When I first caught sight of Redfall, a co-op action game that features first-person shooting and vampires, I really didn’t think too much of it. I was admittedly intrigued by a monster-fighting game specifically focusing on vampire lore, which is much different than battling swarms of zombies or hulked-out mutated tanks. At the same time, though, it’s hard to not associate Redfall with the games that most likely inspired it.
Back4Blood, EarthFall, Evolve, and Left4Dead all seem like worthy inspirations. However, after gameplay was finally revealed during Microsoft’s summer digital presentation, I found myself more and more excited to fry, dismember, and UV-blast these creatures of the night. Here are three features I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into Redfall when the game launches next year.
Living the solo life
I never really thought I would be the multiplayer-only type. In my younger gaming years, I often found myself devoting hours to a game’s story or challenging myself to get through beat ’em ups without using a continue. That was before video games evolved and the phrase “Games as a Service” (GaaS) was coined. Now, every aspect of online life seems to be begging for your attention and monthly subscription-based contribution. Luckily for Redfall, the game features a single-player option to appease my fellow socially anxious acolytes.
In the description for Redfall, Bethesda describes it simply: “Redfall blends single- and multiplayer options seamlessly, allowing the player to venture into the darkness alone or to squad-up for up to four-player co-op.” Which, despite possibly implying a GaaS model, does at least offer up a story that can be played solo without the social responsibility of engaging teammates in the traditional service sense.
Smarter than the average cryptid
One of the main features that sets Redfall apart from its previously mentioned inspirations could be its use of enemies. Games like Left4Dead and Back4Blood include mostly brainless swarms of the undead or the like. Even Earthfall (which was good, and I don’t care what people say) did this, albeit with aliens. But the execution of these enemies in-game always seemed like a copy and paste kind of job. This is especially the case when you start to look at similarities between enemy classes.
In these types of online games, your goal is to withstand the brunt force of the enemy swarm and achieve an overall level goal. Melee or shoot the wrong creature, though, and that could be the end of your session. Enemies usually vary in a few ways. Aggressive grunt types overwhelm the player, a mid-tier tougher enemy disrupts the party, and tanks can kill the mood entirely. Tanks can vary from The Boomer (or the Tank) seen in Left4Dead 2, to more massive creatures, like the Beast in Earthfall (see above). However, there was never a feeling of sentience among these creatures. It has simply been: bad creature, kill player.
Redfall will instead deploy an intelligent cryptid, setting vampires on the ground and offering up an enemy that is still alive despite craving the inviting warmth of human blood. I mean, they did block out the sun and create an artificial drought after all. I feel like this provides a deeper threat level when approaching enemies. It’s something that hasn’t been fully explored outside of the Vampire: The Masquerade franchise and all of its moving parts. That is, unless you have the right team to splash damaging light and drive these creatures back into hiding.
Powerful and useful characters
If you’re in my inner circle of friends, it’s no secret that I have a certain fondness for Apex Legends. While there have been countless battle royales to enter the market, Apex Legends has proven its lasting power with new maps, weapons, and a diverse cast of selectable characters. And, to be completely honest, that has been the dedicated driving force behind its presence. Each character has their own detailed story and abilities that make them feel genuinely unique. This is one aspect that made transitioning from Overwatch to Apex Legends feel both familiar and new. That same design philosophy might also be the reason why I’m drawn to Redfall.
In Redfall, each character has their own set of abilities. Instead of solely wielding weaponry and sprays of bullets, you’ll be able to electrify, shoot, and blast vampires with UV rays. To deepen its roots further, the character Layla Ellison also wields telekinetic powers. This comes into use in the trailer where she mentally crafts an object to vault into the sky for a better view of the battlefield. There are still the traditional player archetypes, with Remi De La Rose being both a medic and engineer and characters like Jacob Boyer functioning as a sniper type. Devinder Crousley (a possible play on Aleister Crowley) seems to teeter as a support or assault class. The previously mentioned Layla falls into the mage/psyops class, offering support that traditional military types can’t provide.
Either way, the roster gave me Apex Legends feelings from the start, and who knows if that will grow. And, honestly, for Redfall to keep chugging along for years to come — it needs to.
Redfall is currently on track to release in 2023. There’s no firm release date at the time of writing. However, what has been shown so far seems like Arkane’s Austin studio has fleshed out most of its design and mechanics. At this point, though, I’m ready to stake and bake these bloodhounds in the name of survival.
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