Jul 2023
Video Games
Inna Cherkashina

Ten Reasons Why Redfall Failed

The Redfall game is a cooperative first-person shooter video game developed by Arkane Studios, known for such cult games as Dishonored and Prey. It is set in a fictional town in Massachusetts which vampires and their worshiping cultists overrun.

As it was the first full-fledged project by Arkane Studios in six years, Redfall was a highly anticipated game. However, despite the hype and the buzz surrounding its release, it failed to meet expectations.

Reason #1: Raw quality

Arkane Studios is best known for making excellent single-player games and has garnered praise for its environmental storytelling, innovative combat, and well-written stories like Dishonored, Prey, and Deathloop, and its move towards a multiplayer raised a lot of doubts. Many experienced developers reportedly weren’t interested in making a multiplayer game and left the studio. Apparently, only one-quarter of the staff who had worked on Prey was still at Arkane by the time Redfall was finished.

As a result, Redfall feels rushed and unfinished, ultimately not up to Arkane’s usual standards.

Reason #2: Performance issues

Right from the start, Redfall was riddled with performance issues. Many players have reported experiencing technical issues that prevent them from fully enjoying the game, such as crashing, freezing, black screen, and others. All these bugs and glitches have made it difficult or impossible to play the game.

Also, Redfall only targets a frame rate of 30 fps on both Xbox and PC versions, while a 60 FPS performance mode will probably come to the game at a later date. Many players consider this restriction highly questionable, as 60 fps is usually regarded as a standard for an AAA title.

Reason #3: Non-immersive environment

Redfall is set in a lifeless town that has been sucked dry by vampires and occupied by cultists, and this fictional town feels both unbelievable and boring. Vampires and cultists don’t have any character, enemies occasionally respawn right in front of you, and there are no tasks that could bring more life or personality to this environment.

Also, there is a significant problem with the AI. Enemies in Redfall can’t see you at a distance of two meters, get stuck on stairs and in each other, poke into walls, or freeze in fright. Vampires that can teleport, turn invisible and are supposed to be a significant threat to the player, run towards you right under the bullets, turning the game into a shooting gallery.

Reason #4: Lack of content

The Redfall game sufficiently lacks creative content. Although players can fill their arsenal with several different types of weapons, from standard pistols and shotguns to UV blasters capable of petrifying the game’s undead enemies. However, the weapons within each category lack any distinctive identity. The legendary weapons in Redfall have little to set them apart from lower-level weapons in the same class, apart from modifiers and damage output. This results in an experience where gunplay in Redfall feels largely the same a dozen hours into the campaign as it did when players first took to the streets of this city.

Reason #5: Repetitive gameplay

The game's missions are almost identical to each other, with little variation in the objectives or the environments, which considerably reduces fun and engagement. Previous Arkane games also had a specific gameplay loop, but their players got a diverse selection of missions and activities to make that repetition keep from weighing them down. Redfall‘s missions are mostly fetch quests or combat encounters. As a result, the whole experience is less enjoyable than, for example, assassinations featured in Dishonored.

Reason #6: Poor storytelling

Redfall falls dramatically short in storytelling. When speaking with NPCs in the game, characters exhibit minimal animation flourishes as they rattle off their lines. In-game story sequences are presented almost exclusively through ghostly visions of the past which serve as little more than an audio log. As a result, while some in-game animation and select sequences can look good in motion, much of the storytelling simply falls flat.

Reason #7: Lackluster characters

Regarding the characters, Redfall feels tailored more towards the multiplayer experience because even the game’s primary characters with their personalities, backgrounds, and styles look blank. Upon introduction, there are only vague story elements shared, and the gaps in plot and character growth all feel in service of the game’s focus on cooperative gameplay. It seems that in Redfall, players have to find character and personality in their human companions rather than in the game’s world.

It's like if you dropped a plucky Overwatch hero into Netflix's Midnight Mass —Tyler Colp.

Reason #8: Incohesive level design

Redfall's level design doesn’t feel cohesive and works against the strengths of the gameplay. The developers crafted a lot of intricate and beautiful spaces, so that first it looks like players should explore each space and take advantage of its tactical opportunities. However, it's always faster, easier, and more rewarding to just run past enemies or shoot anyone that gets in your way. There’s no reason to sneak around the house, climb onto the roof, and drop through the skylight, when the front door is wide open.

Reason #9: Disappointing multiplayer progression

Although Redfall was promoted as a cooperative game where up to four players can play together looting, exploring, and hunting vampires, it is still mostly a single-player experience because the co-op story progression is only tied to the host player. Anyone joining their game will get XP, skill points, weapons, and other progression elements, but they will have to repeat story missions back in their own game.

If players want to only experience the game with friends, they have to coordinate a schedule to play with all who are in the group and can only progress on one player’s game, leaving the others either waiting to see the rest of the story or spoiling it by going ahead on their own.

Reason #10: Poor post-launch support

Finally, the game's publisher, Bethesda Softworks, failed to provide a proper post-launch support for Redfall and didn’t address the game's numerous issues and bugs properly, and there are still many much-awaited patches.

There are some fun pieces in the game that can provide a rewarding playtime, and the storyline is good, but all these multiple flaws wind down the positive effect. While Redfall had significant potential, it failed to deliver an engaging and immersive gaming experience. Patches should eventually fix most of the technical problems, but the well-worn gameplay mechanics at the core of the title are something no software update can change.

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