Since the Nintendo Wii was released, there has been plenty of games which have capitalised on the system's capabilities. But there is one genre that's perhaps more suited to the control scheme than others, that genre being the rail shooter. Western Heroes is one such game, and it comes with a shotgun peripheral packed in to try make it an even more authentic experience. Try is the key word there though, as it doesn't do a very good job of enriching the experience, not that the experience is that fantastic either way.
As you start off, you can choose from four different characters. There's a typical Cowboy, a Native American, a Colonial Soldier and a Cowgirl. Ironically, some of them don't actually use a rifle, instead sporting a lovely six-shooter magnum. Once you've selected, you'll battle your way through various levels, with the first and last levels feeling rather similar.
The game attempts to convince you that there's some kind of story by giving the various levels names which should mean something. Sadly, they don't. There's no story throughout and given how random everything is, it would have to be a rather crazy story to try and explain why cowboys are fighting against guys with bullet-proof shields.
The gameplay is really what you'd expect from the genre, although it's been made slightly easier by the fact a crosshair follows your pointer around the screen at all times. It's probably done to make it easier for people just using the Wii Remote, but it does take away most of the challenge, as you can just line it up and fire, knowing you'll hit.
As you go through the levels, enemies will pop-out and they get progressively harder as the levels progress. Sometimes they'll even be moving while you're moving, for extra challenge. Vehicles are also thrown in, and they can be taken out by directing shots at weak parts.
There are also certain parts in a level where each member has to take down enemies within a certain period of time. Usually there are similar amounts of enemies for each person, with the purpose being that it actually allows someone to get some kills, instead of having them stolen by some team members.
The problem is, that the whole experience is a bit lifeless. The game does absolutely nothing new and it's a very short experience. You can score headshots, you can shoot innocent people and there are some stats after each level, but the action is rather generic and the only feeling you'll get afterwards is a sore wrist from having to hold it still for a while.
The peripheral that comes with the game also isn't that fantastic. It has a swing-action reload, much like actual shotguns of that era, but it doesn't work properly most of the time and it's easier to just use the button on the Wii Remote. The trigger is also rather sticky and unless it's really pressed hard, it doesn't fire properly. The only good thing about it really, is that it allows you to keep a much steadier aim than when simply using the Wii Remote.
The game's presentation is passable, although at times, the game is prone to crashing - something which is rather commendable considering how stable the Nintendo Wii platform usually is.
The game is on the short side, taking just over an hour and upon completion, there isn't really much else to do. There are a few mini-games which are unlocked, but they aren't the best. And attempting to fight each other to set high scores throughout the campaign isn't exactly the most inspired of replay objectives. The developers did at least try though, and while the options aren't the best, there are at least some there.
Western Heroes is another generic rail shooter that tries to use a peripheral as its selling point. Unfortunately, the peripheral doesn't work properly, not that it could really mask how poor the game actually is if it worked. The gameplay offers nothing new, and there are few options for playing through it again. Not worth checking out.