Red Dead Redemption

By David_D, Posted 17 Jun 2010

Red Dead Redemption is a brilliantly done game by Rockstar in a setting that many developers have never gone to, or if they have definitely didn't do as well. Gun, Red Dead Revolver, and Call of Juarez are all solid western titles that gave hope that maybe some day some developer would go above and beyond that and make a big name title that could compete with other popular titles and truly be something special to a majority of gamers. Well hope no longer, because that game is here and true western fans have to wait no longer.

You're John Marston, a retired Outlaw who tried to change his ways, settle down to an honest living and have a family. Before long the Federal Government comes along and forces him to help them hunt down some of his old Outlaw friends that they are incapable of doing by taking his family hostage until he does what his Government is forcing him to do. Since he doesn't have any choice in the matter he makes the trip to New Austin Territory to begin his hunt for his former companions so that he can hopefully forever put his past behind him and get back to his family to live the kind of life he desperately wants to lead. He's tired of the killing, tired of the fighting, robbing, stealing and other corrupt ways that are found all over the wild western frontier. With gunsmoke and lead hopefully John can battle his way to putting his past 6 feet under, buried and dead where it belongs so he can finally hang up his guns, take up honest work and move on with his life in the direction he wants to go.

Throughout his quest you will run into a wide variety of characters to interact with and learn from along the way. There is definitely no shortage of things to do for John Martson in the west that easily distract him from his main goal of bringing down his old Outlaw friends so he can get back to his family. Killing animals and skinning them for extra cash. Looting the bodies of enemies for extra money that were brave enough to get in your way. Night riding, breaking horses, robbing, or helping out the people in need you come across along your way. There is so much to do in this huge game you will only be missing out on a lot by just fast traveling from one point to another all the time.

How you want to be portrayed by those you encounter in your travels is entirely up to you. Be a Legendary Outlaw and kill everything that moves for the chance of making some extra cash of acquiring some ammo in case someone witnessed your crime and sends the law after you. Be the Hero and help out strangers in need, save kidnapped women, rescue someone being chased by mountain lions, bears, cougars, wild boars, wolves or other animals that you come across in your travels. Help a Sheriff collect his escaped prisoners or kill the Sheriff and help your fellow outlaws escape. It's entirely up to you.

Even without the ton of action you come across when riding through the game just taking in the environment is enough to impress you to the level of detail put into this game. Of course it's not perfect an occassionally you will run into a small glitch here and there, but nothing that will take away from the overall experience of the game or the appreciation for the amount of detail and beautiful design that was put into this game. Night, day, storms, and about any other weather you can think of, including snow is all put into the environment with stunning detail and realism. From the dry, dangerously attractive deserts to the lush, green forests to the rolling golden hills of the great plains it's all there for you to take in. Just don't get too comfortable sitting on top of that hill looking over the scenery without leaving an eye out for danger, because there very well could be a giant grizzly, or menacing mountain lion sneaking up on your backside hoping to make you his dinner whether you like it or not. There are an amazing variety of animals in this game, nearly perfectly done and accurately portrayed in their environment that you can hunt down, kill and skin to be sold at a local General Store to be sold for extra money or to complete challenges.

While in town and not out enjoying the rest of the area around you there are also many things going on. Walk down the street and some glory hunter might recognize you and call you out to a duel to see who is faster. Disarm him by shooting the gun out of his hand and send him home crying to his mommy to get his diaper changed or kill him and leave him laying in the middle of the street so the first chance he gets he doesn't thank you for letting him live by shooting you in the back. There are also a lot of places you can either Rent or Buy in order to Save your progress or restock on ammo before starting a new activity by checking the trunk/chest and other available areas in your rooms to see what sort of supplies or money has spawned for you during your time away. Getting tired of wearing the same clothes all the time? Want to clean up a little for the ladies? Well you can do that as well either from one of your properties you have rented or saved or from a campsite you have set up in the wild (Which you can also fast travel from, very handy). There are a lot of outfits you can unlock to wear in this game, including a few special ones you can get by joining the Rockstar Social Club or having a pre-ordered version of the game and using your DLC code to unlock the set of challenges for that outfit.

The Rockstar Social Club is an online club that is free that provides addition content for you to enjoy the game by having leaderboards to encourage you to keep coming back and stacking up your stats for others to gawk in awe at or providing unique challenges for you to attempt to accomplish while clearing out enemy hideouts and things of that nature. There are also a lot of mini games all over in this game, some of them you have to do in order to complete Stranger Missions or unlock certain outfits as well. Games such as Poker, Blackjack, Arm Wrestling, Five Finger Fillet, and a few others that aren't overly difficult but will also provide a nice little side challenge or a fast way to make money depending on which of these you choose and your talents as a gamer. This may seem like too much to keep track of, but it's easy to avoid getting lost since there is a very nice in game map to help you get around under the start menu which you can add more detail to by buying area maps along the way, going into your satchel using select and opening them from them after buying them to show you more landmarks and detail making treasure hunting, bounty hunting or just general travel that much easier. Also under your start menu you can go to your journal and read through your brief in case you miss something someone just said, check out your challenges and see what they want you to do next to advance to the next stage/level or see what strangers you have in your life currently and if you need to do anything for them currently.

For stat trackers this game has more than enough to keep you happy as well, from headshots, to how many kills, how much money you've made from selling skins, meat, claws etc. Pretty much everything you do in the game is recorded in here for you and broken down into easy to navigate sections under the Stats option in the start menu. Previous missions can also be replayed through here if you want as well to see if you can beat your previous best for time or accuracy or if you just liked the mission so much you want to do it again without having to play through the entire game.

The voice acting was great for this game, along with the graphics and attention to detail they put into the environment. With some small glitches aside this game is nearly perfect otherwise with an entertaining and even shocking/surprising story to go along with the great characters and authentic sound of the west. Even during cutscenes all the details are still there from being able to see the storm outside or sunshine through the windows or whatever the weather was when the scene began. Along with all the other little details of the environment around you from seeing birds fly overhead, hearing people talk in the background or walk by. The in game world doesn't simply stop just because you started a cutscene. This can be the cause of a few small glitches with so much going on and I did have the game freeze on me a few times when being caught cheating at poker but other than that I didn't come across any major glitches except for a few smaller things in the environment loading a little slow on a rare occassion. Really though, to really notice any other little glitches that might occur you're just nitpicking and looking for perfection and not actually enjoying the game and odds are there aren't very many games you like in general because I've yet to find the "perfect" game that works perfectly 100% of the time.

Gameplay is very smooth, GTA fans will of course feel comfortable with a lot of the controls since they are similar, but also unique in their own way to fit the game and features that are different. From riding, shooting, shooting while riding, running away while shooting over your shoulder to using the cover system it's all very comfortable and responsive. The controls are so well done it actually makes the game easier since it's so smooth, although if you are too careless and don't pay attention to your mini map or what kind of weapons they are using (like getting too close to someone with a shotgun) they will kill you in short order. But staying on the move or actively using the cover system and you shouldn't have too much trouble staying alive and stacking up the bodies like cord wood. Riding horses is very enjoyable, just be careful riding around water since if you are going too fast they seem like to jump over fences or into water if you're not careful. They also made it easy to ride with a companion by simply holding a button to keep pace with how fast they are riding making it easier for you to follow the banter that is exchanged along the way when going with another character to one location or another in the game. Very realistic and detailed, right down to the blood spattering on the wall behind an enemy when you drill them dead center through the chest or head. A truly impressive game from about any angle that you look at it from.

I have put in about 70 hours for this game, 100% completion but I still haven't made it to the online side of things yet but I have talked to several people who have and read reviews on it from several sites and from all that I've saw and heard even this side of Red Dead Redemption is solid, and is like an entire game in itself. With a leveling system where you unlock better characters, horses and other forms of transportation, guns and skills depending on what you do to provide tons of content to keep you coming back for more. Whether you want to ride with a large posse or take on all odds by yourself both come with their own set of rewards and enjoyment.

This game is a must play and truly a new standard for western games of the future. So pack up your guns, check your ammo, cinch that strap down tight, tie down that holster and prepare yourself for hours of non stop beautifully brutal western action. Do you have what it takes to become a Legend of the West?

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 - "It's not perfect, but damn close!"

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  • So this game has RPG element. I thought it would be more like AC. Not GTA it sounded more like FarCry II. And judging by your videos, I thought the gameplay would be like FarCry II. I'm surprised that you've rated .5 less. Where as I was expecting 11 out of 10 from you. One point extra for making you addicted to it. lol. And, for God's sake, don't go for online play. You've played it enough already :P

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • @Sleven : Ready for me to be moving on to other games already?:P

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • Play Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction. I have a feeling that you will like it ;)

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • @Sleven : It's a PC game though, as far as I know it's not on the PS3, but I will look into it. I don't PC game though so odds are that one is a no go for me. :)

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • Great review of a great game!!! I liked your style of writing. You have potential of a great writer!!!

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • There's an easy solution. Buy an usb converter for your PS3 controller ;)

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • @Koshai : Thank you, coming from you that means a lot since you are a serious gaming and know a lot about video games and writing. :)

    @Sleven : True, but there is delay with the controls when you do that and my laptop isn't exactly a gaming laptop so it wouldn't be nearly as good an experience for me as it is with the PS3 console. I play a few PC games now and then but they are older favorite titles that had PC ports like Gun from the PS2 for when I am not at home for a while but still want to get some gaming in.

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • Perhaps you need a better gaming PC. I assume you don't have one. Since I never payed attention when I used to play with PS3.

    Posted Jun 17, 2010

  • @Sleven : My laptop can run most games, but not on highest settings by any means but it's newer so meets the minimum requirements, but getting into PC gaming is expensive, a lot more expensive than console gaming, and also I don't enjoy it as much since I have PC gamed on and off for several years until a few years ago when I decided to pretty much stop PC gaming altogether unless it was my only gaming option.


    It's just money I don't want to bother with, since better PC's, especially gaming PC's and laptops come with a lot bigger price tag and to get into PC gaming at the level I like to game at would cost over $1,000 and I just don't want to spend that much money for gaming that I don't enjoy as much as what I already have available to me for gaming.

    Posted Jun 18, 2010

  • Finally got it up, eh? I'll see about getting a critique written up for ya, then.

    Posted Jun 18, 2010

  • Nice review David. I was expecting you to rate it 10/10.

    Posted Jun 18, 2010

  • I agree with that but if you have a high conf PC, you can do other stuff with it. Specially the video editing you do. I'm sure it requires a good speed. You aren't into strategy game though. Else you would've known how essential a good PC is for them.

    Posted Jun 18, 2010

  • mm.. this game looks great from everyone telling me about it and your great review, but 70 hours for a playthrough is kind of a let down for me lol. As you know I get bored of a game rather quickly if it exceeds the 20 hours mark as I prefer my games to be shorter. I always liked better putting 70 hours into a game that I have beaten 4 or 5 times than put 70 hours for one single playthrough. Not saying that I still wouldn't get through it, but rare are the games of this length to get me hooked enough to actually beat finish them lol.

    Still, this was a great review nonetheless and I'll still consider the game once it gets cheaper in price. I did expect you to rate it higher than 9.5 though ;p Oh an am I alone who hates rating my reviews with a number? I never know what to put so I simply don't rate them and let people judge the rating by the review.

    On to a little rant along Sleven here for your PC gaming.. You can install some free drivers to get a PS3 controller to work on your PC, though it's a bit of a pain to get working. Otherwise you could buy a wired X360 controller which is supported out of the box in Windows. I agree with Sleven, you should get to PC gaming so you can take advantage of the games being cheaper to buy than on consoles, better graphics when the game isn't a port of a console and you could play great games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ;p

    Posted Jun 19, 2010

  • @c_rake : I shall await your words of wisdom. :)

    @Tanya : Yeah, in the past I probably would have given the game a 10/10 but it wasn't perfect and had room for improvement as well so I gave it a 9.5, but it's still the best experience I've had on the PS3 so far. :)

    @Sleven : Yeah, I just prefer how consoles are ready out of the box and can play the games maxed out straight from the box without having to update graphic cards, memory/RAM, processor, etc in order to do that. Also it's expensive to do that, I doubt I will ever become a PC gamer.

    @FetusZero : Cheaper games are nice and I wouldn't mind gaming with the X360 controller on the PC since it'd be more compatible but unless I get a lot of extra money coming my way I will stick with the ps3 because I just don't have the extra money right now, or the interest enough to find enough money to get set up for higher scale PC gaming. I also don't like providing an actual score rating for my reviews but I always have because I thought it was something everyone included. In the future if I do more I might just leave out the score as well and just let the review speak for itself. :)

    You don't have to spend 70 hours on the game to just play the main part of the game though, also I took my time and didn't rush at all which is why I spent that many hours with it, you can pretty easily beat all the story missions in 20 hours if you use fast travel a lot you could actually probably do it in 12-13 hours since stranger missions and challenges are optional only for 100% completion and you can still have an easy time of it without doing them. It's all just about how you approach the game and what you want to do. There are only around 60 story missions altogether so just doing those wouldn't take overly long to do. :P

    Posted Jun 19, 2010

  • Great review for a great game. I expected the 10, but 9.5 isn't that bad either:P

    Posted Jun 23, 2010

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