Review – Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West
Developer: Fatshark AB
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: April 22nd, 2010 | May 4th, 2010
Price: £11.99 | €14.99 | $14.99
What I liked:
Western setting with good graphics
Mobile spawn point flag
Auras promote synergy
What I disliked:
Not many maps
It gets repetitive after a while
When Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West released back in May, it got my attention. I played a bit of Team Fortress 2, enjoyed it, but liked spending time on my PlayStation 3 much more. From the previews, the game looked to bring that sort of class-based multiplayer shooter experience to the PlayStation Network. I’m a fan of Western films and thought the game captured that feeling quite nicely, so I purchased it. Instead of Team Fortress 2 PSN, I got Lead and Gold, a shooter with its own identity. The game implements several gameplay features in an attempt to promote teamwork. These include passive auras which can be shared to nearby teammates, the ability to become a mobile spawn point, and the ability to revive fallen comrades.
The graphics in Lead and Gold are very good. The character models are smooth, the animations are fluid, and hats can be shot off of heads, which is damn cool. The map designs are on point, featuring several different paths (some hidden) to get to where you’re going. There’s very little graphical popping in the distance, which is nice. The drawback here is that there are only 6 maps. Though they all look great, you’ll soon grow tired of the limited lot.
What is also limited is the number of character classes. There are 4 in total: Gunslinger, Trapper, Deputy, and Blaster. The small number of classes isn’t much of a problem since each of them emits its own aura and has its own special ability. The Gunslinger (my personal favorite) emits an accuracy aura and has the ability to ‘fan the hammer’, shooting rapidly with decreased accuracy. The Trapper emits a critical hit percentage bonus aura and has the ability to drop traps on the map. The Deputy emits a damage-boosting aura and has the ability to tag enemies. Finally, the Blaster class emits a defense-boosting and can throw dynamite (grenades). The classes play differently, and you’re able to choose your class each time you respawn.
There are six game modes to choose from. These modes include Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes, Conquest tasks players to conquer waypoints in order, Powder Keg is a destroy/defend objectives mode, Robbery is a destroy/defend the bank mode, and Greed – a team-based capture the randomly generated sack of gold. I had a good time playing DM, TDM, and Greed. Conquest is okay, but the other game modes aren’t too much fun.
In modern shooter fashion, experience points are a part of Lead and Gold. Each player starts off each round at rank 0 and can gain experience to level up within that round. At first I wasn’t too fond of my gained experience points fizzling after each match, but it seems like a simple and effective means of balancing the game. Since the game is keen on team play, experience points can be gained by reviving teammates, tagging enemies, untagging teammates, and picking up spawn flags. The spawn flag starts in your base at the beginning of the match and can be held by one member of the team. That person becomes a mobile spawn point. Death results in dropping the flag, which can then be picked up by a teammate or returned by an enemy. It’s a cool mechanic that works well in this game.
Lead and Gold is fun. I played many hours of this game back when it released. My roommate and I had a good time passing the controller back and forth after every couple of deaths. There is no option for cooperative play, though, and the only option for single player is a useless training mode. Also, you can’t choose your team, which makes playing with friends a coin toss of an ordeal. The game’s presentation is its strong suit, along with its unique synergy mechanic. To my surprise, in brushing up on the game to write this review, I found a game of Lead and Gold a couple of nights ago. If there were more maps, the game would be a lot better. In its current state, it’s a fun ride for a short while. Get it if you like fanning the hammer as much as I do.