Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West Preview
What do you get when you cross the upcoming Red Dead Redemption with Battlefield: Bad Company? Fatshark’s Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West, an online shooter coming to the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Marketplace and PC some time soon. For the most part, it features standard third-person shooting mechanics combined with heavy team play and the added substance provided by special skills dictated by separate classes. It seems simple and very entertaining; a solid combination in the world of online shooters, and we’re hoping it will cater to those who have been craving some multiplayer Western action. Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption arrives at the end of April but that’s all about the single-player experience while Lead and Gold is an all-online multiplayer throwdown that could act as the perfect complement to RDR. It’s about time the “Wild West” theme got some love!
The game allows for five-on-five battles between human players or what they’re calling a tutorial of sorts, where four human players can play against four AI-controlled foes to first get their bearings. At the start, you can select from one of four distinct classes: Deputy, Gunslinger, Trapper and Blaster. Each come equipped with unique weapons and a unique skill; for instance, the deputy has a rifle and the ability to “tag” enemies (once tagged, he gets experience for the kill, even if he wasn’t the one who ultimately pulled the trigger). The Trapper has a rifle with an extra-long barrel and a scope – essentially, the sniper rifle of the old west – and the ability to set traps for unsuspecting enemies, while the Blaster has a sawed-off shotgun and a sidearm, along with deadly sticks of dynamite…don’t let him get up close and personal. The Gunslinger? Simple- he’s got a revolver and the faster you shoot, the more effective you’ll be.
The controls should be straightforward and familiar. You aim with the left trigger and fire with the right (probably the L1 and R1 buttons respectively on the PS3 controller), and you can also sprint, execute an evasive roll, and zoom in. As for the modes, you can expect a bunch of different options, including Greed, Conquest, and an interesting one called Powder Keg. Greed is basically a version of Capture the Flag, where a team must retrieve treasure from a fallen cart and return it to their base. Conquest sounds a bit like Domination where teams have to capture and hold certain points of the map in sequence. Powder Keg seems quite unique: one team has to take the keg and place it at a certain point on the map, then blow it up. The other team is going to try to stop this from happening; an offense vs. defense type match. Of course, you’ll also have the standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes but Fatshark makes it clear that much of the game is based around teamwork and cooperation.
That co-op mode against the four AI-controlled enemies should allow you to get your feet wet and after that, it’s on to competition with other human teams. GameSpot has a great video featuring an interview with Fatshark’s Marten Stormdal and plenty of gameplay. As you can see, the graphics probably won’t be a highlight but it appears to run extremely smooth and it looks like a whole lot of fun. We can only imagine the hundreds of different dynamics gleaned from those unique classes; i.e., a map with all Gunslingers and Blasters will play quite differently from one with a high number of Deputies and Trappers. Mixing them all together sounds very attractive and we love the idea of experimenting with all four classes. Our only concern when it comes to class-driven shooters is balance; if one class has the edge over others, that one will eventually dominate the maps and the game quickly loses its inherent appeal. But hey, that demo made things look pretty even.
Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West doesn’t yet have a release date but it still says “Q1 2010,” which means it has to be here before March 31. We’ll let you know when the publisher nails down a specific date; this one could be a really fantastic addition to the PSN.
1/26/2010 Ben Dutka