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PS2 Review: Gun

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Neversoft, the creators of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, have developed a very impressive video game. Not only is this a solid title, but it also sheds some light on a sub-genre of games we hardly ever see.

Gun is the reason Western-themed games will be respected from here on out. Neversoft knew exactly what they were doing. Gun is a full-blown, gritty Western experience. There's no sugarcoating here at all. The western times were pretty hard and brutal, so Neversoft made plenty sure they could capture that with this game.

The game follows a young man named Colton White, who seeks revenge on the person who was responsible for killing his father (or the person Colton thought was his true father), Ned, in a riverboat shootout caused by a mysterious preacher.

Colton's only clue to why the shootout went down is a medallion that Ned has given him, which has the name of a saloon in Dodge City. Colton travels to Dodge City, to seek a woman named Jenny, who may reveal many answers to what happened with Ned, and why the preacher caused the shootout.

Although the storyline is a very good one, it all goes by way too fast. The story is very fast-paced, and seems to resolve major conflicts very quickly. You have no time to have any feelings about any of the characters except for Colton.

With such a huge environment to freely roam around in, it's very disappointing that it ends all too soon. If you choose to not do any side missions in the game, you can most likely beat this in three sittings.

Even though the story is a short one, it is all worthwhile, thanks to voice-acting by Kris Kristofferson (Blade), Thomas Jane (The Punisher), and Brad Dourif (Child's Play). In fact, all audio in this game is excellent. The music, filled with the violins and wind instruments, fits the mood perfectly. The blasting of each gun, as well as the sound effects of horses galloping on the ground, sound great.

The game play is very gory. Some of the effects are just over the top. Grabbing an enemy and slitting his/her throat causes an eruption of blood to spew out all over the surrounding environment. You'll also get a kick out of blasting off the head of another character, as they will sometimes actually blow off of their shoulders. Of course you also have the option of swiping others with your knife/hatchet, or trampling over them with your horse. This game is the definition of an "M" rated game.

Over time, you'll get better weapons to use in Gun, but keep in mind that this is a Western third-person shooter, so you won't see any rocket-launchers or plasma rifles. You can use weapons such as a bow and arrow, a shotgun, a rifle, the standard pistol, dynamite, and a knife.

Those weapons will become better as you progress through the game. For instance, the bow and arrow you receive will eventually have the ability to shoot fire arrows, and then upgrade even more into a crossbow later on.

Gunfights are always fun to do in this game. Waves of enemies will flock into a certain town or area, and you'll have to wipe them out with a weapon of choice. This can be pretty intense at times, but it's nothing unique or revolutionary.

Something that I loved in this game is the ability to whip out your pistol and shoot enemies in slow motion, similar to Max Payne. Time will slow down and a little bar on the bottom will tell you how much time you have left to wipe out your rivals. Although this is pretty fun to do, this makes the already simple gunfights much easier to go through.

Switching weapons during a fight, however, is a problem. You'll need to hold the Circle button while using the D-Pad to change what weapon you would like to play with. While you switch your weapon, you will be shot at. Time doesn't freeze when you open your weapons menu, so you can get harmed badly while switching.

Gun takes many aspects from Grand Theft Auto. Instead of getting around town by driving a car you jacked, you can ride a stray horse wherever you can. While riding your horse, you can fire your weapons and rotate your camera freely.

You also have the ability to jump over obstacles in your path. If you push your horse too hard, it is possible to kill it. If you're in the middle of a desert and you accidentally do manage to kill your horse, you can easily walk around to find another one. The map is GTA style as well, so it's really easy to read.

There are multiple side missions you can do. You can do a sheriff's job and retrieve stolen goods; rescue hostages; become the Pony Express and deliver items; become a rancher and help a farm out by herding animals and protecting calves from wolves. You can even play Texas Hold'em in the local saloon or go on a quest given by the Apache Indians.

Graphically, Gun is above average. Cut scenes look good, as well as details put into the environment. I did experience very little frame rate issues, and a few invisible walls, but other than that I found the graphics to be fine.

Gun is a great adventure title that will not disappoint – while it lasts. With terrific voice-acting and fun gameplay, Gun can amaze. Unfortunately, the game ends too fast, and creates a thirst for more. I enjoyed the game a lot, but it can feel pretty boring after the story is all over with. If you don't mind playing a quick game to beat in less than maybe 10 hours, I suggest picking this up.

Gun is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, and Use of Alcohol. This game can also be found on: GameCube, PC, Xbox, and Xbox 360.

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