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Blood West Review

It is a dark, cold night in the desert. I leave my camp, fully stocked up on ammunition, carrying my trusty revolver on my hip, and my battle axe and lever rifle on the back. There is a mysterious trinket that has to be recovered from the nearby mines, so I head there, avoiding a ghost town now populated by feathery assassins and ghastly spirits. The entrance to the mines is at the bottom of a cliff, so I slowly make my way down by carefully sliding from rock to rock, losing a bit of my health as I miscalculate the final landing.

Finally underground, I stealthily backstab undead miners as they mindlessly hit the walls in search of golden nuggets. An ominous wind catches my attention, leading me to a hidden, massive cave: at the centre of the room is the trinket. As the greedy cowboy that I am, I sprint for it without checking my corners first. A booming roar makes me realize that I have been detected: a tall, imposing Vendigo has found my presence and rushes to the cave, ready to tear my head off.

I quickly grab the trinket, equip the rifle, and start unloading the bullets into the beast as I make my way back to the exterior of the mines. I finish my ammunition and the beast shows no signs of stopping. Right outside the mines, there is a small village with a handful of buildings populated by the undead. With no more ammo and very little health, I climb the first stairs I find to the top of the first building. The Vendigo, thankfully, cannot reach me at this height, so it starts pacing back and forth, waiting for me to leave the roof.

However, I find a hole in the ceiling, so I drop inside the house. A distracted undead receives the tip of my axe in its neck as I look for any weapon possible. Finally, I obtain just what I was looking for: a molotov. Everything else happens in quick succession: I jump out of a window, the Vendigo ready to start the chase again, and I throw the flammable bottle at it. The explosion illuminates the area, and the creature lets out a horrifying screech as it burns to death. The violent inhabitants of the village are now aware of my presence, but before they can spot me I have already escaped back to my camp, barely alive.

No, this is not a chapter from a Dark Tower novel by Stephen King. This is what an average play session of Blood West looks like. Currently in Early Access on Steam, this first-person action horror by Hyperstrange is an outstanding title, as challenging as it is rewarding. Thanks to its Weird West setting and high learning curve, patience becomes the best tactic to survive in this brutal world. Exploration is encouraged to get as much ammo and loot to later sell to friendly vendors in exchange for resources and talismans, but it is the thrill of the experience that is ultimately the main hook of the game: knowing that the protagonist is not invincible, learning which battles are worth fighting, mastering the stealth system to hide in the shadows and avoid combat… It all adds up to a refreshingly tense and nail-biting video game that feels old-school in the best of ways.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Nicolò Grasso
Nicolò Grasso
Filmmaker and cinephile, owner of the EnjoyTheMovies production company and YouTube channel. Also reviews video games for Cult Following and the EnjoyTheGaming YouTube channel.

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