Strange West review – immersive RPG joy, let down by shaky AI

Strange West review – immersive RPG joy, let down by shaky AI


The Weird West’s depiction of the U.S. border isn’t just filled with brutish gunmen, tumbleweeds, and dusty trails. This country of cowboys is also a powder keg for supernatural conspirators and savage beasts, and when ordinary elements collide with the otherworld, the game world is full of character and a sense of place that makes you want to smash every barrel and poke your way through every doorway , in case you missed something.

This RPG game’s twisty story follows five protagonists from all walks of life, all bound by one thing in common: they’re all owned by you. You actually inhabit their bodies, take over their lives at critical moments, and use your wits and their physical form to uncover the bottom of the mystery surrounding how you became such a person.

Granted, it’s not uncommon to play ghosts by Weird West’s standards. The world, created in part by the founders of Arkane Studios, is filled with fantastical and often frightening creatures like carnivorous sirens, savage pigs, and cave horrors. Factions of witches have spent their lives using black magic, while enterprising travelers sell trinkets to ward off bad omen. The mix of mysticism and horror blends beautifully with the usual sense of adventure and danger found in westerns—it usually feels more like a Robert Rodriguez romp than a contemplative Sergio Leone movie.

As you’d expect from a team of former Arkane developers, Weird West fully embraces player agency, with most quests solvable in multiple ways, well beyond arbitrary dialogue trees. You may be asked to choose a side in a conflict, or encouraged to use your wits rather than your physical strength to navigate enemy strongholds.

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Actions have consequences, and sometimes you’ll stumble upon characters in resolved questlines who want to hurt or help you. Leave a gang member behind after a shootout and they may form a vendetta with you, assembling their own team to hunt you down. Likewise, killing everyone in a remote ranch will be abandoned for a short time, but you may return later to find it reoccupied by other factions, wildlife, or something darker.

Unfortunately, the act of actually clearing the stronghold is where the Strange West begins to falter. Taking a stealthy approach through densely populated enemy camps rarely goes as planned, but it’s a combination of unpredictable AI paths and uneven detection ranges that often reveal my location rather than my own rude movements.

It’s a rich world full of dark and mysterious things

Enemy patrols on short distances were consistent and easy to follow, but guards on longer routes seemed to get disoriented frequently, causing them to either get stuck or off track, turning erratically as they tried to correct themselves. You can pick up pieces from the floor and throw them away for distraction, but the responses will never be consistent. Maybe the guards will bite and walk towards the impact point, giving you time to slip past them or knock them out. However, they are likely to be startled by the sound, which will interrupt their patrol and doom them to walk in a circle on stilts until you rescue them from their misery. The best stealth games rely on strong, reliable enemy AI, and Weird West doesn’t do enough here.

Going through an area full of enemies is just as awkward when loud. Originally, gunfights were fast and furious two-shot shootouts with a formidable arsenal of 1800s-era revolvers, shotguns and rifles. But once you start evacuating crowds, the enemy AI exposes itself to be pretty stupid. Many enemies are no longer in cover, and sometimes they will go further and disengage completely from the fight. The general dimness of enemies is matched by a repetitive and limited pool of enemy types, so combat usually boils down to how fast you can hit your target, rather than your tactical intelligence or loadout.


It’s a shame, especially when you meet a new protagonist with a different playstyle. In most cases, it’s easiest to run and shoot through levels – Weird West has a great toolbox for immersive simulations, but there’s very little reason to open it. You can also recruit a steady stream of volunteer fighters by rescuing hostages and helping beleaguered locals, so if solo combat isn’t particularly challenging, it can become when you have up to three eager allies on board Mindless.Of course they also have the same AI quirks as the mobs they fight, if any of them die, downstream effects will affect the mainline, so there are Some Dangerous to bring friends.

Even if the battle isn’t always on target, each new step in unraveling the mystery of your connection to these important characters is worth taking. It’s a rich world of dark and mysterious curiosity, and as an experiment in a world made up of some of the best minds, The Strange West hits the bullseye.

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Kirsten Bennett
Kirsten is a passionate writer who loves games, and one day he decided to combine the two. She is now professionally writing niche articles about Consoles and hardware .