Blood West Review – A Bloody Good Time

Blood West Review

At first glance, Blood West harkens back to classic first-person shooters with its self-described low-res, low-poly 3D aesthetic. However, the game’s emphasis on stealth aligns it best with some classic first-person stealth titles. Blood West takes contemporary mechanics, pairs them with the spirit of classic stealth titles, and paints it with a brush of eldritch horror.

Blood West sets players in the role of the Undead Gunslinger after an initial cutscene depicting an Indigenous shaman dragging a corpse to a cliffside, preparing the body, and appearing to conduct a ritual. Now brought back to life in the barren lands, players are tasked with purging their curse and freeing their soul. While the narrative is generally enjoyable and generally pushes the gameplay forward, it still lets the gameplay do most of the talking.

A Focus On Stealth

As one might expect with any stealth game, the core gameplay loop is a familiar one. You find a new area, scout said area, and clear the area of enemies without being caught. It is an old formula that still works well here, though ditching the stealth aspect is a bit more viable down the line. Add in NPCs, side quests, non-linear maps, resource management, perks, skills, and the ability to approach situations however you like, and you have a contemporary first-person stealth title in Blood West. At its core, the gameplay loop is a lot of fun, and progressing through the game’s three areas/scenarios only gets more and more enjoyable.

While the game is rewarding, stealth gameplay often requires a lot of patience. With Blood West, this patience is also required simply in terms of starting the game. The difficulty curve with Blood West is relatively high, with minimal supplies, experience, and skills available at the start. However, once you begin to understand the systems in place, that’s when Blood West gets rolling. As a PC title, it should also be noted that a mouse and keyboard is the best way to play this game. As a gamer typically with a preference for using a controller, I found the overall responsiveness and speed of the mouse and keyboard combination to be unmatched for this game.

Put simply, Blood West is a game that gets better over time as players get used to the gameplay, mechanics, and various systems the game has in place. As an indie stealth FPS title, Blood West sets out to do exactly what it intended by providing a challenging but rewarding title that pushes players to explore more of the interesting world set out in front of them.

Low-Res, High-Quality

While the world is indeed its self-described low-res, low-poly self, it works extremely well with the atmosphere and genre of the game. While the itemization within the game could be improved in terms of identifying items that can be picked up, the rest of the visuals work well to determine differences between enemies, environments, and other visual cues. That said, my favorite aspect of the game’s visuals was just seeing all the different weapons through a bit of a nostalgic lens.

If you are a fan of classic stealth FPS games, classic FPS games, or even Western games in general, Blood West will be right up your alley. And if you’re not, Blood West may still be worth your time if you have any interest in it based on some of its other factors such as the eldritch horror, resource management, or even challenging gameplay. As someone who hasn’t had as much experience with stealth FPS games, it did take a bit of time to get accustomed to its workings, but once I hit my stride, I found it hard to put the game down.

** A review code was provided by the publisher **

The Good

  • Rewarding gameplay
  • Excellent exploration
  • Nostalgic yet contemporary

The Bad

  • High difficulty curve
  • Playing with a controller is not great