Is Bethesda’s latest even worth playing? Our Redfall review roundup

Robert Collins

After months of anticipation Redfall has finally released. Now that it’s here many have been left to ask whether the wait was worth it.

The latest game from Bethesda Game Studios puts players in the small Massachusetts town of Redfall, which has been beleaguered by an army  of vampires. The open-world co-op oriented shooter is one of a trinity of big first-party titles from Microsoft set to release in 2023, the other two being Forza Motorsport and Starfield.

Redfall was developed by Arkane Studios, a developer best-known for the likes of Prey, Dishonored and Deathloop. While that resume is an impressive one by any standard, the critical reception for Arkane’s latest game is not. Which leads one to wonder what went wrong?

Gamespot Redfall review (4/10)

Ultimately, Redfall is a game that should not have been released yet. Its litany of bugs hampers the gameplay loop of exploring its world with friends, and that loop itself feels compromised by elements that are poorly executed and ill-suited to the team implementing them. I can’t pretend to know whether Arkane chose to make a loot-shooter or was assigned to make a loot-shooter, but I can tell you what it feels like: one of the best game studios in the world suddenly made toothless.

Engadget Redfall review

The game has good bones, and it could evolve into an engaging co-op shooter with plenty of room for replayability and expansions — Left 4 Dead for the Twilight generation; Borderlands meets What We Do in the Shadows; small-scale Destiny with a Stranger Things typeface. There’s room for Redfall, but only if Microsoft gives Arkane the runway to save it.

Noisy Pixel Redfall review (4/10)

Redfall is an anomaly because a game with this good of a team behind it can’t possibly be this bad, and yet, it is. There are these drips of looter shooter, RPG, and multiplayer elements sprinkled throughout, but none of them work together, delivering a messy and almost incomprehensible experience.

NME Redfall review (2/5)

Redfall squanders the potential of its core premise and the world that has been built around it with uninspiring shootouts and a fairly formulaic structure. Interesting characters and a pulsing soundtrack help matters, but when a shooting game isn’t fun to play there’s a limit to what else you can do.

Rolling Stone Redfall review

At times, Redfall manages to be an interesting game filled with great worldbuilding and gunplay, but it’s mostly just another generic open world shooter. Despite being best played cooperatively, glaring oversights in design, enemy types, and mundane environments mar the experience. As a solo outing, Redfall isn’t exactly a party but with the right group of people and tempered expectations, slaying vampires can be a short-lived blast.

Can Redfall be saved?

We’re talking about the game here, not the fictional town. The answer is likely yes, Redfall may ultimately become something resembling what we were all hoping for…with the caveat that the team at Arkane Austin is given the time and the opportunity to iron out the games many, many issues.

Still, this is a huge disappointment for a lot of Xbox fans. Redfall has a long way to go toward redemption, but if games like Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man’s Sky can make comebacks, so too can Redfall.

Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Price: Free