Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Starting Weird West three times
One of the advantages of the Xbox Game Pass for PC is that it makes it easier to try out games that I am not totally sure I will like. In this case Weird West, which combines aspects I do like (Wild West, RPG) with aspects I don't (action combat, zombies). I'm not sure yet how I will like the game overall in the end, but it sure was one of the weirder starts to a RPG that I had.
As the game is on my PC, I started out playing with mouse and keyboard. You start out on your farm, where the story is introduced, and you learn some basics of the game, like camera control and how to shoot. Then you set out to visit the first city, on the way to which the first real combat happens. In the city the game becomes more free form, and you have some decisions to make, like whether you want to steal stuff or stay honest. I was about this far in when it became more and more clear that playing the game with mouse and keyboard wasn't ideal. Combat in Weird West can best be described as being akin to twin stick shooters. You are supposed to move and shoot at the same time, using one thumbstick to move away from the enemies, and the other to aim at them and shoot them. That doesn't work great with WASD keyboard movement.
I didn't want to switch controls in the middle of the game, because I thought it would be better to play through the small tutorial with the new controls. So I started the game from scratch and played again until somewhere in the first city, this time with a gamepad, which worked better. And then I had some other stuff to do, and made a pause.
A few hours later, I wanted to continue playing, and on starting the game I was greeted by a large patch download, to version 1.0.3. While that downloaded, I read the patch notes. And came upon a paragraph saying basically "this patch fixes a bug, but if you continue playing an old save the bug isn't totally fixed". As I still wasn't very far in, I ended up starting the game from zero again, a third time.
At least all these do-overs weren't completely wasted. Playing through the same scenes several times gave me a better idea of what in the game is scripted, and what is random. For example, you don't find the same loot in your farm in every playthrough. But the more relevant items, e.g. the ones you need to upgrade your character seem to be in fixed locations, so you don't need to worry whether you might miss one because you didn't search every single barrel.
With the twin stick shooting being my biggest worry about this game, I was very happy that patch 1.0.3 introduces options that make this part of the game easier if you want. And I did like the mix between having well-defined goals and having a lot of freedom in how to approach things. So I think I will play Weird West for a while.