Who here is a fan of Gun Control? We all know how our friends across the pond feel about their 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. The American Dream allows us average Non US Citizens to peek into how wonderful their lives are because of it. The American Dream is the latest release from Samurai Punk (an awesome name if I do say so myself!) and is a Rail style FPS with a twist, taking the idea of Guns being a tool in the home and then replacing every other tool in the home with a type of gun as though it was completely normal (even the cutlery!).
The big question now… Is The American Dream a Crack shot title, or firing wide of the mark? Let’s find out…
It’s pretty hard to spoil any story points in The American Dream as is the case with most rail shooters in my experience, however I will try to avoid anything too ‘story’ based and keep to the basics as much as possible.
The American Dream is a sort of roller coaster ride where players will travel through an elaborate series of stages created by various Gun Manufacturers each looking to show you the benefits of their guns throughout the common man’s life.
At the opening of the game there is a brief tutorial showing you how to aim, shoot and reload the guns. What I like here is that it’s not a ‘tutorial’ in the sense of it being separate to the rest of the game, it’s been included as part of the ‘story’ of the game that covers the baby years of your life.
Please note the whole of the game is narrated by a talking dog (it is only a statue with a speaker.. but I’m still going to say it’s a talking dog..)
The premise of the game is very simple and as such so are the controls, simply aim and shoot at things, then re-load. This concerned me a little at the start of the game as something so simple I had my doubts would be able to keep my attention.
The key here is the comedic element that gives you menial tasks such as washing the car or cooking a Burger… By shooting them! (That’s got to be a good thing.. right?). While at the same time the talking Dog mocks your shooting. At the end of each level you’re presented with something resembling a score card showing how you did and how much money you earned through the level, this money is then used to buy the guns for the later levels.
Not to worry, while I know the amount doesn’t look like much in the above picture, I didn’t have any trouble accumulating enough money to buy everything I needed for each level.
As The American Dream covers key events in life right from Birth, each player will play through events that I’m sure will spark memories of their own life and in some cases the inclusion of a gun may even be the dream! Although just to clarify… none of us at TC condone pointing guns at women and children (unless they really deserve it). One of the most important things to me when playing this kind of game is how natural it feels and how accurate the aiming is. After all, what’s the point of a shooting game if you can’t shoot anything?
Well, The American Dream has this part done almost perfectly (after a little play around with the settings to adjust for your personal setup). Everything felt perfectly natural, even to the point where I was using the sniper rifle and found myself trying to pull the gun into my shoulder (then wondering why I couldn’t).
I did experience one issue with the VR which may have been my personal set-up. But I couldn’t seem to fix it. While the gun movement horizontally was fine, I found that if a target was low to the ground (along the line of where your seat is) it was next to impossible to get the item in your sights correctly. However, if I just aimed the gun somewhere near and pulled the trigger the target vanished. Even with this issue, If it wasn’t for the fact that all of the people in the game you interact with are cardboard cut-outs it could have easily been the one of the most realistic and enjoyable shooting games I have played in PSVR.
Speaking of how the people look. I found the cardboard cut-outs a little annoying after a while as this is where I noticed a good amount of clipping and issues with the appearance where guns and items simply passed through them. This was especially annoying at times. For example, where I should have been accepting something from said character but I couldn’t pick the item up.
The overall appearance of the game and the art style is reminiscent of the old 50’s style USA advertising posters. Very nicely done even if it isn’t the most realistic choice. (Not that this bothered me in the slightest)
There really is very little to discuss with the audio. Other than the sound of Gunfire and a talking dog, most of it is background noise and once you’re into the game you tend not to notice it. Unfortunately for me the sounds for the gunfire were all too similar regardless of the weapon. Sure the Shotgun for example was louder but there was no really difference in sound between that and the Tommy-gun from another level.
There did seem to be a small amount of lag at times between the audio and visuals for re-loading, not exactly immersion breaking or anything like that, just noticeable if you pay attention to it.
This is where a lot of people’s opinions may differ, I believe that some people will happily be able to play this game over and over purely for the fun of the target shooting. Personally however, this is very much a once and done. As the only replay value I see for me would be either trophy hunting or trying to improve previous scores. The game itself can be finished realistically within a few hours, with a total of 20 stages to play though. While this isn’t exactly long when compared to most titles, I think its a title that would appeal to more of the adult gamer so the amount of play time Is about right. Although, some additional DLC later down the line with more guns/targets would be nice.
Samurai Punk have got themselves a real solid shooter here. I think almost everyone will enjoy it in one way or another and should most definitely at the very least try it. The game has plenty of humour & enough guns to rival GTA. There are a few areas which need a little bit of work and a little more variety in places would help massively. Based on this I would have to give The American Dream a Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.