Review by Big8Ball
"A masterstroke of gaming genius."
Red Dead Redemption is a masterstroke of gaming genius. Rockstar has truly perfected the art of open world third person shooters. The thing that separates this game from other sandbox games is the quality of the sandbox. This sandbox of a Wild West World that Rockstar has created is phenomenal. So grab your six-shooter, sharpen your knife and slap on your spurs for the best gaming adventure of 2010.
The graphics are outstanding. The foliage rendering is beautiful, the environment drips with detail and realism. The sunsets and sunrises are absolutely stunning. I feel as though the graphics are a mix between GTA 4 and Assassins Creed 2. The attention to detail is stunning. I was expecting GTA 4 graphics but these are way better. The lighting is better, shadows aren't jaggy, and there is a lot of color. Night looks gorgeous with all the stars lighting up the skies and the sun and moon are just perfect. Water looks way better as well and of course you got plenty of blood and smokey shootouts. These graphics are top of the line for Xbox 360. (Of course the PC version will be a little better)
The sound is crisp from horse shoes trampling over the dusty plains to the crack of a six shooter. All weapon sounds are superb and every other little minute sound is put into place correctly. Once again the attention to detail is stunning. The voice acting is wonderful; all the sounds of the environment are crisp and accurate from the shriek of an attacking cougar to the growl of an angry grizzly bear. I really liked the music too with all the guitars, harmonicas and whistles. Overall, the sound is wonderful and completely immersive.
I really liked the story. John Marston is an ex-outlaw tracking down his former gang members because the government is forcing him to do it. If he doesn't, his family will face dire consequences. The story is everything you'd expect from a western and totes more spaghetti than a Sergio Leone flick. The characters are outrageous and there is a lot of storytelling that really portrays what life would have been like back in the early 1900's on the Texas border. I was very into the story because it fits so well with the setting and flows smoothly throughout the course of the game. Also, a lot of the missions and storytelling is unexpected and unpredictable. Many times I found myself expecting a certain outcome and being totally surprised.
Game play 10/10
Game play is boss. You can ride/drive different types of horses, carriages, single horse chariots and motorcars. There are all types of different weapons like repeaters, throwing knives, revolvers, shotguns, dynamite etc. Lots of cool weapons and despite the lack of weapons technology, the gunplay is very satisfying. The missions are varied enough and take place in lots of different locales and interesting settings. You can play poker, black jack and some other side games. You can help random strangers out on the frontier or hold them up and take their cash. You can ride trains across the country side. You can hunt down criminals and be a feared bounty hunter. You can be a notorious outlaw who roams the countryside holding up innocents and killing lawmen. Or you can be the unknown hero who sends every baddie you come across into forever sleep. You can watch short flicks at the cinema. You can hunt animals. There are so many animals in this game like grizzly bears, panthers, cougars, wolves, hawks, coyotes, owls, songbirds, raccoons, foxes, skunks, rabbits etc. You can take long horseback rides through the wilderness and set up camp wherever you please. You can buy properties and rent properties. You can collect wild flowers. There are all sorts of varied challenges and side missions. There are random strangers with thier own stories. You can wipe out gang hideouts and loot all the criminal corpses for cash. You can go treasure hunting or try to complete some of the hunting challenges. You can duel random yellow-bellies in towns and you can buy shots at the bar. You can help someone being robbed, tie up the robber and leave him on the train tracks. There is so much to do I have only scratched the surface. Multiplayer is fun too and I like the free roam more than any of the other game types. In multiplayer you can also choose a character, weapon loadout, title and mount. The more you play the more you unlock better weapons, mounts and characters.
Overall this game is definitely a 10/10 must buy. I think the Wild West is absolutely awesome and it is so much fun to play a video game where you can act out all your Wild West fantasies. I think the thing that really separates this game from other sandbox/open world games is the level of interactivity. Lot of sandbox games are huge and beautiful yet empty and limited in what you can do. Red Dead Redemption is a perfect example of a living breathing sandbox game that is not empty but truly full, organic and above all FUN. No game is perfect but this is as close as it gets.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/27/10
Game Release: Red Dead Redemption (US, 05/18/10)
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