OpinionVideo Games

Redfall’s Penny-Pinching Makes Me Want to Join the Undead

Survivors will penny-pinch you into oblivion in Redfall, charging you for everything even while you are busy saving them.

Every now and then, one of the neck-biters in Redfall will say that, if you’re “special” enough, they’ll turn you into a vampire. And you know what? If it’s an alternative to paying to save humanity, sign me up.

Because my biggest gripe about Redfall isn’t the glitches, the lack of a console performance mode, or any of the other issues it’s taken flak for. For the most part, I’m enjoying myself. Blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but staking vampires never gets old. Likewise, whipping out the UV gun and smashing a now-frozen bloodsucker is a real blast.

What infuriates me and has me wishing I could throw down my weapon and join the ranks of the undead is Redfall’s ridiculous currency system. I’m not talking about microtransactions, either; they’re mercifully absent from the game. No, the in-game survivors will actually charge you for medical supplies and ammo.

So, aside from the serious business of dispatching vampires, you’re also filling your pockets with anything that’s not nailed down. The small mercy is that any suitable items you collect are automatically converted into currency. Otherwise, I’d be running around with a backpack full of ropes, hammers, and gold watches.

I get that, from a difficulty standpoint, it makes sense to have players work for certain items. Redfall isn’t the only game to charge a supposed savior for their equipment — Mass Effect adopted a similar approach. But there, at least, you were combating a threat that most of the galaxy didn’t believe was real.

Survivors will penny-pinch you into oblivion in Redfall, charging you for everything even while you are busy saving them.

Here, it doesn’t gel with the story Redfall is trying to tell. Does it make sense that there might be one nutball trader out there who, with vampires at the door, insists on charging you money? Yes. But back at the fire station, the building you personally secured and cleared, very little is free.

You’re slaughtering vampires by the score, and yet you’re paying for medical supplies, ammo, and so on. I swear, I wanted to step outside, flick the UV lights to “off,” and just let the living dead steamroller the place.

“What’s that? You’re bleeding profusely from the neck? Well, why don’t you use THOSE SODDING FIRST AID KITS YOU’VE BEEN CHARGING ME AN ARM AND A LEG FOR!”

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. In another example of the disconnect between setting and game, the game’s doctor does tell you to take some supplies, without any mention of charging. But the moment you reach for them, you’re presented with the 750 credit price tag.

So I had to gather 10 ropes, or a similar amount of scrap, just to fix wounds I received turning back the vampiric tide. Yes, you can sometimes find medkits on the bodies of the humans you dispatch, or in other places, but that’s not the point. These are the people whose lives I’m safeguarding, and they want to charge me for the privilege.

Survivors will penny-pinch you into oblivion in Redfall, charging you for everything even while you are busy saving them.

What irks me in particular is that there is a way Redfall’s credit system could have been implemented without being nearly as clumsy. Why not make the survivors suspicious of you, so you have to prove yourself to them by gathering, say, food?

As is, any excess food you pick up is just discarded. But what if, upon picking up food, you had the choice of using it to restore your own health or take it to restock the firehouse? The more reliable you proved yourself to be, the more willing they’d be to offer help in return.

And instead of just rifling through every single house, you could make a beeline for grocery stores, garages, and anywhere likely to have food. There’d still be effort involved, but it would be more logical than handing the survivors cold, hard cash.

Instead, the same survivors whose necks you’ve saved will charge you for the weapons, medkits, and ammo. Redfall has these scenes showing the survivors pulling together, but you’re apparently not included. On top of that, they load you with frivolous demands — you’re out there murdering vampires just so they can get a working popcorn machine. And yes, that’s absolutely a real sidequest.

Whatever other issues Redfall has, it’s the NPCs’ penny-pinching that makes me want to take a bite out someone’s neck. So if it ever does get a Left 4 Dead-style PvP mode, you can bet I’ll be seeing how the other half unlives. No one ever charged a vampire to reload their fangs.

About the author

Chris McMullen
Freelance contributor at The Escapist. I've returned to writing about games after a couple of career changes, with my recent stint lasting five-plus years. I hope, through my writing work, to settle the karmic debt I incurred by persuading my parents to buy a Mega CD. Aside from writing for The Escapist, I also cover news and more for GameSpew. I've also been published at other sites including VG247, Space, and more. My tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though I'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based.