Redfall Review – Doesn’t Raise the Stakes

Redfall Review
The OMG Review
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: May 2, 2023
  • Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC
  • Genre: FPS, Open World, Adventure
  • Similar Games: Dishonored, Borderlands
  • Price: starts at $69.99

Redfall is the latest title to come out from Arkane Austin, the same developers who are best known for titles like Dishonored, Prey, and even the heavily acclaimed Deathloop. Initially scheduled to launch in the Summer of 2022, the game has since been delayed to the first half of 2023, and while it is still set to do just that as of this writing, the weeks leading up to its launch did not paint a pretty picture.

The developers announced that the game would launch without a 60fps mode for Xbox consoles, leaving it with only a quality mode at 30fps. While some games would have no problem with a 4K 30fps option, it bears reminding that Redfall is a first-person shooter that doesn’t look all that demanding on the surface, but the studio has reassured its fans that the option is coming after launch.

Whatever the case may be, the odds are stacked against Redfall, so let’s see if the game can lay all concerns to rest in this review!

Paint the town Red

So let’s talk about what it is and what you can do in the game first.

Redfall is an island town in Massachusetts that has been taken over by a legion of vampires who have seemingly cut it off from the outside world. The town is now under siege and in disarray not only because of the vampires but also because of the cultists scattered throughout. You’re one of a handful of survivors that is tasked to find out the mystery behind what’s happened and free the town of diabolical enemies.

If you’re thinking of something like Left 4 Dead, I won’t blame you. While initial trailers gave the impression, playing through Redfall reminded me more of a cross between Far Cry and Borderlands. Players are thrust into this open world that’s well-crafted and very immersive with a great atmosphere, as is the specialty of Arkane.

redfall review screenshot 1

In fact, the Dishonored/Prey/Deathloop DNA is very much present in Redfall. Movement and overall combat are very fast-paced akin to something like Doom, and items are logically placed in areas where you would normally find them, and there are a lot of elements that stay in line with the theme of a vampire-stricken town that needs as much help as it can get. This is very much an Arkane game, and if you’re a fan of that style, then you’ll be glad to know that Redfall has exactly that look and feel to it.

Visually, Redfall is nothing to write home about, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. Sure, it does look a bit dated, but Arkane’s games have a certain stylized look to them and that’s still properly communicated here. It’s not photorealistic or doesn’t really push the limits of the hardware, but the developers more than make up for it with great environmental storytelling throughout the townspeople’s dialogs and the many notes and reading materials strewn about, providing an insight into what life was like during the period.

Overall production values seem to have taken a backseat, though. Despite some environmental pieces looking quite slick with great views, animations are not as fluid nor as expressive as you’d expect, and even various visual effects (a car in flames, etc) somewhat lack the oomph that we know the hardware can deliver. There’s a general lack of detail in this department, sad to say.

redfall team shot

Redfall will give players access to four characters, each with their own abilities and skills that work okay alone but better with others. As someone who’s used to always playing support, I naturally gravitated to Remi, who has control over a robot named Bribón that can be used to tank damage and distract enemies while I pelt them with bullets. Others, like Layla and Devinder, are more battle oriented, so choose a character wisely before heading to town.

Remi’s skills are limited to using Bribón as bait, planting C4 to serve as an AOE attack, and her ultimate which heals allies in the immediate area, so you can expect some battles along the way to be more challenging than if you were using other characters with more damage-dealing skills. In particular, there were some dungeons called “Vampire Nests” (more on this later) that had me dying over and over again because of a group of 6-7 vampires approaching me all at once. Thankfully, the only penalty for dying is losing currency.

To improve the capabilities of your characters, you’ll be depending on two factors – weapons and skills. Every time you level up in Redfall, you’ll be granted a skill point that you can use to further the effectiveness of your tools. Whether it’s increasing Bribón’s HP while tanking damage or giving your C4 charge a damage boost, the skill tree is pretty straightforward and doesn’t really diversify the playstyle too much as opposed to choosing another character altogether.

In fact, the skill tree feels like it was tailor-made for co-op, leaving single-player enjoyers with bland and uninspired skills that don’t really work well on a solo playthrough. It feels like an identity crisis, and even then, the skills are very underwhelming and do not promote playstyle diversity. You’ll get something like adding ammo reserves and reviving benefits, but I hardly ran out of ammo while playing, and I found myself forgetting about skills for a couple of levels without feeling like I missed out on anything.


Players will also have access to a good number of tiered (think Borderlands – common, rare, epic, etc) weapon types in Redfall. There are the usual pistols, assault rifles, and shotguns that can be picked up in great numbers, but there are also interesting ones such as a Stake Launcher and a Flare Gun. Apart from a few perks, the weapon tiers almost do almost nothing to really give players builds to choose from, so this aspect was quite questionable.

The aforementioned cultists can be taken down by simple bullets, but vampires, similar to those in novels and stories across the years, will require an extra touch to send them to their ashy graves.

Certain weapons you pick up in Redfall will come equipped with a stake that can be used as a melee finisher against vampires, ensuring they do not regenerate and come back for round 2. In the absence of these, you can also use flare guns, which will set these creatures on fire. It’s a really nice touch and gives vampires an extra challenge over the usual human enemies, although it might be tough to activate when faced with a group of vampires that clump up together.

Speaking of vampires, Redfall also plays host to an ample variety of them. You’ll get the basic ones, but there are also others that are named literally, like the Shroud vampire that surrounds an area with a mist-like cover that players will be unable to see through. There are also other elite-type ones that will have various abilities and modifiers like rotating shields, and even named boss vampires.

redfall angler vampire

As with open-world games, Redfall follows the same approach but tweaks it ever so slightly. Players will be operating from a base camp where they can stock up on supplies and choose the next mission to tackle. Only one main mission can be chosen and tracked, but while exploring the world, side missions offer some semblance of variety.

Apart from the usual side-quests, players can encounter an interesting activity – Vampire Nests. These nests spawn at random areas on the map and will increase in radius the longer they are left alone, empowering vampires in the area. These are dungeon-like events that will handsomely reward the player for conquering them and would be a good source of upgraded weapons. Some nests can have modifiers, like having elite enemies join in the mix, or giving the vampires certain abilities, so not all nests are exactly the same.

There are also safe houses in each neighborhood of the map, which offer players a save/fast travel point in the field, but will also open up some vampire-hunting missions that lead to Underbosses and even a super-powered “Rook” vampire that will hunt you down once you kill more of its ilk, filling up a meter that will alert you of its impending arrival.

redfall jacob raven

The Arkane touch is also evident in its approach to missions and level design. In one mission, I was tasked to infiltrate a mansion that had several snipers perched on the roof and balcony. Instead of simply going through the front door guns blazing, I opted to look for a path that was less crowded, kiting patrolling vampires towards an empty field and taking them one by one. There’s always another way and another approach, and this creativity is a signature from the studio that is very much welcome.

Lowering the Stakes

As you can already guess, the gameplay loop in Redfall is pretty simple, straightforward, and can get repetitive easily despite its open-world tendencies. There’s always room to explore, which will lead you to more loot, but the map feels barren and is just littered with small pockets of enemies that are few and far between. Considering the town isn’t really “alive,” you won’t encounter cars driving around or anything of that sort.

Gunplay isn’t really top-notch. It’s responsive and decent, but not really weighty and impactful. Headshots have a satisfying ring to them, but the overall feeling of combat isn’t as punchy as I would have liked. Feedback is sorely lacking, and considering the nice spread of weapons, could have been improved.

Enemy AI isn’t the smartest as well, and it seems that these goons give up chase way too easily. There is an element of stealth that players can use but a “backstab” type of attack is not present in the game, so you’ll just knock out enemy cultists with one melee attack instead. They can hear footsteps and will track the source, but this is easily exploited by funneling them into a room until you line them up with your rifle, same with the basic vampires that can’t teleport in and out.

It wasn’t often, but I can also point out instances where a vampire teleported to a room and just got stuck in the doorway, responsive with growls, but didn’t do anything else before I shot it to death. There were also some instances where I totally lost button input (crouch) without knowing how it happened, as I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary prior to it.

redfall squad 1

The biggest offender in Redfall is its performance. For context, I reviewed this on a PC with the following components:

  • Ryzen 5 5600x, 16 GB DDR4 3600 RAM, NVIDIA 3050, 1TB NVMe SSD, 27″ 1440p Monitor

Based on the system requirements, we should be hitting recommended pretty easily. For the most part, I’m averaging around 70-90 fps while playing on high settings, but the experience is wildly inconsistent, and even when I’m just standing still, I can sometimes see frame dips of as low as 20-30fps based on Steam’s FPS counter. During combat, I would average 40-60fps, but I can count a couple of times where the frame rate would just tank like a PowerPoint presentation, especially inside the Vampire Nests where 6-7 vampires would swarm me to death.

Apart from its frame rate, texture pop-in is also a big offender in Redfall. Players will mostly notice this when entering a new area, where objects will load bit by bit until they become fully detailed. It doesn’t take more than a second or two, but it isn’t something that can be overlooked.

It also has to be reiterated that Redfall can’t be played online. This was a big talking point about the game and while Arkane is listening and thinking of ways to address this, the feature is still here as of the time of reviewing the game. Since the game requires you to connect to your Bethesda account, you can’t even start it without a connection, and if your connection conks out in the middle of gameplay, you’ll get booted out.

redfall squad 2

The Redfall campaign took me about 22 hours to beat, owing to a mixture of freeing up safe houses, vampire nests, sidequests, and underboss hunting. It could be faster or slower depending on how you play. As of writing the review, I was unable to test the game online due to logistical restrictions, but will certainly do so once it opens up.

What we liked:

  • Gunplay feels stable and decent
  • Immersive atmosphere is terrific
  • Progression path is not overly complicated

What we didn’t like:

  • Wildly inconsistent frame rates even at medium/low settings
  • Pop-ins are very evident every time you load into a new scene.
  • Visuals aren’t anything to write home about
  • Always online even in single-player mode
  • Skills don’t feel as useful in single-player mode

Verdict: Wait for it…


Redfall is a highly-anticipated title for Xbox fans, and while it may not hit the extreme highs that may have been expected of it, the game does provide some semblance of decent gameplay with fast-paced combat and some vampire-slaying action.

Despite that, performance problems plague the PC version of the game, with wildly inconsistent frame rates even when nothing is happening on screen. Redfall isn’t releasing with a 60fps option on the Xbox Series X as announced by the studio, and seeing how the game is performing on the PC, the game clearly needed more time to get optimization in and iron out kinks which could lead players to wait before trying it out.

If you can look past obvious issues, Redfall might prove to be a fun albeit repetitive outing, especially with friends. The game looks to shine when players work together and skills are used to combo themselves against the many vampires out in the field. With some post-launch support and it being on Game Pass, Redfall could certainly capture and carve out an audience, but it definitely needed more time to cook because we all know what Arkane is really capable of.

*Redfall was reviewed on PC with a review code provided by the publisher.

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