Review by doctorofwho

"Red Dead Redemption is a wonderful authentic western masterpiece."

Red Dead Redemption is the next open world game from Rockstar, developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games.

The game has both a single player and a multiplayer so I'll be talking about single player first and then have a quick look at multiplayer at the end of this review.

In Red Dead Redemption, we are put into the shoes of John Marston, a man who is for unknown reasons at the start of the game chasing someone that they know and determined to take him down one way or the other. Throughout his journey he will journey through several different areas all set in the year 1911.

This game world is certainly one of the bigger ones that Rockstar has produced, twice as big as Rockstar Norths Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas I'd say and it has many things that can be done in it, such as playing poker, blackjack, horsebreaking and other fun jobs or games. In addition to that there is a variety of ways to travel such as riding horses, riding a stagecoach and even riding a train.

Red Dead Redemption was developed using the same engine that Grand Theft Auto IV used so there will be a lot of similarities to it such as the map in the bottom left corner that you will be very used to seeing if you have played Grand Theft Auto IV not to mention a lot of the similar colours used to identity where to go such as yellow in missions to tell you where you need to go while they have also changed some colours such as red when you set a waypoint on your map.

This game also features a system called Dead Eye which when activated slows down time allowing more accurate shooting. It has three levels which once you progress in them, you will be able to utilise it the Dead Eye system even more. On the subject of shooting, Red Dead Redemption features an auto aim system which has three levels, casual, normal or expert and it even has a separate setting for both multiplayer and single player.

One thing that you also get to do is look for outfits or scraps of outfits to change Johns appearance. Once you have been to a place or found a scrap of the outfit, it will appear in the outfits menu and also tell you what else you need to do before you get access to that outfit.

You can also loot bodies for ammo, money and even the scraps of outfits that I just mentioned and you'll find yourself doing that a lot as it's a good way to get the money you'll be needing for either buying houses or playing poker or other things that require money.

Among the other things you can take time out from the story to do includes Lassoing horses which you can do once you get the lasso although this is covered in horsebreaking but horsebreaking is a job so you don't get to keep the horses but you may go into the wild and look for wild horses to lasso for yourselves.

You may also think about completing tasks for strangers which are usually relatively simple although some of them come in parts so you may only be able to do one bit and then have to continue the story and do the next part of the task later.

Another thing that you may think about doing is going after bounties which you can begin by looking at and then taking a wanted poster down. Of course these activities are only a few of the ones you'll be able to do in Red Dead Redemption but I think I've covered enough to excite most people.

Graphically, Red Dead Redemption is gorgeous and really feels authentic to the time period that it is trying to emulate. You'll really feel like your in the old west when playing this beautiful looking game.

And on the subject of how authentic the game feels, the sound also makes the game feel very authentic. All the music used in this game suits the time period it is trying to emulate and does a very successful job of making the player feel like he is a part of the era.

The voice acting in particular feels very authentic, you can really tell Rockstar went out of their way to make sure the accents and the vocabulary used in this game was reminiscent of the era in which the game takes place. And on the subject of voice acting, another feature that I found interesting was that you could greet people you passed by or people who greeted you. With a quick press of a button, John would tip his hat and say “Howdy ma'am” or something similar depending on how you're talking to of course.

Before I move onto the online portion of the game, there is a few things that people might be interested in. You can replay missions from the options menu so you don't need to worry too much about only having one chance to do a mission, if you find a mission you really enjoy then just go to the pause menu, go to stats and then missions to see all the missions you can replay including some general stats about the mission such as fastest time and number of headshots.

And if you are a member of the Rockstar social club then there is also challenges posted that may interest some folk. If you are not a member of the Rockstar social club then feel free to sign up at their site and you'll also be able to see them, you also get a free outfit when you link your gamertag and your social club account.

Now onto the multiplayer portion of this review, a player joins multiplayer by going to the multiplayer option in the pause menu. From there they can choose to either play with their Xbox live party through the Xbox Live Community option, play locally with someone else who owns a 360 on the same network via the System Link option or they can join in an Xbox Live private or public session with the former being for only players that are invited and the latter being available for anyone to join.

Once an option is selected, the player will start off in free roam mode instead of traditional lobbies which players who play other online games may be more used to.

There is several different game modes in Red Dead Redemption multiplayer, free roam which you start out in, shootout and gang shootout and three styles of capture the bag which is similar to capture the flag except instead of flags, it's bags.

Free roam is just what it sounds like, it is a free roaming environment where players can participate in different activities such as clearing out a gang hideout or trying to get some of the online achievements. In addition to that, players can also create parties called posses to do any of the activities in free roam mode and you can have up to 8 people in a posse.

You can also change your character model from the outfitter menu and you can also unlock titles and mounts as you gain in rank in multiplayer. You gain ranks by gaining XP from participating in challenges and from killing other players in any of the multiplayer modes. You can also gain titles by completing challenges.

Shootout and Gang shootout are both similar to each other, the only difference is that gang shootout is a team based match. A shootout is where players compete for the most kills within an allotted amount of time. At the end of the match, the person with the most kills wins and as mentioned, it's the same for gang shootout except that it is a team based game mode and it's the team with the most kills that wins.

The capture the bag game modes are all similar in that they are all about capturing one or more bags. The first of them, Gold Rush creates a bunch of bags and crates and you have to return the bags to the crates while fighting off other players.

The second capture the bag game mode is called Hold Your Own which has two teams with their own sides of the map and the player races from one side to the other to capture the other teams bag.

The final game mode is called Grab the Bag which is the most obvious of the capture the bag game modes when you look at the name. In grab the bag, two teams go after one bag of gold while other team members must protect the person who gets the bag. Returning a bag to your teams based will increase your score by one point.

As you can see, there is plenty to do in Red Dead Redemption both online or offline and with a big game world, plenty of games to play and jobs to do and even an engaging story and some fun multiplayer, there is no end to what fun you could have with this wonderfully authentic western masterpiece.

OVERALL SCORE: 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/25/10, Updated 05/26/10

Game Release: Red Dead Redemption (US, 05/18/10)


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