Friday, June 4, 2010

Red Dead Redemption 9.5

Red Read Redemption was developed by Rockstar San Diego, was published by Rockstar Games, and was released on May 18, 2010. It is rated Mature for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs.

Red Dead Redemption is the long awaited spiritual sequel to the popular Red Dead Revolver released way back in May of 2004. A sandbox style game set in 1911 at the end of the wild west era, RDR has that Grand Theft Auto feel to it that has become synonymous with Rockstar Games. Many developers have tried to reproduce that feel and, in this writers opinion, have fallen very short. It can be played as a single player campaign or in online multi-player.

You start off as John Marston, an outlaw who has turned a new leaf and just trying to lead the good life at the end of the western outlaw era. He is then given a life changing ultimatum by The Bureau and this serves as his motivation for the game and leads to a very interesting storyline. As the game unfolds, you get all of the classic western gear like the classic revolvers, repeater rifles, shotguns, fire bombs (whiskey bottles with a cloth rag) and even a lasso. As the game progresses you can get some more modern weapons such as semi auto pistol and a scoped rifle.
The game has an auto aim feature, but for those looking for more of a challenge, this can be turned off. The weapons all have a different feel and are extremely fun to use, especially the lasso, which you can use to catch the bad guy and hog tie them. Or, if you don't want the trouble of tying them up, throwing them on the back of your horse (or over your shoulder) and taking them in for justice by the law, you can always just drag them behind your horse until there is nothing left.
Or, if you are feeling particularly dastardly, you can rope an unsuspecting citizen and take them to the nearest train tracks and watch them pop like a watermelon at a Gallagher show.

And what self respecting western game would be without the classic gunfights? In RDR, you will be challenged to a duel. If you choose to accept, you will enter the gun fighter mode. You will square off in the middle of the street and wait for the signal. When the town bell rings, you will go into a slow motion draw where you try to get off as many well placed shots as you can. If you are quick and accurate enough, you drop the dirty dog and gain a little respect, as well as notoriety. As you become more well known, you will gain certain perks depending on what you are know for. Save a few damsels in distress and thwart a robbery or two, and you will start getting better deal at the local merchants. It can also go the other way.

Much like the gun fights, there is also the "Dead Eye" action, which lets you place shots while time is slowed. As you progress through the game, your Dead Eye will gain extra perks, such as specific shot placement. This comes in very hand when you are ambushed by a group of bandits. Or in my case, run head first into a large bandit hideout only to find that there are a lot more of them then I thought.

Another aspect of this game is hunting, which makes this game that much better for me. There are plenty of animals roaming around for you to practice your quick draw on. From vultures and hawks (I even shot down a duck!) to rattle snake and armadillos to bears and wolves, this game has all the beasts you'd expect to see in the Wild West. But these critters are for more than just target practice. Every animal you harvest can be field dressed. On most animals, you will get the pelt and occasionally you will get a little something extra, like a heart or claw. These items can then be sold in one of the towns. Pay attention to how much a merchant pays you because different towns pay different amounts for different items. These items can also sometimes be used in side quests, so keep that in mind if you have a pretty good stash of cash and acquire more animal items.

There are other money making ventures such as poker, blackjack, liars dice, and five finger fillet. Not to mention the cash rewards you get for doing the random good, and some not so good deeds.

Speaking of random deeds, the random events that occur in the game is something that really makes this game stand out from the crowd. Rockstar calls this the "dynamic event system". As you wander this vast expanse, you will see characters and the animals interact with each other. People talking, working, or even fighting. You'll even see some stuff that looks like it came strait from Fox's "When Animals Attack". Which isn't new to the free roam world. In GTA4, fights between random characters were common. But to add to the realism of the game, you can intervene if you so choose. If you do choose to, you gain notoriety and usually cash. Or instead of aiding a helpless victim, you may be ambushed by thieves, or asked to aid in the capture of some escaped prisoners from a prison transport gone bad.

The mode of transportation across these western plains are not limited to foot and a trusty steed.
While these both work, there is more. First, there are many kinds of horses to choose from. Some are faster than others while others will wear out quicker. Better horses can be purchased or, if you are up to a challenge, you can try to catch a wild horse and break him to make him your own. You also have the option of stage coach which you can either drive or ride as a passenger. And of course there is the train. While on the train, you can sit and enjoy the ride, or you can challenge your shooting skills by trying to take down animals (or people if you choose) while propelling through the hills and plains.

Multi player is another aspect of this game that can stand alone and do just fine. Instead of being John, you start off as one of the basic characters you can choose as your own with some basic weapons. Unlike the single player mode, everything is based on experience points and leveling up. As you level up, you can unlock new characters and new weapons. As you play, you will find weapons dropped by other players and by random characters, but the only ones you keep permanently are the ones that are earned. You can have your friends or even random players in the room join your posse. You can roam the free world warring with others online or do missions. Which brings me to the only part of this game that I have a big problem with. Spawn killing. It's awful. It happens in every online multi-player game. But this game gives them a big helping hand. When in free roam, it's not that bad. You do re-spawn in the relatively same area, but it is spread out. But try and do a mission, and it's a completely different ball game. While doing missions in free roam, you have specific re-spawn points. And once some d-bag finds it, you may as well stop, exit multi-player, and start over. I was doing a particular mission and one of these wonderful players that should have met their early demise in stomach acid found the spawn point. All he did was aim his shotgun at where I would spawn and it was all over. When you re-spawn, you gun is holstered, so you have no chance at defense. I was spawn killed 24 times before I gave up on the mission I had spent the last 20 minutes trying to do and had to exit multi-player. Hopefully, this is something that will be addressed in the future.

So let's take a look at the break-down of this game....

The Graphics of this game are great. You truly feel as if you are in the wild west.

The Sound is just as good. From the action scores down to the all most cheesy western music. You almost expect Clint Eastwood to walk onto the screen.

The controls are very fluid. At first you will want for a quick single button for changing weapons, but after some practice you will come to like the weapon change system.

Replay value of this game is high. With the sandbox style and multi-player, you will be playing this game over and over.

Multi-player is great aside from the spawnkilling.

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