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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (475)

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Spider-Man (2018) 4.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 2 4.5/5
Boot Hill Heroes 3.5/5
Control 4/5
Victor Vran 3/5
Katamari Damacy REROLL 4/5
SIMULACRA 3/5
Hitman: Absolution 3.5/5
Alternativa 2.5/5
Stardew Valley 4/5
Undertale 4/5
Cyberpunk 2077 3/5
Fable Anniversary 3/5
Strange Brigade 4/5
Satellite Reign 3/5
Watch Dogs 2 4/5
Divinity: Original Sin 2 4.5/5
Marvel: Ultimate Allian... 3/5
Star Trek: Bridge Crew 3/5
Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5

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Boot Hill Heroes   PC (Steam) 

Old West and RPG Tropes Makes for a Good Couple    3.5/5 stars

It's always a gamble when you deal with Kickstarter. So many tales of vaporware, broken promises or just outright crooks have turned the once-promising landscape of supporting a hidden gem into a minefield of "buyer beware". Yet not every story ends in disappointment and Boot Hill Heroes (along with its sequel Boot Hill Bounties - and perhaps more titles in the future) is a shining example of what can go right. Experimental Gamer delivered on their promise and has gifted a retro-style, western-themed RPG into our laps - one that supports co-op even - and it is truly a great experience with old-school charm.

Looks and Stuff: Retro is the theme and it is delivered from the pixel graphics to the somewhat off-putting characters portraits to the chip-tune (and very catchy) music. It's all rolled into a fuzzy ball and will be a delight for people who grew up in the golden age of RPG gaming when FFVI, Earthbound and the original Pokemon all came out. While the game sometimes tries to be too cute or quirky for its own good, for the most part it never feels too indulgent, though you can tell Earthbound was a big influence and, with the main villain's laugh, so was FFVI. Still, if you're going to pick who you want to emulate, it may as well be the best. While so many other games have tried and failed to capture this unique nostalgia, Boot Hill Heroes manages to get things mostly right and it helps things along. The game had minimal issues or bugs, though it wasn't perfect but nothing ever game-breaking.

Story: Bronco County is your typical small-town western locale - and, in the past, was terrorized by a group of ne'er do wells known as the Saints-Little Gang. In typical old-west fashion, it all came down to a dual between the gang leader and Sheriff Howl - which ended with one in jail and the other bravely sacrificing his life, scattering the remaining gang members to the wind. But ten years later, Howl's only son, Kid, sets off on his own journey - not only to save his mother and the family farm from greedy bankers, but, shortly after, trying to stop an all-out war between the local Indian Chepakwik tribe and the U.S. Army after a nearby town of Ashwood was... burnt to ash and the Indians are set up to take the fall. Shortly after, it becomes apparent this is not the case and the long-hidden Saints-Little gang may be behind the attack... but for what reason? Kid is soon joined by a red-headed firecracker named Rosy (a Calamity Jane-type), a grizzled gunslinger named Doc (think Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name) and Indian Princess Moon (a down-to-Earth type with strong Pocahontas vibes) and the three work to unravel the mystery.

The game takes to a few locations from a traveling circus to the Indian village to an unforgiving desert. Along the way you are constantly barbed by Monty Spades (who bears a striking similarity to Kefka, including his annoying laugh) who manages to weasel out of almost every fight. But luck does run out eventually. Just when you think the game is going to open up - it ends in the dreaded Chapter 1 - not only that, but it leaves on a sour note, with the last part of the game throwing you into battle with the Saints-Little Gang - but not in the present, but the past, and you are given control of random characters with random powers that can make battles a real chore. Luckily the ...to be continued leads to something better (see Boot Hill Bounties).

Gameplay: As a turn-based RPG, each of the four characters has their own abilities known as vantages - a set number of which are available and based on the current hat you are wearing. Characters have certain weapons they can equip - gun, bow, whip, rifle - although there are universal melee weapons as well. Certain attacks can only be performed if you have the right type of weapon equipped and can do various things from straight damage to poison to fire to effects (sleep, paralysis, confusion). You also have healing and, most important, stances. A stance can let you evade or block or counter attacks - but you have to time them when enemies are about to attack. Consequently, you can interrupt enemies with your own abilities. It all brings a surprising amount of depth to battles - especially boss battles. If you die, you can automatically resurrect after a short time, but will gain a wound - a debuff that can make even easy battle much harder if you don't deal with them immediately. You can also gain temporary buff from eating food (for a single battle) to talking to specific NPCs (that last for several).

Most of the game is split between walking (or riding) around the various areas of the world - talking to people, buying things, getting into or avoiding enemies - etc and actual fighting. The co-op portion only comes into effect during these fights, where each of the four characters (if they happen to be available) able to be controlled by one or up to four people. We split it into two and two but the game often forced you into having less than a full party. Especially early on, before you get new party members, I was forced to watch Kid walk around while I twiddled my thumbs.

Replay value: Only comes in if you're after every achievement - some of which can very well be missed on a casual first playthrough.

Final Verdict: Boot Hill Heroes is a surprisingly fun and very solid retro-inspired western-themed RPG. Sure, I may have only been able to game during actual battles, but it is set up for up to four players, something nigh-unheard of in modern RPGs. The game goes from corny to serious to wacky in turns, but overall, it's a trip worth taking and given the continued support of the creators, perhaps one that will continue for years to come.

Presentation: 3.5/5
Story: 3.5/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replay: 2/5
Overall (not an average): 3.5/5

 

 


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Nelson Schneider

Nelson Schneider- wrote on 06/04/22 at 09:20 PM CT

 

Hey, you LIKE watching other people play games while you twiddle your thumbs, and you KNOW it!

 
 
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