Gun (Giant Bomb|Wikipedia) is a third person action adventure with a western setting. Developed by Neversoft, makers of the Tony Hawk series. Released right around the launch of the Xbox 360, and was on every platform under the sun at the time. I do remember this game being released, but I never picked up a copy until recently – it was just one of those titles that slipped through the cracks.
The game starts out with you hunting with your dad. After a quick tutorial, you head out to a steamer and all hell breaks loose. During the chaos, your dad tells you he’s not really your father and that you should head to a brothel and talk to someone named Jenny who will have some information for you. Shortly after this, the steamer explodes killing your father and sending you flying. While not the most original of starting points, it’s delivered well and gets the story moving. I have no idea if the rest of the narrative will pan out, but the beginning is promising.
Gameplay is typical 3rd person open world, with you able to ride horses and equip various guns. This all seems pretty standard now, but the setting was new at the time – eventually this would be outdone by Red Dead Redemption, but I can appreciate what Neversoft was going for. I see it as a great amount of praise that I compare this favorably to that game. Controls all felt tight, intuitive, and responsive here even on horseback. To be fair, I’m not sure how much of an ‘open world’ game this is, but the levels I did play were pretty expansive. During combat, you can activate a meter that slows down time and allows you to line up several shots. This meter refills as you kill enemies and added a nice touch to the otherwise fairly standard shooting. One odd thing I’ll mention is that you drink whiskey to refill your health – yeah.
Visuals were a definite strong suit here, and never disappointed. Textures were excellent for a PS2 title, and animations were quite good. I did see some frame rate issues in town when there was a lot going on or when explosions were happening, but these dips were not common and didn’t bother me much. I didn’t test it out since I’m playing on a CRT TV that doesn’t support it, but there was support for progressive scan in the menu – not a common option on PS2.
Sound was great as well – sound effects and music were fantastic and helped give the game its gritty feel. What little voice acting I heard ranged from excellent to acceptable – considering the era though, this is definitely above par.
Overall, I had a great time playing this, and I played much longer than I normally do for these impressions which is always a good sign. Gun is available on Xbox, PS2, Gamecube, and PC (steam too!) and I would say is definitely worth picking up and giving a shot.
Verdict: Play again! I had a blast with this and plan on revisiting it for sure.
Images courtesy of Giant Bomb