I recently played 2005’s Gun developed by Neversoft. It’s a third person shooter that takes place in the wild west. I consider it a noteworthy release as it was dropped right in the middle of Neversoft’s two massive franchises. These of course, would shape the zeitgeist of their respective eras. Before Gun came the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise. And after it, Guitar Hero. Meaning the one time the studio got to truly express themselves was with this narrative based cowboy game.
And golly gosh wouldn’t you know, it’s good. Like, really good.
As close to the dictionary definition of a ‘hidden gem’ as you can get. Having played the other notable western game that came out a year prior (Red Dead Revolver), I consider it to have become the cowboy game upon release. There’s only one problem though. Five years later, Red Dead clapped back, with a better cowboy game. A year later, Neversoft (owned by Activision) would begin work on the Call of Duty games. And eight years after that, Rockstar perfected the formula.
Alas, Gun has been left to ride off into the sunset with no hooting, certainly no hollering and zero fanfare. So, if it’s not going to get love anywhere else, why don’t I lay out all the things I like about it right here!
Firstly, this is a fantastic narrative. I genuinely think the story can stand toe to toe with those found in AAA games. After all, it was given the exact same thought and care. Written by Randall Jahnson (The Mask of Zorro, Tales from the Crypt), it was actually voted Best Story at the 2005 IGN video game awards.
The biggest reason as to why it stands out, would have to be the way it was delivered. Gun features some stellar voice acting! We’re talking Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights, The Punisher), Country Music Hall of Famer Kris Kristofferson, Oscar nominated Brad Dourif and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Alien Resurrection, Sons of Anarchy). And that’s just to name but a few.
Any reservations I had regarding the outdated, busted and janky controls would be quickly quelled by the excitement of getting to another cut scene at the mission’s completion.
Not that the shooting was all bad though, because our protagonist Colton White had some of the fastest hands in the west, allowing the player to enter a first person “quick draw” mode during gun fights. This would slow down time, and a flick of the control stick would make the gun instantly lock on to any target in front of you, meaning you could take out a bunch of enemies with a few quick flicks and triggers presses. It is immensely satisfying.
Weapons were also constantly upgrading and even if they do handle a bit funky by today’s standards, the importance of these gun fights was never understated, as everything was made to serve the plot. Gun fights on horseback, blowing up trains, manning cannons, they were all massive set pieces with consequences and plot progressing outcomes.
Even the ‘protect the guy from a wave of oncoming enemies as he does a technical thing’ mission was fun, and I hate those missions. But when it’s Soapy Jennings the safecracker, I will protect him with all my strength.
This game also had some great side activities too. Poker tournaments, cattle herding, bounty hunting, it had it all!
So, if this seems like something you’d be interested in, maybe give it a sus!
The PC version is still available to grab on Steam which is super convenient. I hope you have yourself a rootin’ tootin’ time!
What did you think? Is it time to don the cowboy hat and boot spurs? Let me know down in the comment section below! Also, feel free to check out some of our other gaming blog posts here, or check out some of our other content over on our YouTube Channel.