Overdue Review: Gun Showdown

Hookers and, Horses and Apaches Oh my!

Hookers and, Horses and Apaches Oh my!

Neversoft, Activision and Rebellion team up to bring PSP players a game they might enjoy. Sadly most attempts at that particular goal fail miserably; but, Gun Showdown, an alternate version of the game Gun released on the PS2.

The game follows essentially the same story as Gun the PS2. In the wild west era Colton White finds his world turned upside down when people around him begin getting killed. Quickly he makes the choice the set out on a Vendetta and get vengeance against the people who harm him.

The game is geninuinly fun; I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to it. I’m usually not a huge fan of shooter games and equally not as excited with the Wild West era theme; but, I found myself actually liking Gun Showdown. The first level did indeed confuse the hell out of me; the controls aren’t explained for some reason and they follow a command not usually followed in games. It took me a good while to figure out how to move.

Once I figured out how to move; the game picked up for me; I found myself very interested in what the plot was going to end up being. The first half hour of the game sets the mood for the entire game. It’s clear why the game is marked mature. Again I’m not a huge fan of “M” games simply because I think most publishers use the rating as an excuse to be gratuitous and raunchy; but, Gun Showdown doesn’t ever seem to be too much of anything. There’s blood; there’s sex and there’s alcohol; but, it really feels like a wild west drama. When a whore gets impaled with an axe you don’t go: “wow that’s extreme” you say “well that sucks” because, for some reason, the events seem to be normal for the life that you’re inhabiting in the game.

Another credit to Gun Showdown is it’s main character: Colton White. White is a likable guy; and you find yourself instantly siding with him after his tragedy. His pain is so underplayed that it seems very believable; but, not underplayed where it seems he was destined to go on a Vendetta in the first place. A part of this believability comes from the superior voice in acting in the game. In a previous review for Spider-Man: Web of Shadows I commented on how the cheesy voice acting made it hard to believe any character in the game was invested in their story at any point of time in the game. Gun Showdown doesn’t suffer from this problem at all the voice acting is spot-on at every point of the game. The villains sound like villains and the heroes sound like people you wouldn’t want to ever cross. This is in part because the game is voiced over by actual actors and actresses instead of random voice over actors. Thomas Jane (The Punisher)  provides the voice for Colton White with additional support from Lance Henrickson (Aliens) Brad Dourif (Lord of The Ring: The Two Towers) and Kris Krisofferson (Blade).

The plot moves slowly; which is also a benefit to the game, too often shooter games jump the gun (no pun intended) and reveal the whole story within the first hour of the game and the rest of the game is series of shoot ’em up levels that don’t advance the story in any way. The main villains are identified, some through twist and turns, but, they are villains only in a small way of thinking, their plot and plans aren’t revealed to almost the very end of the game; letting the player advance through the game learning new things about characters and the culture continuously. Are there some cliche ideas here and there? Yes. Is the story a genius work of art? No. But it’s suitable and a good departure from most PSP games.

The gameplay is nothing revolutionary except that its actual fun to play. Once the player gets used to controls the game flows like water. It’s not different than any other shooter; but, there’s something that makes this game more enjoyable than some of it’s shooter brethren. The missions pretty much follow the same idea; kill everybody and don’t die. Sometimes deviating to kill everybody, don’t die, don’t let this person die or don’t let that explosion go off. It’s the same; but, for some reason it’s always fun. The new weapons upgraded since Gun are a welcome; it allows for some varied gameplay and the side missions aren’t that bad either.

That’s not to say that Gun Showdown is not without it’s flaws. Most of which I attribute to Neversoft who have been producing the Tony Hawk skateboarding series games for years now. The same problems that accompany that game also brings this one down. Sometimes the camera will shift; or levels will be unclear; but, it’s nothing catastrophic, annoying, but, nothing serious. Activision brings in some of the bonus levels that has Colton doing various things in short amounts of time that resemble a lot of the X-Men Ultimate Alliance games. But I have to attribute the best of the three to the one company that doesn’t appear on the cover of the game: Rebellion.

When I started playing the game I was very happy to see the Rebellion animation come up. Their work with Star wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron really impressed me and one can see a lot of the best parts of that game in Gun Showdown.

All in all; I really enjoyed Gun Showdown and I put it up there with one of the better PSP games. I’d suggest picking it up; it’s not too big so one could probably catch it at their local Gamestop or whatever the local video game store chain is, used for a good price and it’s well worth it. The quick play games are fun and it’s a fun game to be had.

Rating: out of ten

9.0/10.

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