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     " ...Sucks you in to hours of olde-timey fun. "

      Title: Gun by Activision

      Format: Xbox 360 Old West Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: Though hotly hyped, we didn't really know what to expect from Gun the first time we popped it in. Despite commercials showing some cool looking bar shootouts and a cast that would make most major movies jealous, how the game would play was a mystery. Now, of course, we know…but is that knowledge power or punishment? Read on, my monkeys, and find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Any time you have a game that ports (or appears on) a number of different platforms, graphics are always a concern. Even more so with Gun since it not only ported from console to PC, but from old console (PS2 and Xbox) to new console (Xbox 360). That's a problem since, more often than not, the developer doesn't actually redesign the game…but instead just gives it a bit of a spit shine then sends it to market…which is, sadly, the case with Gun.
          Little more than Xbox pretty, Gun does absolutely nothing to actually gear itself up for the next-gen machine. It's blocky, it's clunky, and…worst of all…it pails painfully when compared to other Activision launch titles like Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2. That's not to say that it's horrifically ugly, mind you…but it is unquestionably just Xbox graphics on a 360's screen. 2 out of 5

      Playability: At its heart, Gun is an open environment third-person shooter. And since comparisons with Grand Theft Auto (the reining king of the open environment third-person shooter genre) are inevitable, I'm just going to get it out of the way now. Gun is, in many ways, like playing GTA in the Old West. You run around on foot until you can find a horse, then you ride around until you pick up a new mission. The missions themselves range from simple stuff, like gathering a rancher's cattle that have gone astray, to complex combat scenarios that have a number of different elements….and by different elements I mean people you have to kill. In between these missions you can go to town and buy stuff, cause trouble, or participate in a number of mini-games to earn money and experience.
        Not that you should take Gun's relative unoriginality as a bad thing, however. Despite a relatively dry premise, the game is actually quite engaging and sucks you in to hours of olde-timey fun. The combat is sharp and quick, the scenarios are all entertaining in a classic Clint Eastwood kind of way, and the character customizations give you a real interest in your cowboy. So, if you don't mind another title in the genre, fans of the open third-person style will find plenty here to enjoy. 4 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Unquestionably the high point of the game, Gun's "yarn" is obviously the place where Activision spent all the money. Featuring the voice talents of Thomas Jane (aka The Punisher), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Tom Skerritt (the FO in Top Gun), Kris Kristofferson (Whistler in Blade), and Lance Henriksen (every sci-fi movie you've ever seen), pretty much every character is voiced by an accomplished, bona-fide star.
           The story itself is a nice hybrid of old school westerns and modern pulp noir. Filled with sex and violence, it cuts a hard line of genocide, hidden agendas, and whores. Basically, it revolves around your character's hidden past and the key to a mystic treasure, but is fraught with all manner of shady characters along the way.
           That said, the script is mostly recycled and pretty damned dry, and most of the actors don't provide the performance of their careers…but still the quality is head and shoulders over most video games. 4.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Sadly, there is no multiplayer or paths to an alternate story. Still, you'll get a good dozen hours out of it your first time through and might well go through it again. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, Gun is a good Old West shooter wrapped up in a nice, if not predictable, story. The missions are fun, the violence is entertaining, and the acting and story are way better than anything else we've seen in the genre.

      The Good: Copious amounts of old-time gun play and a story that will keep things interesting.

      The Bad: Ported graphics, predictable, and not terribly original.

      The Overall Ugly: If you like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and running around as a cowboy killing bandits sounds like fun, you'll enjoy yourself.

      What it's Worth: Market

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