Review by Syko_666

"The Western many gamers have been hoping for."

Rockstar Games have had a fine track record when it comes to open world games. The Grand Theft Auto series is a driving force in the world of video games it has sold millions upon millions of units worldwide and it has also innovated and opened new doors for video games , it is loved by it's fans and feared by rivaling companies. When a new GTA game is announced, you can expect a lot of hype. But nothing can describe the hype that has been flourishing since Red Dead Redemption was first unveiled to the world. If there is one genre that hasn't been done any justice in the video game medium it is the Western genre. It isn't really a sequel to Red Dead Revolver, what happened in that game's storyline has little to do with this game. Red Dead Redemption is what the guys at Rockstar wanted Red Dead Revolver to be, but the technology of the PS2 and the XBox were limited, it would have been impossible to make a game world of this size and still make it look good. But enough of the backstory, let's get to the review shall we?

Gameplay:

Yes, comparisons with GTA will be drawn, and there are striking similarities, an open world, you can take missions whenever you wish, and there are a bunch of side-missions and activities to take part in between them, the on-foot controls are very much like GTA IV's aside from a few minor differences. They even put in the old GTA style radar as well! But make no mistake, Red Dead Redemption is still very different to the GTA games. The most obvious difference is the world itself, on one hand you have GTA with it's urban early 20th to late-21st Century cityscapes and on the other you have Red Dead Redemption's massive rural environment, complete with a fully-functioning ecosystem and more than enough animals and desperados for you to wave your six shooter at. Another difference is the kind of challenges you face in this world. When you're out in the wilderness, the human NPCs will be the least of your worries, some of the animals you will encounter are ferocious. This one time I was out on a bounty hunting mission (which I will go into detail later) up in the mountains and I had just gotten off my horse when a grizzly bear had just appeared out of nowhere and charged at me and knocked me to the ground. When I got up, I drew my rifle and only got one shot off before the grizzly had mauled me again and that was it. I was dead. It had been hunting me and I never even knew it was there. The grizzly bears aren't the only dangerous animals present in the game world. You will encounter cougars, wolves, coyotes, rattlesnakes and a bunch of other predators. But there are also weak animals as well, throughout the course of your travels you will hunt deer, elk, rabbits, hawks, bald eagles, crows, boars and many others. The great thing about this is that you can skin them when you have killed them and sell the meat and fur to merchants in towns. Great if you want to make a few easy bucks. You can also try your luck at bounty hunting, all you have to do is find a wanted poster and press Y to take the mission. You can either choose to kill your target or take them alive by getting a hold of them with your lasso and tying them up, you can then pick them up and place on your horse and take them to jail. The latter makes you the most money but can also be very difficult. You can also try gambling. In towns and settlements there will be multiple games taking place, including poker, blackjack and liar's dice. And each of these games present their own challenges. The one thing about Red Dead Redemption that stands out is the size of the world and the depth it is presented in. The northern part of the game map consists of New Austin and West Elizabeth and on the southern part there is a massive Mexican region called Neuvo Pariso (Spanish for New Paradise) which is going through a Socialist revolution and happens to contain some of my favorite missions in the game. The wonderful thing about this game world is the amount of diversity in it. Every area feels, looks and sounds unique. The attention to detail is fabulous. Another element I must praise is the combat, the gunplay feels authentic. If you are using a revolver it sounds and handles like the real thing, the same goes with the rifles. You can also use dynamite, throwing knives, fire bottles and the absolutely dominating gatling gun. The physics in this game are super-realistic, if you shoot a guy in the head, he will fall in the same way you would if I were to literally shoot you in the head right now. You shoot him in the leg he will crawl to his feet and limp away. It's a funny sight. The great thing about Red Dead Redemption is the amount of freedom, you can go the honest route and take down criminals or you can go insane and shoot everyone you come across. But be aware, the lawmen in this game are nothing like the cops in GTA. They will shoot first and not ask any questions, and if you aren't extremely careful you might end up with a bounty on your head, which means you'll have bounty hunters on your tail. There is a lot more I could talk about in this section but there is not enough space for it so you will have to wait and see.

Presentation:

Everything looks, sounds, and feels like you are in the Wild West. 'Nuff said.

Graphics:

Very pretty! Observing a giant valley from the top of a cliff is a reward in it's own right, I've had very few problems with draw distance or framerate issues. The character models aren't perfect, but for a game of this size they are very impressive. The NPCs are surprisingly versatile. You aren't likely to see the same person twice while exploring.

Story:

RDR is set during the Industrial Revolution, the Old West is nearly dead and new technologies are starting to thrive. You play as John Marsten, an ex-outlaw who is being forced by government agents to hunt down all of the members of his old gang. The agents have his wife and son, and if he refuses to cooperate they will die, he has no choice. Unfortunately things get complicated and John is forced to travel down to Mexico, where Socialist revolutionaries are locked in a war with the Mexican army and John works for both sides in his time there and he takes part in multiple battles. Later on he will go to West Elizabeth, an area where industry is starting to really flourish. The game's ending is also a shocker. I won't spoil it, but you won't see it coming. It doesn't have a very happy ending.

Sound:

Sound effects are brilliant. Musical score fits the genre. Voicing acting is superb. Not much else to say.

Replay value:

After you have finished the main story there is still loads to do in this game. The size of the world and overwhelming amount of activities presented to you will make it very difficult for you to reach 100%.

Pros +

Massive game world with every bit as much depth to it.
Some really fun story missions.
An engaging storyline.
The opportunity to act out scenes from your favorite Western movies.
You can hunt grizzly bears.
Loads of things to do after you finish the storyline.

Cons -

Disappointing ending.
Being a criminal doesn't pay as well you would think.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/26/10

Game Release: Red Dead Redemption (EU, 05/21/10)


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