Severely lacking in polish -- recommended only for die-hard FPS fans...
That said, I must confess that Western Outlaw tested my unconditional preference for first-person shooters just a bit. The story wasn’t all that important – in fact, it didn’t really make all that much sense, even with a second playthrough – as it amounts to a basic save-the-damsel quest across a number of standard Western settings. I can appreciate the fact that a lot of budget shooters are born out of the programmers’ own affection for either that kind of game or a particular type of story (or both), with the end product a labor of love more than a testament to their skills. The folks at Jarhead Games certainly know their Man with No Name and the lawless world he inhabits. However, as with most ValuSoft and Groove titles, no amount of the passion invested in Western Outlaw can overcome the fact that its distinct lack of polish robs the game of its fun.
Western Outlaw is apparently influenced by LucasArts’ Outlaws, which was the first FPS to pay homage to the spur-sporting set. Even though the younger title stands firmly in the shadow of Marshall Anderson’s well-realized yarn, it follows the same basic gameplay setup (albeit with many frustrating technical gaffes) with more detailed scenery. I wouldn’t dare to compare the two games any more than to say that those who enjoyed Outlaws immensely may find a few things worth liking in Western Outlaw.
Anyone who buys Western Outlaw out of a specific appreciation for Old West-style stories may find himself disappointed. Fans of FPSs in general, however, might enjoy this game as a quick snack between bigger and better titles like Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2.