If there’s one thing I dislike almost as much as video games based on movies, it’s the straight port of a decent game to another platform in order to keep milking the same cash cow. Sometimes ports work pretty well, but other times, the port brings out the flaws in an otherwise good game. And sadly, that’s what happened with Gun for Xbox 360.
To start with, Gun is the Gary Coleman of video games. By this I mean it’s very short, and it doesn’t get a lot of respect, but you still like it in spite of its size. For those who haven’t played it yet, Gun is a FPS set in the Wild West with the hero Colton White, a gunslinger raised by Ned, who we are told is a hunter.
The main plot moves like a tornado: very fast but not in a straight line. Sometimes it seems like entire story arcs were compacted into short missions. There are a lot of characters in the game, and you expect to see characters that make big appearances in cut scenes become a major part of the game only to see them gone at the end of a chapter. It’s almost like the game was originally intended to be far longer, but then do to development costs or schedule, was crammed down into a much shorter experience.
Kris Kristopherson voices Ned marvelously, giving Colton’s father figure the strongest presence of any character in the game. The voice acting of the “bad guys” and other characters is also strong, which western themed games have an easy time of because putting the white hat against the black hat or the black hat against the blacker hat is an easy plot to develop and write lines for.
What’s truly enjoyable about the game is the action. Whether you’re perched above a canyon or around the corner of a building, the anticipation of the gunfight is exhilarating. I had several fights that afterwards I was grinning ear to ear from putting someone or several some ones down. And then there’s fighting on horseback. If you’ve ever seen the movie Tombstone, where Wyatt Earp hunts down his enemies one by one, firing a shotgun while riding at full speed, that’s what you get from this part of the game play.
The controls are a bit complex, but nothing that differs too greatly from other FPS games. The hardest part is learning to aim while moving on horseback, but those kills are definitely worth the work.
The biggest selling point of a 360 game over an Xbox game is that it should be graphically stronger. With Gun, it’s just the opposite. While I live in the monolithic age (meaning I have only a regular standard definition TV), my neighbor does not. When I hooked my 360 up to his Phillips Plasma, I expected to see a whole new world of Wild West mayhem in beautiful High Definition. Instead, I saw the same character models, the same low-resolution textures, the same clipping and not consistent frame rate as on the SD TV. In fact, other than being forced to play in letterbox on the SD TV, I saw no improvement whatsoever on the better display. In fact, because I expected more on the HD TV, especially with what we see from other games, I was even more disappointed.
In conclusion, this is a fun game, but it simply is a better buy on the PS2 or Xbox, without paying for an HD compatible format that simply is less attractive than the Xbox or PS2.
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