Red Dead Redemption Review
Developer: Rockstar San Diego, Rockstart North / Publisher: Rockstar Games / ESRB: Mature (Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99
Welcome once again to another Video Gamer Review here on Machinima.com I’m Rob Talbert and today we are riding into the west with Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. I’ve been extremely excited about this game for a while and now its time to answer whether or not the game lives up to the insane amount of hype that its been getting.
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In Red Dead Redemption you play John Marston, a reformed outlaw who is trying to stay on the right side of the law. Unfortunately for Marston, forces outside his control pull him back into action in the west. This west is a little tamer than you might think; the year is 1911 and the wild west has already seen its wilder heyday. New Austin, where the game takes place, seems to be the last frontier and only remaining place where this wild west really earns its name. Since New Austin sits right on the U.S. and Mexico border you can bet you’ll spend time south, too.
Red Dead Redemption is an open world sandbox game that lets you do whatever you want in a vast western playground. The main story takes around 20 hours to complete, but that’s only if you focus on the core missions. It’s really easy to get sidetracked in the game as Rockstar has packed Red Dead Redemption with all sorts of fun extras . How about playing poker, blackjack, horseshoes, or arm wrestling for cash? Or you could break horses and herd cattle. Still not stirring your imagination? How about treasure hunting or just plain animal hunting where you collect skins for money? Then there’s always robbery, cleaning out gang hideouts, shootouts, duels, and a bevy of side quests to keep you busy.
That long, varied list is still just scratching the surface of the amount of things you can do in Red Dead Redemption. But how does it play? Well, no surprise, it’s great. From shooting to riding horses and driving carriages, Red Dead Redemption is plain fun. As you make choices the game offers up an honor and fame meter that will adjust according to your actions. Want to save that prostitute from being knifed by that drunk? Fame and honor go up. Or are you the type that’s going to be the drunk knifing the prostitute? Fame and honor go down. As these meters rise or fall, NPCs in the game will start to react to you differently. Whether it’s cowering in fear or challenging you to a duel to try and make a name for themselves the variety of actions is staggering. The game also re-includes one of my favorite gameplay designs from Red Dead Revolver, the Dead Eye targeting system. This will save your hide many, many times. It slows down the action and allows you to target specific parts of your enemies, enabling you to disarm them or take them out completely. This really comes in handy in huge shootouts and allows you to take down a large amount of enemies very quickly. On top of being extremely helpful, the ability is just plain fun to use and really makes you feel like a gunslinging outlaw.
Red Dead Redemption offers an amazing multiplayer experience that has a fresh take on playing online with friends. You can start off in a free roam environment –which, by the way, is the entire single-player map–by yourself or by forming a posse with your friends and wander around completing challenges, cleaning out gang hideouts or just killing one another. This all earns you experience to upgrade your character model, unlock new mounts, and even unlock new multiplayer game modes. In addition to the free-roaming mode you can start up the competitive game types like shootouts or capture the bag in which 16 players get in on the action. Each of the game types start off with a Mexican standoff with the teams facing each other in a massive duel. The team that wins gets a jump on the match and is able to get to the best weapons and positions first. Multiplayer is a blast to play and could be a standalone game all by itself.
The controls, from riding to shooting, are a breeze to handle. The targeting assist at times can make the game a little too easy. Few of the shootouts, even the lengthier duels, felt like a challenge most of the time. Though a comprehensive cover system is a combat option I barely found myself using it as the targeting assist made dropping bad guys simple enough from wherever I was. But, as far as functional, easy-to-handle controls, Red Dead Redemption has them in spades.
Red Dead Redemption is a sight to behold. The game is huge and everything in it is absolutely gorgeous. Character models are meticulously detailed, and the environments are stunning in scope. The weather effects had me completely in awe the first time I witnessed a thunderstorm in the desert. Unfortunately, there are a few hiccups here and there with pop-in as you ride to certain objects, but these are almost expected in a game of this size. It’s obvious that Rockstar spent a lot of time researching and studying the Old West and the hard work paid off as the game shines in the graphics department.
Every wild west sound comes across as extremely accurate and authentic. From the gunshots to the soundtrack to the phenomenal voice acting the game sounds about as real as a western game should.
You want the bottom line? Red Dead Redemption is a must-own. There is no getting around it. Rockstar has crafted an instant classic that will have you playing satisfied for months on end. With DLC already announced that will expand the multiplayer experience into special cooperative missions, you can bet that Rockstar will be supporting this game with additional DLC for some time. This is the best western game ever crafted. Go buy it.