Redfall review

by on May 2, 2023
Release Date

May 2, 2023


For the first couple of hours of Redfall, I was hooked. The gunplay felt tight, the world was interesting, and the story showed a lot of promise. Unfortunately, as time ticked on and I saw more and more of what it offered, the cracks began to show. Arkane is behind some of the finest first-person titles ever, with a résumé including Deathloop, the Dishonored series, and Prey, however, this just doesn’t fit among them. This co-op vampire looter-shooter feels unbalanced and unfinished, from random loot drops to poor AI, there’s issues around every turn.

That’s not to say Redfall isn’t enjoyable, as there are times when it feels great. There’s a freedom to how you explore the world over both maps available. For example, there are multiple ways to break into a house, be it via the roof, a side window, or by lockpicking the back door – a variety of options let you play how you want. Once inside, there’s lore scattered everywhere, along with cultist bags and ammo crates that can offer random items like toilet paper and watches for currency to spend on a whole manner of things, to new weapons with varying degrees of rarity.

The gunplay and moveset is also enjoyable at times, although there doesn’t seem to be a huge range of weapons to choose from. Handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles are your main guns, but there’s a UV gun that freezes vampires temporarily, and a stake launcher that does huge damage and actually feels overpowered at times. While using all of these how you want, with three slots available to slot your weapons of choice into, it allows you to take on Redfall however you choose. The biggest issue in combat is the enemy AI, which is, frankly, pretty terrible.

Soldiers and cultists wouldn’t move if a bullet from my sniper rifle hit a nearby target. If I ran into a gang of enemies, they’d just stand there or run in the opposite direction (and sometimes towards me) without firing a single round. Other times, they acted as bullet sponges and were dead after a single shot, or would take a fair amount of damage before they dropped dead. It was never clear how powerful they were, even as I levelled, as even though my health grew in hit points, I’d still lose similar chunks of the health gauge. The lack of excitement when fighting standard enemies never offered a tense encounter, and even when I wanted to try and take out larger groups quietly, the lack of stealth options was disappointing.

Sure, I could go into a building while crouching, and I could definitely sneak up behind someone. The problem was, I couldn’t silently take them out. Instead, I’d just melee punch them in the back of a head as if smashing a window or some wooden planks, potentially alerting nearby enemies much easier than if I was firing the already mentioned sniper rifle. Vampires offer more variety in their design and attacks, and for a while you’re aware that every shot counts, but if you get the right gun (or that OP stake launcher), they start to lose their fear tactics. If you become overwhelmed by a lot of them, you can’t outrun them. I would end up running across most of Redfall and they wouldn’t stop pursuing me, meaning I’d have to stand and fight if I ever wanted to get some peace and quiet.

For a studio that prides themselves on smart mechanics and top notch enemy AI, these issues hampered the majority of my enjoyment. Playing solo is only fun for so long. You can’t switch between the four characters, so once you begin the campaign, then you’re stuck with them until it’s done. Luckily I chose Jacob who’s great with a sniper rifle and for recon, but teaming up with friends and seeing how cool some of their abilities are (Devinder’s teleportation is awesome) meant I couldn’t quench my envy and dabble with the rest of the characters.

When you are playing in co-op, Redfall is fun for a while. Playing off each other’s abilities and building a bond provides small buffs in combat, but it was here where I witnessed the biggest bugs of all. Framerate dropped considerably when a Rook (a hulking vampire) appeared on the back of a wave of red lightning, and my friend even disappeared, leaving only a floating gun in his wake. In single-player, I noticed tons of texture pop-ins while making my way across the map, and pretty much every time I switched weapons, the textures on my gun wouldn’t load in straight away. 30fps runs fine, but for a title releasing on Xbox Series X, you’d expect 60fps to be ready at launch. My co-op partner experienced worse bugs, too, including his hands disappearing, and being stuck on geometry, only being fixed with fast travelling away.

Missions are relatively bland in Redfall. Most of the main missions consist of go here, kill the vampires, find this item, and leave. In our preview, we talked about how good one of the missions involving a doll house was, and it absolutely is. That’s why it’s frustrating that this one mission is still the only one I can really remember as being good. There’s other stuff to do, like clearing out Vampire Nests that take you to the heart of the vampires in an effort to grab some impressive loot, and side missions can be activated from a repetitive process to unlock safe houses. Each safe house has one mission to complete, then an under boss, who seem far too easy to dispatch, where you pick up their skull for a reason that should have been made clearer from the start.

Loot seems rather unbalanced as well. There doesn’t seem to be any regularity to it, whereby you could pick up a higher tier weapon early on, then see nothing for hours. There are customisation options for the stakes attached to weapons needed to get rid of vampires, backpack and outfit cosmetics, but again, I didn’t find many for a long time, and there’s no clarity on the map to show you where these good drops would occur. Touching on the map, you have to place waypoints for every mission as they don’t show up as you’re playing. These little touches would help the quality of life a lot, yet with all the other issues, it’s another thing to add to the list of issues present.

It’s a shame, as there there are times when you forget about the problems Redfall has in favour of enjoying what Arkane is known for. There’re some great places to discover, and some of the level design, while not on the same level as the recent Deathloop, makes you want to explore. It’s just that the issues I faced pop all too frequently, whether it’s the enemy AI being poor, or technical issues ruining certain moments of gameplay. Xbox hasn’t had a wealth of excellent titles ever since the Series X|S launched, and this one feels like another disappointment to add to the list. I wanted to love this, I really did, but after all the problems, I don’t foresee me returning any time soon.


Gunplay can be fun
Co-op has its moments
Plenty of loot
Maps have some interesting locations


Bland missions
Poor enemy AI
Technical issues throughout
Odd design choices

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Redfall is hampered by issues like poor AI, texture pop-ins, and bland missions, meaning its stronger moments are overshadowed.