Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West
|a game by||Fatshark AB|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Avimg The Ability to shoot hats off in a game is a great thing, especially when this act is accompanied by that distinctive shrieking sound guns made in the Wild West. Each of the four classes in Lead and Gold has headwear you can blast off, exposing their craniums to the world. Do this to a Gunslinger and you even notice he's comically bald, reducing the fear factor of meeting one up close and personal in a dark alley.
LAG (an appropriate acronym) is a Team Fortress inspired multiplayer shooter. As either a Blue or a Red gang member, you'll take the battlefield in a number of different game modes. Some involve blowing up objectives and taking items like sacks of gold back to your base, while others just require you to kill more enemies than the opposition or capture five different zones of control.
The four classes are Gunslinger, Trapper, Blaster and Deputy, with the former being probably the easiest to get to grips with. Each character has a special ability, with the Gunslinger able to fire off six shots very quickly to take out opponents from close range. The Blaster can lob sticks of dynamite and wields a double-barrelled shotgun, while the Trapper can place bear traps to ensnare unwitting enemies. Lastly, the Deputy's special ability allows him to tag an opponent, so his whole team can observe their movements.
A True Team
In terms of balance, each character trades off well against the others. At no point do you feel useless, even when playing as a long-range class (Deputy or Trapper) on a particularly boxed-in level like Devil's Pit Clearly certain classes will have advantages at times, but on the whole developers Fatshark have done a superb job keeping play interesting for all players at all times.
The only real problem with the characters is that there's a distinct lack of personality, as none of them have any vocalisations or taunts. This means you don't get attached to them in the way you would to a sandvich-chomping Heavy in TF2.
I LAGs also a game that doesn't take itself too seriously and therefore isn't one that's likely to get on your wick as much as serious multiplayer shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Counter-Strike. S Because the game is only five-a-side, you always feel like you have something to contribute to the team, be it with supporting actions, like tagging opponents or just laying traps around the gold to stop the bastards stealing it I Playing this game isn't all wine and roses, though. Player numbers are limited and the lack of dedicated servers is a real problem. In fact, it's the biggest problem affecting the game, by far with serious lag issues in pretty much every game you join. This seems down to the servers being based in the US, which leads to pings of around the 400ms mark being possible. It's a problem that must be sorted out by Fatshark if they want LAG to survive and hopefully, when you will have read this, they'll have taken action.
Another flaw is that the game ends if the host disconnects, as there's no facility to see the match transferred to a new host, such as with Modern Warfare 2.
Some more effective team balancing wouldn't go amiss either, with games sometimes descending into farce when a few players from a team decide to leave mid-game. As an example, it's not unheard of to discover you and your teammates don't have any opponents to fight until the end of the round, when one player might get switched to the opposing team. One of the perils of limiting your numbers to five-a-side is that when players drop out, the effect is far more noticeable.
All these issues are with the framework rather than the action and, with a bit of work, could be sorted out in subsequent patches. But in terms of what's on offer now, even at the very good price of $12, it's not possible to glowingly recommend Lead and Gold.
While its substance is wholesome and good, even with a slight lack of long-term appeal, the server situation at the moment simply won't do. If this isn't a relevant criticism any more, by all means cut out the score with a pair of scissors and sew in a new one with at least five more points added on.
Horses would've been good too.