I’ll hold my hands up high and admit that Redfall flopped when it was released back in May 2023. It became a universally memed game and even Phil Spencer spoke publicly about his disappointment with the open-world, vampire-slaying RPG. It put Arkane Austin in a bit of a hole for several months, and it took weeks before the most minor updates started rolling out. I played Redfall when it came out, and within an hour or two, I’d uninstalled it.
But recently, I decided to give it a second shot. I’m a firm advocate for the concept of the second chance, and after all, Arkane Austin has worked hard to produce some substantial updates for this beleaguered vampire game, right?
Boy, am I glad I gave it a second chance.
Is Redfall Worth Playing Now?
In a word: yes. I went so far as to write an article summing up everything that was wrong with Redfall, and it was a lengthy list. Looking back, perhaps I judged it too harshly, but it certainly took some of these more major updates to recover from some of the issues I originally outlined. For instance, adding the 60 FPS performance mode to Redfall was a game-changer, and overnight, it became a much smoother, more fluid game to play.
I’ll be transparent – it’s still not perfect. There are still some issues with the AI not being all that intelligent, there are some moments where the difficulty level ramps up out of nowhere, and the rinse-and-repeat gameplay cycle can get a little tedious, but overall, I’m firm in the belief that Redfall is no longer deserving of the universal hate it received at launch – not by a long shot.
It takes a while to get moving, but once you’ve found your feet in Redfall, becoming a powerful vampire slayer really does feel satisfying – and it’s a progressive climb. Before long, I found myself tussling with some genuinely impressive vampire bosses, using a host of abilities, an arsenal of quite innovative and interesting weapons, and the game’s surprisingly slick movement mechanics to rid Redfall of this ominous, blood-sucking plague.
There’s a very basic gameplay loop, and as I’ve highlighted, that’s one of the core issues with the game. It’s that generic routine of liberating zones on the map by completing objectives and then fighting a lower-level boss-style character – over and over again. But I never got bored, that’s the important thing. When I discovered that the map you’re introduced to at the start of the game is basically a tutorial zone, I was gobsmacked – the core region is ‘Burial Point’, and it’s easily twice the size of Redfall.
That meant the gameplay loop would repeat for hours upon hours, but I never tired of it. As I levelled up, I found myself becoming increasingly powerful, and the weapons I kept finding were getting more and more satisfying to use. Before long, I became a phantom myself, effortlessly cutting down crowds of seething vampires.
One other positive about Redfall is how good it looks. It was never an ugly game, and that was one of the redeeming points that I noted in my breakdown earlier this year that heavily criticised the game. It looks brilliant, and the map is a pleasure to explore. From the suburban streets lined with trees bristling with autumnal leaves to the abandoned farmhouses, churches, and factories that make for eerie locations to explore at night, there’s plenty of diversity in Redfall.
Thanks to Arkane’s unique style (which is best seen in games like Dishonored), the character models look great, the bosses are horrifying, and everything from the weaponry to the outfits that you can equip are all intriguing – you never know what you’ll find next.
So, What’s The Final Verdict?
As I said, I’m glad that I decided to give Redfall a second chance. I’ve got very few issues with the game now. There’s enough to do to keep me occupied for hours on end, and if you’re a ‘collector’ kind of gamer, there are stacks of side content to complete and many collectables to discover. There are tertiary missions that can be looped that offer randomised objectives, and you’re free to play the game at your own pace.
For me, it ticks plenty of boxes.
It’s also worth noting that I’ve had no bugs whatsoever during my return to Redfall. Not one. That’s saying something for a game that just six months ago was branded a complete flop in every sense of the word. It’s now a smooth, entertaining title with plenty to see and do.