West of Dead Review

"Unfinished Business"


June 21, 2020 at 4:19am
By Jason Stettner

This is a rather dreary, and dark take on the afterlife. This takes place in Purgatory, Wyoming 1888. You step into the dusty boots of a dead man named William Mason. This character is voiced by Ron Perlam which lends a high level of gravitas in this performance. Bits of small dialogue that are low in volume, and definitely work well in setting the tone of this dark western experience. This is a rogue-like, so some elements are carried forward and expect to revisit these darkened locations multiple times.

There is a good sense of progression here, whether that’s in terms of how you spend soul points or work through the chapters. It’s not easy, bringing a good strategic challenge and it’s just a lot of fun to play. You meet some interesting individuals along the way, such as your pal the bartender. There’s also a weapons merchant where iron is used and a creepy type of witch that enjoys the souls you bring her.

The challenge is also consistently fresh in that the areas are procedurally generated. With that, you will come across some rather tough monsters that are bosses in your path to wherever you’re trying to head. I did find this difficult, but wanted to keep on venturing forward for more. I can see how some might find this a bit too challenging however, it does take a little bit of time to really get rolling with this one when it comes to abilities.


This is a gorgeous game, it has beautiful aesthetics that look as though they’re a comic book that has come alive. It looks fantastic, with such majestic yet calm environments. Most are rather dark, with some light options that brighten the area up while also stunning enemies. There is a visual sense of change too, with the areas you visit changing as you continue along. The rooms you venture through are fairly simple in their layout, but they’re varied and distinct each time.

You might find helpful loot, or just a whole room full of trouble. The combat system is very interesting in this, its cover based. You’ll need to manage ammo, and two weapons. It’s presented in a twin stick shooter style and its neat how these combative elements merge together for a satisfying time. Other abilities include a helpful healing bottle, and an axe if you come across it.

Just some examples, as you’ll gather new weapons and tools as you continue to venture forward within this desolate location. The enemies are interesting, and offer different challenges. Some are easier to kill, but they rush you. There are bigger creatures, and also some regular shooters. Never underestimate any of them, each foe can be deadly.

It’s varied, and you’re never quite sure what might be waiting for you upon opening the next spot on the map. They really do nail the atmosphere with this, it’s chilling and really quiet when it comes to the musical theme. Now; I did notice some performance issues while playing through this, but that really didn’t take away from the experience. I did however feel that it was worth mentioning.
West of Dead Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

West of Dead is a great rogue-like bringing a really gloomy atmosphere that matches this cowboy’s journey through purgatory perfectly. The inclusion of Ron Perlman voicing the lead is an excellent addition that matches the tone well.

I liked the mix of cover based combat and quick paced blasting. It’s almost stressful as you manage ammunition, and the tools you have available while battling along. It always felt fresh when I was exploring, and gives you a sense of progression through the soul spending system that was present. It’s generally well done, and a very distinct time.

It’s a unique game that mixes up genres and that ends up working out well for it. It’s definitely something fresh, chilling and just a gloom filled venture across a darkened place in the west. Oh; and again, the visuals were just awesome. They looked so cool throughout this adventure.

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West of Dead Review on Xbox One X

Rating Overall: 8.0

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner