Redfall is the newest game from Arkane Studios, who also created hits like Dishonored, Prey (2017), and Deathloop. Released exclusively on Xbox consoles and PC, this four-player FPS was immediately panned due to frequent bugs and uninspired gameplay. Going against my better judgment, I rallied a few friends together and took the plunge into Arkane’s newest creation, eager to kill some vampires. Now, after spending over 15 hours, beating every quest and liberating every neighborhood, I’ve seen Redfall through to the bitter end. Was it worth it? Meh. That said, I fully recommend the popcorn mission.
A Shimmer of Fun in a Sea of Problems
From the moment you boot up the game, it’s clear that Redfall lacks the polish you might expect from a renowned developer like Arkane. It’s consistently glitchy, and while the bugs are rarely game-breaking, they will test your patience. Teammates T-pose and clip through the ground, difficulty scaling makes no sense, and it runs like crap. There are numerous technical hiccups on consoles and the PC port leaves a lot to be desired.
That said, there is still fun to be had in Redfall, especially if you’re partnering with curious-minded teammates. Like the rest of Arkane’s games, Redfall has a notably authored game world, where everything feels placed for a reason.
Buildings feel lived in, areas are distinct and occasionally beautiful, and there are some fun moments of environmental storytelling. In fact, Redfall is the most enjoyable when it stops trying so hard and detaches from the half-baked vampire story, instead encouraging players to explore the richly detailed map.
Butter Over Blood
For the most part, quests in Redfall are serviceable and usually see you systematically slaying vampires as you try to reclaim the fictional town of Redfall, Massachusetts. Missions are picked up at a central safe house, where other survivors hunker down and wait as you solve all of their problems. Early on, you can embark on the best side mission in the game – fixing the communal popcorn machine.
This quick quest sends you to the local movie theater, overrun with vampires, to recover a popcorn machine repair kit. Once you make it back to the safe house, you now have a functional popcorn machine. In true Arkane fashion, it’s interactive as well, giving you unlimited access to the delicious, buttery snack. Indulging in some kernels even gives you a health boost, but it’s nominal.
During my time with Redfall, I fought massive bosses, used special powers to leap off of mountain tops, and slayed countless vampires. I’m not kidding when I say that the popcorn machine was more memorable than everything else.
It serves absolutely no purpose in the narrative and the reward is silly, but it has personality. It has charm. Someone at Arkane likes popcorn, or thought it was a fun idea for a mission, and you know what? They were right. As the specifics of Redfall continue to leak out of my brain in favor of more important information, the popcorn machine remains.
So, as Redfall continues to get decimated in the public eye (and rightfully so), I couldn’t help but throw my hot take into the ring. While Redfall might be a glitchy and obnoxious mess most of the time, it’s not a complete waste of time. Like many other mediocre co-op games, it can still be fun if you approach it with the right mindset and the right group of friends. At the very least, it has a functional popcorn machine, and that got a smile out of me.