Multiplayer shooters are a dime a dozen these days. You really have to stand out to make a name for yourself, or you have to take something that everyone plays and do something similar to it. Well, the guys Fatshark Games have done this in spades to create Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West. Lead and Gold is a Team Fortress 2 inspired (third person) class based multiplayer shooter, where cartoony graphics and over the top gameplay are what it’s about. The game does do a good job of standing out in a sea of shooters, but has a few minor hitches that slow it down.
There is no single player mode in Lead and Gold, other than the practice mode, which will teach you all the game modes and character classes there are, and how to survive as each one. The tutorial is good, and does a well rounded job of explaining everything, but in this game I feel that experience is everything. Being thrown into the fire to learn the gameplay modes, and how to use each class effectively should be something done with you team on the field of battle, but for beginners, it a very good introduction to the game.
There are four classes in Lead and Gold. First is the blaster, who carries grenades and a shotgun. Next is the deputy, who has a carbine rifle and the ability to tag enemies. Third is the gunslinger, which has a rapid-fire ability, and only a pistol. Finally there the Trapper, who has a scoped rifle and bear traps. Each of the classes work well in conjunction with each other, and all have their uses. I didn’t see any one class that stood above the rest, or that everyone gravitated too. Pick a class to fit your play style, and you will be able to pull off some kills.
There are six different games modes to play across six maps in Lead and Gold, and all of them are pretty well done. The standouts here are Powderkeg, Robbery and Gold Fever. Powderkeg is like attack and defend, where one team has to take a TNT barrel to two locations while the other team defends. Robbery is similar to Powderkeg, but instead of blowing up locations, you are taking out a vault, and need to steal the gold inside and take it back to base. Gold Fever is a twist on horde mode, where you and a teammate are fending off waves of enemies while you try to take sacks of gold back to your base. All of the modes in Lead and Gold offer something unique, and fit well with the old west era. Fatshark seems like they took their time to think of ways to incorporate iconic items from the old west into the gameplay, such as gold and TNT barrels.
Lead and Gold does have its share of problems, which I will go into detail about. Probably the biggest issue here is the servers. I have had server crashes, lobby kicking, disconnects, etc. Pretty much every major problem in an online shooter is present here. However, it doesn’t happen too terribly often, but it is bound to happen, so be warned. Other little issues I had were that there was too much happening in terms of notifications on screen. There is so much showing up that it is hard to tell what is going on. Also, the reticule is huge and allows you to see players from pretty far away, but you can’t really tell where you’re being hit from when you are being shot. The weapons can be inaccurate as well, and you can’t tell if you hit someone very well. Also, this game is better played with friends, as when you are playing with random strangers, it is hard to talk to your team mates and get them to follow through with a plan. Finally, the amount of content is very limited, even with six modes and six maps.
Once you play through all of them, it can leave much to be desired.
Despite all of the problems that I mentioned, the game is very fun, and a well done multiplayer shooter. It controls well, and despite the weapons being inaccurate, they each have a unique feel. The game looks good too, with very expansive cartoonish landscapes and it feels like you are in the old west. Each map feels unique and has its own set pieces and isn’t too boring or mundane. The animations are good, such as when you are firing a carbine rifle, you have to feed the bullet into the barrel after each shot. Overall the game is good looking, and has very well done presentation values despite the limited options.
It’s hard not to recommend Lead and Gold, even with its array of problems. This is mostly because at its core it is a very competent class based shooter. It holds up well against the competition, and brings a style unique to the genre. Yes, this style has been done before in Team Fortress 2, but not in the old west. If your going to follow off a class based shooter, Valve is not a bad company to follow in the footsteps of either. Fatshark Games should be proud of the game they have made, because they will definitely have me coming back to play more Lead and Gold. For only fifteen dollars, if you like third person shooters, this is a buy in my book.
Review copy provided by publisher.