Adult Swim Games is known for being the supporting ground for plenty of unquestionably raunchy, witty, and fun games, and the Ostrich Banditos produced Westerado: Double Barreled further solidifies that notion. Having started as an online web portal game, through none other than Adult Swim Games, the original Westerado gained enough steam and attention to earn the support and financial backing from Adult Swim Games as the official publisher. With this back-up, Ostrich Banditos had the ability to fully flesh out their vision and integrate all the ideas they had sitting on the back-burner. To my delight, Westerado: Double Barreled is one of the more unique and genuine games I got to play last year, ending my 2016 with bang after bang of my revolvers. After your family is mercilessly murdered and your ranch is destroyed, you set off into town to find out “who dun it”. During your adventure you will meet people willing to help you answer the very question, but in most cases you'll have to do something in return. Westerado offers one of the most cause-and-effect style stories you will have seen come out of recent years, with each action you take making your playthroughs different every time.
At a quick glance, you may not take Westerado for more than a retro inspired shooter. You would be sorely mistaken, as it offers a rich and deep narrative with simple yet fun gunplay. The main goal in Westerado is to track down your family’s murderer, who has been causing a ruckus in the area surrounding Clintville. Clintville is the main city you will visit, were many townsfolk have clues as to the identity of the killer. These people will typically give you quests, and whether it is a fetch quest or a bounty, successful completion of these quests usually results in them rewarding you with a bit of info they heard about your target. Each of these clues is a description about the killer’s appearance, which builds a profile in your menu. Options that have been determined, like a black wide brimmed hat, will be locked in on this portrait, while descriptors that still need to be found will cycle through all the possibilities until confirmed by an NPC. Many of these quests while task you with traveling, and a lot of times during these travels you will have to shed blood to survive.
The gunplay in Westerado is quick and nerve wrecking, resulting in many close calls and tense moments. Using a variety of guns like revolvers, a rifle, or shotgun, you embody the spirit of the west with pin point accuracy. Your shots are fired on a horizontal plane, which means left or right straight x-axis shots. While this kind of range makes for a learning curve, it really adds to the fun of these fights. Shots must be cocked before being fired, and each shell or bullet needs to be manually loaded individually. Using the right trigger cocks, with an additional click shooting the round, while clicking the left trigger will reload one piece of ammo. When in big firefights, making your shots count can mean all the difference between life and death. Your health is measured by hats, which is an ingenious nod to Western Cowboy culture while being a meaningful aspect of the game. You can carry up to three hats, allotting up to four hits maximum since you can take one last shot without a hat. The kicker here is that if you successfully shoot off an enemy’s hat, you can pick it up sometimes to replenish one of your own. Other enemies carry multiple hats, which once again add to the importance of placing your shots.
When you have three or more shooters fighting against you, things can get hectic. You really have to watch your steps to avoid getting hit and place your shots right. My weapon of choice was the double revolvers, which was the best way to take out multiple enemies in rapid succession. Massive firefights get even trickier when you take friendly fighters with you into battle. The game can be played fully in co-op and along the way you can enlist NPC friendlies to fight by your side, all the while friendly fire is fully intact. When you have a lot of bodies and the screen, it is hard not to accidently wing one of your friends, effectively wasting one of their hats or even their life. It’s hard to avoid hitting others, but adds to the realistic sense of the game, along with the permanent deaths of main figures. When you bring certain NPC’s along, they can be permanently killed, as is such with many prominent townsfolk. Kill the sheriff, banker, or local oil tycoon, and they are dead as dead can be. This all ties into the games rich variety of playthrough options.
Westerado has tons of potential to be replayed over and over again. For one, it is not overly long, meaning you can clock in a playthrough in as little as three to four hours. Secondly, the killer of your family is different every time, meaning you will build a new profile of him each time you start the game from the beginning. In addition to those key features, the quest options have various outcomes. I chose to be sort of a good guy in my main playthrough, always looking to be helpful and never doing wrong by the people of the town. I tried my best to help the ranchers through tough times, when I could have easily extorted them on behalf of the oil tycoon or even the banker. I remained neutral when it came to the ongoing battles between the militia and the Native Americans, but I could have fought on either side or even tried to find peace between the two. The diversity is amazing, and you can be the good guy hero or just be a straight up cold-blooded killer. It is damn impressive.
I had a blast with all my time playing. A couple bugs here and there were slight deterrents, like the time I shifted behind a building that shouldn’t have been accessible, or the other time when I was gun shopping but the options wouldn’t load, but they could not stop the steam of the overall experience. The climax at the end was one hell of a trip, and a challenging one at that, and I could not help but feel by the time the credits rolled that this is a great western to hold you over while you wait for Red Dead Redemption 2. It is an amazing experience that will surely change each time you play. If you want a game with classic appeal that is incredibly smart and deep. Don’t look
over Westerado, it brings the heat and becomes an instant western classic.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 8.5/10
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