I needed to get into this game as I initially felt a bit like I fish out of the water, however, I enjoyed my play time with Redfall. While the game can still use some work in certain areas it didn’t stop me from playing.
I hope the Day One Patch adds a bit more polish to the game and that the performance update isn’t too far on the Roadmap. If you got Xbox Game Pass, you should definitely check it out. There is nothing stopping you except you.
I’m gonna play some more so I have a better scope of the game and can do a full review. I hope my impression gave you some insight into the game.