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Redfall has an open world where you can mow down human enemies or get slaughtered by vampires.
It’s pretty bloody, as you would expect. I played a preview of the open world where humans use heavy weapons to square off against god-like vampires. The game is coming on May 2 on the Xbox Series X/S and PC from Microsoft’s Bethesda division and Arkane Austin. I played it on the PC.
It’s a story-driven shooter set in the open world of an island town called Redfall, Massachusetts. An evil company called Aevum did some research into the occult, and they unlocked a bunch of vampires who are terrorizing the town after cutting it off from the mainland.
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And it’s up to residents of the town to fight back and destroy the vampires one by one while getting rid of the vampires’ relatively weak human cultist followers.
The preview session
In my preview session, I was able to join the game about mid-way through the campaign. I had a fully leveled up character with access to some good weapons like machine guns and grenades.
The first thing I noticed about the world was that it was big. I appreciated the fact that Arkane was taking a deep dive into world-building again, after giving us the worlds of Prey and Dishonored in years past.
Redfall is set in a small town in New England. It’s very tied to American folklore around horror stories, said Ricardo Barre, co-creative director at Bethesda, in a conversation with GamesBeat. It’s the location of the Salem witch trials and has a dreaded backstory to add to the spooky environment. There’s a contrast between the horror of the vampires and the familiarity of the quaint town.
I started the demo in a safe place, a big building occupied by human survivors who have gathered a bunch of guns and ammo and other resources like medkits. I loaded up and packed a revolver and a shotgun. I went outside and wandered into the open world.
I found there were all kinds of things that I could check out in the outside world. I needed to make it to a certain house across the river, and there weren’t many ways to get across without being discovered. There were outposts of human cultists who worship the vampires as gods. For some reason, the vampires haven’t wiped these people out and are instead using them as cannon fodder against the human survivalists. I moved close to a group and attacked them and didn’t have to much trouble taking them out.
But there was some kind of thick fog blocking the way across the bridge. I ran through it but realized I lost a lot of health. I went looking for artifacts and climbed to the top of a building. As soon as I got up there, the vampires killed me quickly in close combat. The camera angle was tough in that close combat and while I was trying to figure that out, I quickly died. The tough thing about the vampires is they have this ability to fly extremely fast and get behind you or fly above you or escape you.
I was resurrected back in the home base, and then I set out in a different direction, as you can do in an open world. I crossed the river at a dry patch and headed to a point on the map that housed the big estate where I was headed.
The vampire nest
I got in more firefights, died, and then decided to load up on points and resources by attacking a vampire nest. This was asking for trouble. But I was armed with an ultraviolet light gun, which could freeze the vampires and temporarily turn them to stone. When they turned into stone, I pulled out my shotgun out and blew the vampire into a bunch of tiny rocks. I found that inside the nest home there was this big underground space — almost another town in itself — where the vampires were waiting.
I was in the midst of a lot of enemies, but they were pretty tame. And so I took care of the vampires one by one with the UV light and the shotgun. It got hairy when two vampires came after me, but I managed to survive their attack. Then I pressed a button in the projector room of a big theater. Then I got to go deeper into the nest and eventually found a big red beating heart.
This heart was held up by several threads. I had to sever each one and then go to the next one. The timing had to be fast or I had to repeat the process. Fortunately, I had pretty much dispatched all of the vampires in the area and managed to blow up the heart.
The big mansion
Once I did that, I had more confidence to carry out my attack on the big mansion. But I kept running into human and vampire patrols who took me out. Each time after I died, they respawned in different places and yet I still managed to find trouble.
Finally, I cleared enough out and got to the mansion, where there were all sorts of vampires and human enemies keeping guard. This was a real challenge as I tried to get in through stealth. I did so and took out one of the snipers guarding the front door from the side. Then I went inside and was ambushed by two vampires. After walking all the way back again from the human base, I got inside the mansion and went to the office of a Aevum researcher. I had to search the house, quietly dispatch the guards, and find some keys. It was a tough mission, but with the combo of stealth and firepower, I had a fighting chance.
I’m looking forward to playing more of this game. I think the human enemies were easy to kill, and the vampires were tough. And I didn’t even get in a fight with any of the bosses. So I think it will be fruitful for the less-skilled among us to play co-op in a group of four to handle the tough stuff.
But the quality of the game is high, and its environment is pretty immersive. I’ll see you in Redfall.
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