(Image credit: Windows Central)
Redfall is here, and it's not exactly great, but not exactly awful either.
In our Redfall review, I describe how Arkane's efforts to build a Borderlands facsimile ultimately fall short. You can squeeze some drops of fun out of the game, however, owing to its pretty world, serviceable shooting, and interesting story beats. And hey, at least you can play it on Xbox Game Pass.
In any case, Redfall has some pretty odd pitfalls new players may fall into. I suspect some of these issues will be patched out or improved over time, but if you're starting on one of Redfall's launch times, do take note of these quick Redfall tips.
1: The point(s) of no return
Without spoiling, Redfall is split into two separate areas of the island's coast. Irritatingly, you cannot return to the first area once you've completed it, and you cannot return to the final area once you've defeated the last boss. While Redfall does warn you that you won't be able to return to the first area once you've reached the final mission, I'm pretty sure I missed the warning that the final boss would throw you into new game+ immediately.
On the mission table, you'll know the final mission when it's right up to the right-hand side of the window. Telling you the names of the missions might constitute spoilers, but it's fairly obvious. Once the window is full, you're ready to move to the next area.
2: Pick the right class
One of the issues I had with the game was picking a class to play. Depending on your personal playstyle, it may not exactly be obvious which class is best from the outset. Here's some tips for each of the game's heroes.
- Jacob: Jacob is perhaps best for those who want to play stealthily. His Raven ability allows him to see through walls and tag outlines of enemies from a distance. This can be handy for close quarters stealth combat inside interiors, or sniping enemies from a high vantage point with a silenced rifle or using the silenced stake guns. Jacob can also turn completely invisible, and has an ultimate that can hit enemies through walls.
- Devinder: Devinder is arguably the best for traditional snipers. His translocation beacon allows you to easily gain a foothold on impossible-to-reach areas, such as house rooftops. It's also great for rapidly traversing the landspcape. Using a silenced sniper rifle or the stake gun, Dev can easily clear entire compounds of enemies without being detected. Plus, his AoE ultimate can freeze groups of melee-hungry vampires quite easily.
- Layla: Layla is a versatile hero that can jump up to rooftops using her psychic lift ability, but her combat style is perhaps better suited for close quarters shotgun style play. Her umbrella can cause explosions at close range while blocking incoming attacks, and her ultimate can distract enemies so you can keep the shotgun shells flowing.
- Remi: Remi is also perhaps better suited for players who fancy "going loud." Her robot companion can tank vampires, while her healing aura also provides regenerating health. She also has a C4 charge utlimate, which can be useful for clearing rooms of thirsty vampires.
3: Combat tips: fighting vampires, and stealth
Redfall is a bit of an odd game for those who are used to traditional Arkane titles. There's no parry or dodge button, despite the game forcing you into melee engagements frequently. There's no insta-kill stealth take town abilities for vampires, and level scaling renders your weapons useless quite frequently. Here are some general combat tips to survive your trip to Redfall.
- For dealing with regular vampires who are keen to rush and swipe you in melee range, I can't emphasize enough how much circle strafing helps. The AI seems to get stuck in a re-pathing stupor when you circle around them, and their lunge attacks won't track you as long as you're strafing.
- When blasting vampires with a shotgun, once they hit about half health they will stagger a bit. This animation lock gives you an opening for a few more shotgun shells.
- The stake gun will one-shot most vampires, so keep that stocked up at all times if you can. The UV gun is also a great tool for taking out groups of vampires at once. A swift punch to a petrified vampire is typically an insta-kill. Petrified mini-boss vampires should be shot with the stake gun, though, since they take far less damage while petrified with other weapons.
- Human enemies are dumb as rocks, and generally ignore dead bodies as if they were no big deal. You can exploit this brain-addled AI by distracting them with tools like the flare gun, which will summon nearby human enemies to investigate the flare, rather than where it was shot from. The flare gun has great range, and can be useful for luring humans into oil puddles or other hazards.
- The game doesn't tell you which weapons are good for stealth for some reason, but there does seem to be some silenced weapons. If a sniper rifle physically looks as though it has a silencer attached, it generally doesn't immediately send enemies into a fully alert state. The sound will draw their attention though, as will other noises like playing a piano.
- Most of the semi-automatic rifles seem viable for stealth play, while crouched. The bolt action rifles seem to be noisier, though. Stake guns are also "quiet," and will only draw attention from nearby enemies but not outright alert them to gunfire. The stake gun has some bullet drop-off, but it's pretty generous. I'm sure one exists somewhere in Redfall, but I was unable to find a "silenced" pistol in my 30 hours of play. Instead, I used the stake gun for close-quarters infiltration.
- Even though there's no "stealth kill" melee animation, an elbow to the back will instantly kill most human enemies, even if you elbow them in the knee. (???)
4: Adjust your controller settings
Out of the box, at least on console, Redfall has this uncanny interaction with Xbox controllers. The game has an "input response" preset buried in the controller menu, which can be adjusted to improve the way the game handles with a joystick.
I'm not quite sure what the point of this setting is, but with it set to default, the motion curve on joystick pulls is simply too steep. You'll get a much smoother curve between slow and fast turning if you set this option to "low." If you set it to high, you'll hit maximum turn speed with the most miniscule flick of the stick. I don't think anyone is going to be doing 360 no-scope trick shots in Redfall, but I could be wrong.
I also adjusted the controller sensitivity a bit to compensate after changing this setting. Your best bet is to turn the input response to low, and increase the controller sensitivity to around 3.5 to make it feel like a more normal console FPS.
5: Be careful when deconstructing weapons
One pitfall I often found myself in with Redfall was via its maddeningly basic, yet irritatingly essential loot system, which sees your guns phase out of viability quite rapidly as you press through the game.
Enemies scale up to your level, rendering any sense of progression moot. However, your guns will gradually decrease in effectiveness, forcing you to find new ones. The best place to get new guns tend to be within the game's vampire nests, which appear as blue door icons on the map. After doing a battle event at the end, I've found the highest frequency of legendary items in the vaults that spawn after breaking a nest's heart.
Every weapon type has strong importance in Redfall, but some become absolutely essential tools for dealing with certain threats.
Even if it's lower level, always ensure you keep a UV beam in your arsenal. In some nests and some events, being able to snap-freeze a crowd of angry, melee-range vampires is a huge help. You should also look to maintain access to a stake gun. Stake guns deal massive damage to vampires from a distance, and are also silenced apparently (despite making a very loud noise). They're great for sniping vampires with, and also for clearing interiors in lieu of a silenced pistol. There are a few regular guns in the game which can kill vampires without a stake, but for the most part, vampires will not die from a regular sniper rifle headshot. You'll want to make sure you always have at least one staked weapon equipped at all times, although the flare gun and electrifying weapons can also burn vampires without a stake execution.
As such, be sure to avoid accidentally salvaging good weapons and those essential tools. There's sadly no way to "pin" a weapon to lock it out of being salvaged, but you need to hold down the left trigger to salvage, which makes it a little harder to destroy something by accident.
Redfall is a disappointment, especially as someone who adores Prey and Dishonored, and other Arkane games. It feels like a huge step back for the studio, but despite that, I still enjoyed my time overall. I'm not sure what the future will hold for Redfall. Whether it will get content updates moving forward, or whether Arkane will step away and move on to the next game. There exists the DNA of a decent open world shooter in Redfall, but a lack of iteration and vision clearly hindered the final execution.
If you have any other questions from someone who has completed the game, with 30 hours in, hit the comments below or in our forums, and I'll get them answered for you.