Beta Perspective: Wild West Online Is Hot Trash A La Mode (Hold the Ice Cream)

An empty wilderness, terrible sound quality, cheap animations, and unfinished assets everywhere with nothing to do but die and see your character irreversibly bricked. It may be in alpha, but Wild West Online is easily a fast contender for worst game of 2017, what is looking to be a shoddy title with questionable connections to one of the most incompetent developers in the gaming industry. Read this preview and stay far, far away.

One thing I’d like to ask about developer 612 Games: Who are they? Do they have a website? No. Does WWO Partners have a website? No. According to the Wild West Online website, the name is trademarked under the US Trademark system by WWO Partners and others. So I decided to do some digging and found exactly what I was looking for:

DJ2 Entertainment Inc. DBA WWO Partners

DJ2 Entertainment doing business as WWO Partners, or in layman’s terms WWO Partners isn’t a real company. Imagine DJ2 Entertainment is Adam Sandler in the Jack & Jill movie and WWO Partners is when he puts on a wig and pretends to be his own sister.

The announcement that Wild West Online is following the model of The War Z, another low effort shovelware title pushed out in connection with Sergey Titov, immediately red flagged this game in my book. Impressively, War Z also had such a refund. It wasn’t until after the refund period that OP Productions (or Hammerhead or whatever they’ve changed their name to these days) stopped pretending that it would live up to certain promises and started coming down hard on the invasive microtransactions. Let me also remind you that War Z was one of the first games to be involuntarily pulled from Steam over fraudulent advertising.

But this game has nothing to do with The War Z or Free Reign Entertainment, the company just by coincidence uses the same engine, had similar website/forum structure, utilizes the same payment processor, and creative director Stephan Bugaj happens to be friends with Sergey Titov on Facebook. DJ2 Entertainment just happened to have worked on Romero’s Aftermath, the equally low quality War Z clone pushed out after the original was abandoned, and was similarly abandoned in short time. Wild West Online’s PR is being handled by Vim Global who, you guessed it, also worked on Shattered Skies. And finally Wild West Online’s trademark was filed by Steven A. Bercu of Lime LLC, also responsible for filing trademarks for all of Titov’s other shell corporations under a slightly different forming of his name.

In case all of the companies I’m listing is confusing you, don’t worry. Sergey Titov and his Free Reign Entertainment crew go through LLCs like they’re candy, each new reboot of War Z was created by a completely new developer with absolutely no online corporate presence, that seems to exist in name only just like WWO Partners.

This weekend’s alpha test is supposed to sell you on Wild West Online, this much is obvious to everyone but the community manager and its tiny cabal of fans. It’s one of two alpha tests before the refund policy ends and you’re up poop creek without a paddle (unless you know how to dispute a transaction via Paypal or issue a chargeback), so rather than treat this like a stress test with minimal features, I’m going to preview Wild West Online like it’s already trying to show off for my money. Which it is.

Everything I need to know about Wild West Online, I learned in the first half hour. A wild west shooter, the game starts you out with a six shooter and no money in a safe zone town somewhere on the open world map. I went to the shop to find that I couldn’t buy anything, watched players run around town, and ran off toward adventure. About three minutes out of town, another player ran up and started a shootout. I lost. Upon respawning, I found that my gun, my medicine, and my ammunition were gone. My character was effectively dead and couldn’t even be deleted it seemed.

And that’s pretty much it. The graphics are nowhere near what we saw in earlier videos, the towns are barren of bystanders, and the world doesn’t have any NPCs roaming around. Your character doesn’t make any footstep sounds when running around, there are hundreds and hundreds of unfinished assets lying around, and the developers don’t seem to understand how skin tone works.

This is what black people looked like in the wild west.

I am hoping that Wild West Online isn’t being developed by the guys who made The War Z, and I say this only because it would mean that the team has become even less competent. While War Z’s alpha may have been a two-bit hack job, it at least masqueraded as what could potentially become a competent product. Wild West Online shows up to work with yesterday’s clothes and a half-empty bottle of whiskey, still drunk because it never stopped from the night before.

Wild West Online is an embarrassment, both in the idea that it is a paid alpha and that WWO Partners expects players to use this to judge whether or not they want to refund their purchase. And they can complain to unhappy customers all they want that this weekend was clearly a “technical test” and was deliberately gutted of content, it doesn’t change the fact that players have two weekends to decide whether or not the game is worth keeping their money in, and WWO has clearly squandered its first of two impressions.

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