Review by TobiasZeigler

"I may just be a Rockstar convert..."

Now, I'll be honest, up until now I have hated Rockstar's games, finding them crude, nasty and that they do not live up to the high praise that many of them have received from critics. I have never been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, found Bully uninspiring, and played Manhunt for a short while until I felt slightly nauseous at what the game was forcing me to do. I doubted that I would find a Rockstar game that I could enjoy.

All that is changed by Red Dead Redemption.

This game is a true joy to play; almost everything is brushed to near perfection. It is the game that GTAIV should have been.

GAMEPLAY: Red Dead Redemption (RDR for short) shines in the gameplay aspect, with only one or two minor aspects which do not satisfy. They are so small however, that I would not even call them flaws. RDR has many different aspects of gameplay, and something seemingly mundane such as riding around the countryside on a horse is fun enough to be enjoyed by itself. The spur-of-the-moment encounters are also inspired, where you will come across people at random wanting your assistance. It can, however, be disorienting if you run into the same situation several times in a row, such as a robbed stagecoach etc. Also, the cover system in RDR, while being robust and good enough to use, is frustrating at times. Things such as having to leave cover to duck around a corner, or being unable to properly stick to some pieces of cover may be an annoyance at more than one point in the game. Apart from that, gameplay is near perfection. The physics engine is incredible, allowing John Marston and the people in the world around him to feel solid and real.
GAMEPLAY: 9.5/10

SOUND: Perfection in sound. The voice work in this is nothing short of stunning, each character being given a completely different voice actor. The deliver pitch perfect dialogue, with a script that has been written to rival some great movie scripts. The music almost always sets the tone of the section of gameplay you're in, from loud, full orchestras during a battle, to a quiet and sombre few instruments when just riding through the desert. The sound of guns is loud and realistic, and each and every gun has a different sound. The sound of wild animals echoing across the wilderness also greatly sets the tone of the game, from the howling of wolves, to the cries of birds circling overhead, to the sounds of your horse reacting to the animals around it. The sound in this game is superb, matched by almost no other sandboxer.
SOUND: 10/10

STORY: Well told, lengthy, and reasonably original, the story tells of John Marston, sent after the members of a gang he used to ride with by the Wild West equivalent of a corrupt CIA or FBI today; a shady organisation known as The Agency. They have his wife and son, and if he ever wants to see them again, he needs to track down his gang members. Within the first few minutes of the game, he is dumped in the desert then shot. The Wild West wasn't a friendly place... I shall say no more of the storyline though, as I do not want to ruin some stellar moments. The game is well balanced and well paced. And don't let the first few missions put you off, the game picks up speed reasonably quickly. (And grows steadily more fun as the game goes on)
STORY: 9/10

GRAPHICS: Best graphics in any open world game I have ever seen. Clouds roll across the sky, heat haze shimmers over the plains, sun beams peek in between layers of cloud, and sets a golden orange on the horizon. When it rains, the rain pools, creating puddles in the train tracks, and pools of water all over the road. People standing in the rain will be visibly wet, and if you walk through a shallow lake or river, only the clothing which was underwater will appear wet. Gun shots will leave a visible hole in their target, and blood which is spilled on the ground starts off glossy, but gradually dries and darkens in colour.
GRAPHICS: 10/10

GOOD THINGS:
1. Incredible graphics
2. Awesome physics engine (Euphoria engine)
3. Perfect sound
4. Perfect script
5. Guns feel real
6. Good story
7. AWESOME FUN! :D

BAD THINGS:
1. Cover is awkward at times
2. A few glitches and bugs in the game, such as freezes or double character models in some scenes (As of yet I have not encountered any glitches, but several of my friends have)
3. Your horse is stupid. (This is possibly the pettiest gripe I could make, but when a horse thinks its bullet-proof, or that it can swim, you get a little frustrated)

Overall, this game is incredible. A must-buy for any gamer. It is a balanced, compelling, graphically amazing game. Great fun to play. You will probably log somewhere between 15 and 20 hours on the campaign, and as well as that there are oceans of extra stuff to do; bounty hunting, stranger quests, treasure hunting, and heaps of fun little mini games.

Overall score: 9.6/10
NEAR PERFECTION


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/21/10

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


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