Night Gate review for PC

Platform: PC
Publisher: DangerousBob Studio
Developer: DangerousBob Studio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: Not Rated

Night Gate is an open-world vampire-hunting game that, unfortunately, isn’t very good. Think of it as Redfall, but as…uh…well, think of it as Redfall.

Obviously, I’m being more than a little unfair to Night Gate. Seeing as Redfall was the work of lots of people with massive amounts of resources at their disposal, whereas Night Gate, as far as I can tell, is the work of a small team who didn’t have Microsoft bankrolling them, that the two games have anything in common is either a sign of how poorly Redfall turned out or how well Night Gate did despite its limitations.

That’s obviously oversimplifying things. Redfall had a layer of gloss to it that Night Gate couldn’t hope to match. But still, Night Gate has an impressive amount of ambition. It wants to be a open-world RPG where you hunt vampires, a combination of Castlevania and Resident Evil that’s set in the bayous of the Deep South. And even if it doesn’t come anywhere close to delivering on that, the fact it comes close enough that you can see what they were aiming for is impressive in its own right.

But I’d be lying if I said that Night Gate was even kind of good. At best, it’s functional: your character, Robin, wanders around a world where the horizon (and the walls and trees in front of her) pop in and out of existence depending on where you’re standing. The game’s map is a decent size, but beyond the problems the game has with properly rendering everything, it doesn’t just gate off inaccessible areas with invisible walls, it has giant black walls that stretch off and make it very obvious where you can’t go. The world also has a day-night cycle, except the night is so dark you can barely see anything, and the day is so bright that everything looks bleached out.

As far as Robin herself, things aren’t any better. She can explore the world beyond her island on an airboat that’s nearly impossible to steer, and that moves so slowly that you’re almost better off just walking through the water (though occasionally I’d get attacked by a giant tentacle while I was walking, so you’re probably not meant to do that). She has a decent array of weapons, and the enemy vampires generally move slowly enough that you can get in some quick headshots, but Robin walks around the world in a way that makes the tank controls of the original Resident Evil games seem fluid and natural. The game gives you enough resources to get by if you need them, but it also seems to have forgotten to give you a health meter, so you can’t even tell when you’re injured, let alone close to death. She’s in a world that has a surprising amount of voice acting, but the voice acting is wooden, to put it nicely.

But even with all these flaws, it’s hard not to root for Night Gate, even if just a little. Maybe it’s because it’s overflowing with ambition, maybe because it’s hard not to compare it to that other, much more prominent vampire game that flopped just as spectacularly – whatever the reason is, as flawed as Night Gate is, there’s enough here that’s interesting that if you can accept all kinds of imperfections (and to be clear, there are a lot of imperfections here), it’s kind of fun in its own way.

DangerousBob Studio provided us with a Night Gate PC code for review purposes.

Grade: C+