Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West

The Gunslinger is a Lonely Hero

And you'll be lonely too, if you play Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West.
Author: J.D. Cohen
Published: July 19, 2010
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Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West is an online class-based third-person shooter. It lacks the depth of gameplay and breadth of content of other games in the genre, but as a fifteen dollar downloadable PSN title, it wouldn't be fair to directly weigh it against the real heavyweights. Sadly, Lead and Gold suffers from too many problems to warrant wholehearted recommendation, such caveats notwithstanding. Lead and Gold is not a lazy piece of shovelware, however. In fact, it's clear that a lot of care was put into it, as it largely accomplishes what it sets out to do, and it does so with a respectable amount of style.

The easiest way to describe the gameplay premise of Lead and Gold is as a less complicated (and less first-person) version of Team Fortress. Here, there are only four classes, each featuring one unique weapon, one active ability and one passive aura type of thing. For example, the Deputy has a repeater carbine; he can tag enemies to make them easier to track for his teammates, and he provides a damage bonus to nearby teammates.

There is much to be gained by teammates sticking together to reap the maximum benefit from the passive enhancements, and this is further strengthened by the universal ability to revive injured friendlies. When one's health is depleted, it's time to lay on the ground while taking inaccurate pot shots with a sidearm until someone lends a helping hand. It behooves the attacker to finish off his or her victim before such aid is availed. The rhythm of this combat works well, though the ebb and flow of the larger match in which it happens can sometimes lack in both the ebbing and the flowing. There are five modes, and they tend to involve destroying things, stealing things or capturing areas in some configuration. Stalemates seem to happen too often, with matches devolving into a meat grinder of violence with no progress made regarding the higher goals.

The presentation is good. While environmental textures are not overflowing with detail, there is an artistry to how the levels are arranged, and things like lighting and shadows are quite attractive. The characters are very detailed and well-designed, and they lope around the battlefield with weighty, deliberate gaits. When a game is played from a third-person perspective, a good running animation pays off, and Lead and Gold is a fine example. The weapon sound effects and incidental vocalizations are appropriate and sell the action well. The music, conversely, tends not to fit the action, as intense moments of battle are accompanied by listless banjo plonking.
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