Redfall: The DANAMIC Review

Zombies get all the spotlight in gaming—vampires though, not so much. So when a game features these horror icons, my attention is duly received. The newest vampire game, Redfall, comes by way of Bethesda’s Arkane Austin studio, which previously helmed the reboot of Prey that was released in 2017.

Redfall is a first-person shooter with co-op elements, allowing you (and friends) to pick between four playable vampire hunters as you face off against the night walkers while traversing the open world.

Unfortunately, while Redfall sounds like something that you and a group of pals can have a fun time sinking fangs into, the game is ultimately toothless in its execution — blighted by constant technical problems, an underwhelming story, and worst of all, boring gameplay. 

No fun out in the sun

The game’s playground is set in Redfall, a fictional island town in Massachusetts. The location offers a homely atmosphere to roam, with Georgian and Colonial-style architecture in the residential and city districts. At the same time, the outdoors features the striking view of the red and yellow fall foliage as the backdrop to the environment.

Redfall: World
The environment of Redfall hides its sinister background

But the town’s cosy vibes belie the threat that has overtaken the place. Vampires and the cultists worshipping them dot the surrounding area, where they have successfully managed to ‘block out’ the sun — allowing them to roam the town freely at any time.

To rid them, you embody one of four hunters you pick at the start of the game, each with unique abilities. For instance, Jacob has a bird that can tag enemies, Layla can create telekinetic ‘lifts’ which thrust people upward, Remi can use her robot dog as a distraction to draw enemies, and Devinder can emit a powerful UV light to petrify vampires. These are just one out of the three primary skills for each character. 

Redfall: Characters
Each character comes with three unique skills

The abilities are a mixed bag to play with. Some are fantastic ideas that function well in-game (Layla’s ‘Lift’ skill is a prime example), but others are rehashes of abilities you can find in other games. 

Likewise, the hunters themselves aren’t anything endearing. There are hints of personalities that can be gleaned from each character; they get very talkative while out in the world and comment about a whole list of things (like venturing into new areas). But these are surface-level lines that don’t develop them enough to get me attached. 

More egregiously, the game progresses the story with mostly static cut-scenes that the characters narrate over. It makes for an incredibly hollow and forgettable experience to watch through and honestly feels like it distances you from the hunter you are playing as. 


I was very excited to go out into the world of Redfall and make it my playground, but unfortunately, the gameplay offered very little when I did venture out.

Let’s first talk about the missions, and I say this very loosely because a lot of them are cut from the same cloth. The game’s side activities are just recurring templates in different locations. Take the Safe Houses, for example. You can unlock these places around the map, but they always require the same trial of finding generators. After securing it, you’re again given repeat missions, culminating in a mini-boss fight which at least mercifully offers a distinct look.

It is a shame because some of the side missions show some promise. For example, Vampire Nests are these strange Stranger Things-like zones that look like warped-out sections of the town — providing a bit of fresh air visually to the usual missions. But likewise, the activity involves the same mundane process, and later nests even reuse environments. Overall, it is just very uninteresting to experience, which wouldn’t be that bad if the game was not so mission-based.

Redfall: Vampire Nests
Vampires are first exciting but quickly devolve into repetition

The developers also made a strange design decision with mission progression in co-op. If you are playing with a friend, only the host gets progression saved for them. That sounds fine if you intend to play together all the way, but if your pal decides to go solo, they’ll have to redo the missions again. It is almost as though it is discouraging you from playing with a friend, so I’m confused that they implemented it for a co-op-centric game.

Adding to the monotony are the enemies. You’ll be encountering human and vampire enemies in the game, but you’ll be wondering why they aren’t called zombies — the AI is absolutely mindless and abysmal. There is no strategy for the humans either, as they have no qualms about being shot at in the open and do not even notice their comrades being killed right next to them. 

The vampires are equally bad. They all seem to have very generic attack patterns; senselessly swiping at me in the same telepathic way and routinely getting stuck around the environment. When not in combat, they simply float around and stare into space until you engage them. I’ve mistaken them for NPCs at one point. Such is the state of the AI that even on higher difficulties, it fails to improve.

Redfall: Enemy AI
The AI for vampires routinely lack any brains, such as this one mindlessly floating about

The only unique thing about the vampires is that they need to be staked to kill them, which sounds like it adds some amount of variation to the gameplay, but really only makes it feel more like a chore; not all weapons have a stake attachment so you have to switch to one to finish them off. 

Gunplay is at least serviceable, though uninspired. It does feel nice to tackle the enemies, particularly with a friend — there is a sort of cool chaos when gunning down a horde alongside your co-op partner. However, while you can hold three guns at a time, there is no quick way to select a specific one. Instead, you have to cycle through them manually, which can prove rather frustrating if you need a weapon with a stake attachment — another confounding design implementation.

Aside from the usual pistols and machine guns, Redfall does have some cool weapon types, like the UV beam and Stake Launcher, that add a little bit of variety. For example, watching a friend petrify a vampire with the UV beam can be fun before you deal the finishing blow. There’s a colour-rarity system with the guns, quite similar to looter-shooters like Borderlands, but it doesn’t do anything interesting beyond better stats. 

Redfall: Guns
A colour-rarity system is used in Redfall, but they don’t go beyond better stats

Technical Terror

There have been many comments on Redfall only being able to run at 30fps for the Xbox Series consoles, but that is the least of their problems. 

Having played on a PC with a fairly decent GPU (RTX 3060TI), while I do get above 30fps performance, I also regularly see stuttering. These occur maybe every five seconds or so and are very noticeable, to the point where I got headaches just playing the game. 

Then there’s the glitches, which to be fair, are more funny than frustrating. I had an enemy constantly being knocked to the ground every other second while my co-op partner and I got to witness the amusing sight of a duplicate NPC model T-posing right next to their actual character.

Redfall: Glitches
Glitches like this are a common occurrence

But there are some ball-busters too. Unfortunately, I’ve had the game crash twice within a 4-hour playtime span, which made me lose a lot of progress since the autosave feature isn’t that great. 


Redfall is a game that is dead on arrival. With its repetitive gameplay structure, dreadful AI system, and nonoptimal technical performance, it is hard to understand how this came from the same developers who previously provided excellent experiences in Dishonoured and Deathloop.

You can have some fun with the game alongside a friend, but not much of it is because of its own merits. I’m not sure if Arkane will be able to bring the game back to life via updates and patches, but don’t be the sucker who plays this right now. 

Redfall is available for both the Xbox and PC. Get it on Games Pass or through Steam digitally.

Screenshots were taken on PC with additional visuals courtesy of Bethesda Softworks.




Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

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