I always liked the old Zelda games, especially before Zelda turned 3D. Link to the past was cool, even the original was pretty good, but it feels like we haven’t gotten much as good as the Zelda series lately that I’ve played, except for the Anodyne series which is pretty good. I picked up Westerado: Double Barreled pretty recently as I didn’t really have much in terms of Western games and I was thoroughly surprised by the gameplay loop it consisted of.
For starters, Westerado’s most novel mechanic is the player’s ability to shoot anyone at anytime in the story. Shoot out a village? Check. Kill the sheriff for no reason? Check. This ability makes the story kind of shape to your will, and I really like it. I’ve only played the game with the first character(“the hero”) but I’m pretty sure that you can play as other characters in the story. In the hero’s story, your family’s ranch is burned down, your mother is shot and your brother is fatally wounded, and since this is a western, what else to do than avenge your family in the wild west?
The game takes everything in a slightly comical manner, with everything fitting the generic tropes of western genre and making fun of them. It has some pretty funny dialogue too, and it feels very on-brand for adult swim. I mentioned zelda a bit earlier as it plays a bit like zelda, being very quest and adventure oriented. The map is pretty interesting, with an entire mine system to explore and such. I spent about an hour or so just looking around the map to kind of explore and not really focus on the missions because not a ton is time sensitive in the game, but I enjoyed my time exploring.
But even with all these mechanics, the one thing that really makes this game standout to me is how simple or complex this game can be. At its simplest, you’re just doing missions as people tell you to do them(like rounding up ranchers to start a franchise). But it can get incredibly deep if you’re willing to think about all your actions. For example, you’re told to go to the banker if you want quick money. The second job he offers you in the game is to take a treasure map up to the oil tycoon in place of the banker’s debt to the tycoon. On going to the oil tycoon’s mansion, you’ll be raided by bandits until you get to the estate. Once you get to the estate and meet the oil tycoon, he will dismiss you and tell you to tell the banker to get the actual money. But if you decide to talk again to the tycoon and cock your gun, he’ll offer you a job. Now at this point, if you’re to shoot the oil tycoon and launch a shootout at his estate, you can pilfer his money for a quick profit of say 600 dollars. The banker will then not have any debt and will begin having more money in their vaults. If you were to wait a bit and then steal from their vaults after waiting, you’ll be able to rob a lot more money from them.
You have to find out every detail about the bandit who killed your family and burned down your ranch before you can kill him and know officially who it is, but this person is randomized and since you have a lot of control on the story, there is tons of replayability. For 15 dollars, this game is a steal and this is why you need to play Westerado: Double Barreled.