Why anyone would attempt to take on Multiplayer juggernauts such as Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 is beyond me, but as we see so often on the Playstation Network, developers just have to give the challenge a go. Taking obvious inspiration from excellent Valve title Team Fortress 2, Lead and Gold: Gangs of The Wild West does exactly this, a 3rd person team based multiplayer only title that not only looks great, but has very promising gameplay indeed. Can it really be worth the £11.99 price tag?
On paper, this is the case with plenty of ways to engage in online matches, simple modes like the death-match seen in Shootout being accompanied by more complicated modes like Conquest (Where each team battles to secure the most checkpoints on the map.) The game excels in these more interesting match types, the basic gunplay never allowing for a true death-match experience. Robbery for instance sees one team defending and one team forcing their way inside a bank in an attempt to secure bags of gold. This multistage gameplay, where objectives such as blowing up a safe inside the bank are followed by securing a path out of the building, is impressive when teams work together, but this in turn is the major problem with Lead and Gold, a lack of communication and actual teamwork.
Whether this is due to a lack of headsets being used on PSN, or just that a community that for now still remains to be established cannot handle the team based gameplay Lead and Gold attempts to utilise is hard to tell. But the thing to be sure of is that more often than not, you’ll be all alone in your attempts to beat the opposition, only real world PSN mates being a secure ally. That said, the development seen in previous attempts to bring team based online multiplayer to the Network such as Fat Princess is promising, a community establishing itself thanks to the fundamentally fun gameplay underneath the teamwork.
This is looking like it could work for Lead and Gold too, online staples such as leader boards and a well paced levelling system rounding out the experience. This leaves just the graphical prowess and the overall game design to sell the game to consumers, the technically impressive visuals running at a decent clip while connected to the servers. Character designs may be stereotypical but they give the game the unique western style it deserves, the environments extending this experience in spades. Surprisingly slick throughout, for a PSN game Lead and Gold looks fantastic at times.
That said, very few PSN games cost more than £10. There’s plenty of content on offer here, but as a download title designed to accompany full disc shooters such as Battlefield and COD, whether the price is worth forking out for will depend on how much time you are willing to spend making your way to the top of the leader boards. Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West is worth a play, especially with friends, but it definitely won’t replace your Online shooter of choice.