Westerado: Double Barreled is an interesting game with a lot of style and charm but frustrating mechanic implemented weirdly. I wish I could've gotten into it more, but after about three hours I was ready to throw in the towel. You play a cowboy whose ranch was burned down and your family was murdered as you go along the west, helping people by doing various quests, shooting your way around and figuring out who did the horrible deed. I didn't manage to complete it, but I suppose I couldn't let it frustrate me any longer.

First and foremost, I was confused by some design decisions the second I launched the game; you cannot use the mouse at all in W:DB, even in the main menu which features big clickable buttons, everything works using WASD and E. In the main game as well, everything is done with the keyboard. I understand that this game isn't a twin-stick shooter (you can only aim your guns left or right in the direction you're moving), but being able to use the mouse to shoot while moving would've helped.

The shooting is a bit clunky (and I'll admit it helps the setting) because you have to aim your gun, pull the trigger then shoot. Aiming is a different button than shooting (you can aim at people to intimidate them, it helps to solve certain quests) and in the heat of battle you can just put your gun away by mistake. Maybe preventing players from mistakenly holstering their gun while people are shooting at them would've helped. You also reload by mashing R, once per bullet, and that was fine with me.

Moving around the game is okay, you have fast travel around certain points of the map and the map is usually pretty good to tell you where you have been and where quests are found. You talk to people by picking choices in dialogues and most of the text is pretty good. Ultimately, you complete quests and help folks in order to get clues to the bad guy, in a weird 'Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego'  way, getting clues about the hat of your quarry, their clothes, etc. Some places - like mines - require special hats in order to navigate them. Hats are much more than fashion senses in W:DB, they're also your life meter.

And this is where I've had the worst problems with the game; it's way too hard and finicky to be fun for me. It's tough to line up shots because you just fire left and right in straight lines and while enemies are bound to the same restriction, there are way more of them than there are of you. Each time you get hit, you lose a hat (in a too long animation where the character pulls out a new hat if they have one) and you can then get hit instantly again. I wish the animation wasn't there. I wish you had invincibility frames when you got hit instead. If you die, you lose half your cash on hand (it pays to put some money in the bank, like in Earthbound) but you can die for really dumb reasons. 

I stopped playing after dying for such a silly reason. I had cleared a mine of bandits, had picked up a solid amount of money and was almost unharmed. I went back my way and saw a few scorpions laying around. They randomly stung me and I lost a hat. I tried to get away and they just bumped into me again, losing me my other hat. I brushed against one hiding behind a rock and died. It was very frustrating. Westerado: Double Barreled isn't a bad game, it's got loads of western charm, but it was a bit too tough for me. I wish there would've been more gun upgrades and health pickups and healing items. Maybe that would've made it more bearable on my end.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories3/5, Adventure