Lead And Gold Hands-On PreviewBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Dec 14, 2009
Recently, I gathered with five of my closest G4 friends in a conference-room for an old fashioned LAN party, courtesy of FatShark’s Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Old West. L&G is a downloadable third-person multiplayer shooting game with a Western theme for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the PC. My LAN-mates and I put the game through its paces, sampling each of its four game types, playing every class multiple times, and generally shooting each other in the face a lot. After a couple hours of playtime, we reached a unanimous verdict: Lead and Gold is a really, really fun little game.
Lead and Gold features four game types: Conquest, where teams compete to capture zones, Greed, where each team tries to steal a bag of gold and bring it to their base, Powder Keg, which is like “Bomb Strike” in Counterstrike, and Robbery, a combination of Greed and Powder Keg. We tried out each game mode, and while they all have their pluses and minuses, Powder Keg and Robbery were the group’s favorite – there’s something palm-sweatingly awesome about carrying a powder keg toward an objective and praying your enemy doesn’t blow it (and you) to smithereens.
L&D’s class system is reminiscent of Team Fortress. Players start by choosing from among four classes, who can be described in terms of range, and each class has a secondary skill or perk to keep things interesting, as well as an area of effect buff for teammates.
- The Trapper is analogous to a sniper, with a long-range rifle and a bear trap that snaps onto enemies’ ankles.
- The Deputy has a medium-range firearm and the ability to tag enemies with a mark that can be seen through walls.
- The Gunslinger is a utility character with the ability to rapid-fire his six-shooter.
- The Blaster is a short-range shotgun-wielder who can also chuck armloads of dynamite at enemies.
Lead and Gold supports ten players online at once, but it works really well with six people, and under optimum LAN party conditions on gaming laptops, it ran great. The developers assure me that the game will run that well on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live when it comes out.
I’m not a huge multiplayer fan, but this game did a lot to change my mind. The rule-sets are exceedingly simple to grasp and the game’s HUD makes objectives clear, so you won’t be spending time wondering where you’re supposed to be going or what you’re supposed to be doing, and the cartoonish graphics and familiar Western settings definitely add to the fun of the game. How well the game mechanics and maps will support more in-depth, strategic approaches wasn’t possible to determine in the playtime we had, but, judging from the variety of character abilities and how evenly matched classes seemed, my guess is that it will work out pretty well.
Lead and Gold's controls were generally tight and intuitive; switching weapons was smooth, as was activating special attacks. But on the negative side, the game’s reticules sometimes seemed exceedingly large and hard to gauge, and the accuracy of thrown dynamite was hard to get the hang of, but these are small complaints about an otherwise solid game.
At its best, Lead and Gold is the video game equivalent of running around in the backyard with your friends, pointing cap guns at each other and pretending you’re Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars -- expect lots of laughs and good natured curses and trash talk. It will cost you about $15.00 when it comes out in early 2010, and it is well worth the ticket price for fans of The West, multiplayer gamers and anyone who has ever dreamed of being a cowboy.