A Twisted Path to Renown: An In-Depth Review of an Innovative Looter Shooter

Recently, I had the opportunity to dive into the alpha version of A Twisted Path to Renown, a Western-style looter shooter that’s nearing its public release. While it’s buggy and inconsistent at times, I think there’s definitely a fun game here. I spent the last week playing and exploring the neat little innovations – and I kept thinking to myself “Why haven’t any other games done this?”.

Making a Name in the Wild West

One of the first things that caught my attention was the character selection process, you don’t have a character. You instead hire them through a recruitment tab, each comes with their own personalised starter loadout (usually with a sidearm, holster and some basic meds). You can load them up with gear from your stash before each raid. They also all have a signature debuff, ranging from below average stamina to lower carry weight.

It’s a unique system, and I honestly prefer it to something like the Scav system from Tarkov. The highs of finding a keycard in your pocket are ultimately always trumped by the lows of starting with a broken TOZ.

Material Grinding and Raiding

The core gameplay revolves around participating in raids, with the potential to play in a team. There’s more to do in-raid than most games too. I found most of my raids ended up with me mining and cutting wood. Those materials are super important, because they’re used to exchange for weapon parts and base upgrades.

A vault upgrade screen in this innovative game shows required items: logs (six priced at 1600g each), a can of glue (850ml), a hammer, and a wrench (both with 9.8% durability), along with two basic items.

Coal was by far, the most important harvest during my playtime – I needed it in gunsmithing and ammo creation. I often found myself mining away at loose rocks while listening out for the smallest of footsteps or odd noises. These material hotspots are near-mandatory, so everyone ends up rushing there off-rip to snag some easy and valuable kills.

Survival and Health Mechanics

A Twisted Path to Renown hasn’t done much at the moment to build on the standard survival and health systems that we’ve seen in other extraction shooters. I think having some of these familiar aspects in such an innovative game is a great way to keep the game grounded. A non-intrusive health system that fans of the genre will pick up instantly, and the same goes for food and water and their relation to stamina regen rates.

A New Style of Combat

Because of the game’s setting, combat is extremely different to its competitors. Everything feels a little more slow-paced, which is a huge upside for new players. I know that a few of my friends who I tried to get into Tarkov would quit because they got run down by a guy in impenetrable armor with an SMG.

Screenshot of a weapon stats menu for a Volcanic firearm in an innovative looter shooter, showcasing in-depth data such as muzzle velocity, range, reload time, and more. The weapon is in perfect condition but currently has no ammo loaded.

A Twisted Path to Renown does things a little differently, most weapons are single shot before they need to be cocked again with a simple left click. Making this not automatic was a bit of a weird jump going in, where I found myself losing gunfights because I forgot to click again to cock my revolving rifle. But ultimately the system is rewarding and immersive, adding a rhythmic delay to gunfights that feels refreshing.

Weapon Mods and Customisation

You wouldn’t expect to see silencers and advanced sights in the Wild West, but they did exist – and they’re a hell of a lot of fun in this game. Silencers and sights make a huge improvement and give you a huge boost in gunfights against NPCs and other players.

I was researching some of the more historical aspects of this game, checking to see if different attachments did exist at the time, and I fell down a rabbit hole of absolutely insane weapons and attachments that were designed around this era – which opens up the devs to be a little crazier with the game’s arsenal.

The Rough Enemy AI

Now, something I found a little jarring. The combat feels intuitive, PvP combat feels good. AI combat on the other hand, is in a rough spot. Too many of my runs ended early because I was shot through bushes or walls by the AI. A few detection and hitreg issues I can forgive and understand, but this was something different. I felt at times that even when wearing a disguise, enemies would still kill me on sight.

A first-person view through a rifle scope aimed at a cabin in a forested area, with crosshairs centered on a distant target—a perfect setup for an innovative looter shooter experience.

With time, I’m optimistic about this – you get a popup when you’re detected currently, which is nice. Often times I find myself with this marker waiting to be shot at through a bush, before I can respond. Enemies are also super accurate, moreso than I’ve seen in other games in the genre. I get gunned down from distances far enough that even my longest range weapons won’t reach.

Gear, RNG and the Economy Grind

Another extraction shooter, and another list of items I need to remember and mentally list as valuable. The grind at the moment is pretty rough, especially in the early-game. Progression feels locked behind near-impossible tasks, hours of cutting wood – or one extremely luck drop.

While large grinds and long-term goals usually are a good thing in extraction shooters, more consideration needs to be taken for the early game and new player experience.

Knowledge Gates and Experience

I briefly mentioned it earlier, but this game doesn’t pull any punches in regards to the pretty high entry bar. Like Tarkov, there’s no indicators on the map of where you are – or where the extraction points are. You need to learn them yourself, or just keep a landmarks list up on the second monitor.

tptr character

Recently, we’ve seen games opt for a more traditional map style. This detracts slightly from the realism of the game but it greatly helps out both new and experienced players. I know Customs on Tarkov like the back of my hand, but that’s because I’ve spent a few hundred hours there. It’s a big ask for a game to require me to put that level of time into learning it’s maps.

Community Engagement and Future Prospects

One encouraging aspect of A Twisted Path to Renown is the development team’s active engagement with the community. During my playtime I was constantly reminded about the bug report tool in-game, and the Steam page is filled with community outreach programs.

Game-Labs seems invested in the success of this game, and while I can understand some of the pushback and negative reviews – I hope that with community feedback they can make the improvements and systems that players want. Updates and transparent development have been plentiful over the last month or so, promising server performance improvements and new weapons.

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Zac Kaye
I've been playing games for pretty much as long as I can remember. There's about 15 years of gaming experience under my belt at this point. Destiny, Warframe, Halo, CoD and the list goes on. I was a brief world record holder for Destiny 2 speedrunning, as well as a season-long stint as a top 10 ranked PVP player. More recently, I've been shooting for the Celeste speedrun leaderboards. In-between sessions of getting too mad at shooters, I spend a lot of my time playing gacha games like Honkai Star Rail and Limbus Company.

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