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Gun

Developer: Neversoft | Publisher: Activision
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/16/05 | Genre: Action

There is something about a western that captivates our imagination. I recall playing Cowboys and Indians as a kid, watching old black & white movies, and wanting to experience the thrills of gun battles and horse riding in a video game. Despite the use of the setting in Hollywood and television, few videogames have utilized the "Wild Wild West" in their games. Those that have were easily forgotten. But now that Gun is here, there is a new sheriff in town.

Who would have ever thought that Neversoft, best known as the Tony Hawk developer, could bring us any other type of game. Gun is not only a fun, but short, title--it is the start of what could be a great new franchise for both Neversoft and Activision.

You control Colton White--a young gun-slinger that loves his six shooter. After learning the ropes in a tutorial mission from Ned, players are led onto a steamboat where the first real gameplay mission begins. Although you are ultimately successful and completing the mission, Colton barely escapes with his life and Ned dies--along with everyone else onboard. Ned's dying wish is that you go to Dodge City and learn the truth.

The vast majority of the storyline is a bit shallow and the game is very short. However, I loved each and every cinematic sequence between missions due to the very high quality voice acting. The biggest crime Neversoft committed was not giving players more content.

Visually Gun looks nice. The Xbox 360 version is the best looking but it is not what I would consider "Next-Generation" quality of visuals. What we get on the X360 are slightly better graphics, the inclusion of achievements, a $10 higher price tag, and not anything else different from the current generation of systems. Because of this, it is hard to recommend players to go out and spend $59.99 for the same game they could buy for $49.99 on the PS2 or Xbox.

Despite which version you decide to play, there is plenty of action. Also, due to the inclusion of a large variety of difficulty levels, players of all skills can enjoy the adventure. Players collect and upgrade a variety of different guns. Each one is best used in different circumstances. There is also the inclusion of horses in Gun. But this portion of the title feels a bit rushed. For example, when I first got my horse, I was riding it around and was ready to venture into Dodge City. However, I saw a spotted horse that I liked better. I left my newly acquired steed and jumped on this other horse. Unfortunately there isn't any real ownership involved in horses. So don't worry about yours dying. Just find any other and hop on.

One of the most enjoyable gameplay elements is the Quick Draw. This allows you to magically hit enemies without reloading and is in slow motion. Once the meter is emptied, you will have to fill it up again before using it. With other weapons, like the shotgun, you can look down the barrel of the gun for some intense action. Ammo is unlimited for your six shooters but everything is limited but can easily be replenished off fallen enemies or bags on the ground.

Each mission in Gun must be completed before continuing on. If you fail a mission, you can restart without any penalty. This takes a lot of the challenge out of the game--no matter what difficulty setting you are playing on. To add a bit of variety and challenge, there are several side missions you and optional items you can locate. Unless you are trying to obtain a higher Achievement Score on the Xbox 360, I felt little need to complete any of these except when I was broke and needed more cash for upgrades.

Despite a short storyline and little replay value, Gun is the best western game I have played in a very long time. It is definitely worth a look but due to the length you may find little value in purchasing it over renting it. I fully expect Neversoft to revisit this game in the near future and deliver a longer storyline.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 11/18/05
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
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Screenshots for Gun

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