Blood West (Early Access PC)

Blood West is the latest early access title to grace my desk, fusing supernatural horror with the wild west and wrapped up in a lovely immersive sim package, could it be as good as it sounds? Giddy up pardner’.

Developed and published by the team at Hyperstrange who also released the hellishly addictive Jupiter Hell and are working on the upcoming Postal: Brain-Damaged this is a studio that knows their throwback genre well and aims to prove this further with Blood West.

Blood West puts you in the cowboy boots of an unnamed Desperado who’s killed and brought back to life as a Revenant, ancient magic has brought you back to the world and tasked you with the job of wiping out all the devils and other eldritch horrors by using your wit, trusty axe and of course your best friend the six-shooter. 

There are still survivors of this plague dotted around the area and magic-men who talk in riddles but are happy enough to sell you stuff to keep you going. The core mystery here is great and I am an absolute sucker for Eldritch horror in unusual scenarios. 

Being this is in Early Access you don’t get the full story in this version but by the full release there are going to be another 2 sections to the game to really flesh out the world and story so I can’t really judge the final product but up to now it’s well written and looking good!

Blood West marries a stylish gothic meets western art style and brought to life with a graphical era of the early 2000s, early PS2 style of chunky models, jaggies, and rough around the edges but with heaps of charm.

There have been little tweaks here and there such as lighting and other effects to make it look a little more modern and add to the atmosphere, I’m a huge fan of the throwback graphical style and it’s done brilliantly here. 

So what is Blood West exactly? It’s an immersive simulation horror title, think Resident Evil, meets Deus Ex meets Red Dead Redemption, it’s a concoction of genres and themes and my god does it work oh so well. 

Eldritch horrors are tough little and despite you being a revenant, you’re quite squishy initially at least and it would help you immensely if you embrace your stealthier side as you creep across the desert into town, slamming your Axe into monsters and running from groups, picking them off one by one. 

Now being that it is part of the Immersive Simulation genre this is merely a suggestion, you could also grab a bow and arrow and rain pointy justice down on the evils of the land as you see fit OR even pick up a six-shooter and see just how lucky you are feeling. 

There is a lot of freedom in how you can approach objectives and combat, with each side quest, each main story beat completed and each enemy taken care of you earn EXP which allows you to dive into the skill tree and truly customize how you want your character to handle, at the start you’re somewhat of a blank slate and while this is good, you’re extra squishy with bad aim and lacking any expert abilities, it’s down to you to choose how you want your revenant to progress in his quest to save the Wild West.

Talking of aiming and combat, the headshots in this game while making me sound psychopathic are absolutely fantastic and carry the weight and feedback you would expect from something like Doom Eternal, the guns range from Six-Shooter Revolvers to tasty shotguns and Rifles, then you have the melee weapons which are stuff like Knives and Axes and Bow and Arrows for a true Cowboy and Indians experience. 

Each time you meet your maker, and this will happen quite a few times for those foolhardy early on you get a 3rd of a curse, 3 deaths sees the curse complete and you’ll suffer a negative status effect, this is negated by either carrying ancient coins that can also be swapped for boosts or should you be cursed you’ll be given a task such as “10 Headshots without dying” to strip the curse off of you. 

The controls in Blood West are intuitive, the skill tree is easy to navigate and the inventory easy enough to manage, the map is easy to follow though it may throw a few people off initially as you actually have to source your own map by purchasing it from a merchant, this means your first hour you may just wander around, just embrace it and find your own adventure. 

Now despite this being in Early Access and only the first area of the game I still managed to clock up 5 hours on this section alone. There are a good selection of side quests to dive into, a lot of different areas to explore and take you off the beaten path, and being that it’s a game you can’t really just run and gun from the get-go gives you time to really sink into the world and get fully immersed in its dark horror. 

I can’t put a final score on the game but its current path is a solid 4*, I love Immersive Sim games like Thief, Deus Ex and even Cruelty Squad and Blood West is another fantastic addition to the genre that I can see having just as high cult status as the big boys of the genre.  I’m obsessed with Blood West and I cannot wait to see what is added to the game in the run up to the full release, Hyperstrange have knocked it out of the park again with another tough, immersive and addictive time.

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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.

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