Review by Ironblade16
"The Definition of the West"
Rockstar is the definition of the sandbox genre, creating fully realized worlds where you can go anywhere, do anything. For years, they've been doing this with Grand Theft Auto, creating a dark and gritty underworld of crime. Now, they have decided to explore a new era, branching away from modern times to the Wild West. In this game, you play as ex-outlaw John Marston, on a quest to redeem himself and save his family. This simple premise becomes so much more, and this game becomes a masterpiece of a tale. This is the authentic Western game, and I'm not sure if the game industry has seen a better Western game in the entirety of video game history.
This game puts you in the role of John Marston, an ex-outlaw tasked by the Federal Bureau to hunt down the remaining members of his old gang. If he fails, they will murder his family. He has no choice but to take them up on their offer, and do what they ask. For the fifteen hour campaign, you embark on a grand adventure across the American West and Mexico, meeting many friends and enemies along the way. And that is where the game's plot really shines; in the characters. They are beautifully realized and have their own flaws and beliefs. John Marston is an amazingly realized protagonist and the supporting characters are just as good. This is expanded with a superb voice cast, a staple of Rockstar's games. However, issues do arise. Several character's voices are less than stellar, and John seems to eager to accept any task offered to him, so it kind of makes the plot a little odd at times.
It all winds down to an explosive conclusion that might just be one of the best video game endings ever. It's shocking and captivating, and full of sorrow at the same time. Ready yourselves. So, to sum it all up, the plot is fantastic with only small issues marring an otherwise perfect plot.
Graphically, this game is beautiful. If you want it to look even better, I suggest you purchase a high definition television. It really makes a huge difference; hell, the graphics might be some of the best this generation. The character models are realistic looking, and the environments are wonderful to look at. It is surprising they can make a bland desert look so damn good. From the waves of sand to the small touches, it really seems like you are actually in the Wild West. They pyshics in game are as real as it gets, bumping into someone will cause them to stumble backwards or fall over, and jumping out of a stagecoach or train going full speed might cause a lot of rolling and bumping; or death, possibly.
For a lot of the game, you will be trekking long distances by horse, so it is good Rockstar ensured that you didn't experience a sense of lifelessness. The entire world seems alive, cowboys and travelers will rush on by on their horses and stagecoaches, birds will fly over head, and animals will search for their prey. To spice things up even further, you will encounter many random events such as a wagon being attacked by bandits, or an innocent traveler being hounded by wolves. Of course, you don't have to help them; you can even assist the bandits in some situations. In town, you can see shopkeepers advertising their wares, and in the saloon, men drink beer and prostitutes advertise their "services".
Of course, in the Wild West, you can't go anywhere without your weapons. You will be fighting many adversaries in this game, such as bandits all the way to the the Mexican Army. As such, the game needs a solid combat system, and it is provided. Rockstar brings back the duck and cover system from Grand Theft Auto 4, allowing you to take cover behind almost anything. From then, you can carefully take out your enemies. The game's shooting system makes it too easy sometimes, though. The crosshair has an "auto-follow" ability or something, I don't know exactly what it is called. Anyways, when aiming, the crosshair seems to follow your enemies, automatically finding the nearest enemy and placing your reticule as near as possible. A good amount of time, it gets it just right, allowing you to pop off a couple shots and nail your opponent. To spice things up even more, the game has a Dead Eye feature, which allows you to slow down time and carefully pick out a target or line up targets, marking specific body parts. Overall, the combat system is solid, but a little TOO easy.
The sounds in the game are superb, from the gunshots to the clomping of hooves, they sound realistic. You can hear the creaking of bridges as you trod across, or the bumping of the stagecoach as it traverses bumpy roads. The background music is very entertaining as well, a mix of tunes. In Mexico, the background music becomes perfect for the lifeless desert there. All of the music seems to enhance the mood of an outlandish and lonely land, and it works. Once again, voice acting is superb most of the time, and really breathes life into the characters, enhancing the overall experience.
Of course, you can't wonder the deserts and such without things to do. There are all sorts of activities that you can partake in to make the West seem more realistic. You can hunt animals, keeping yourself quiet as you lay bait and hide in the hills, your trusty sniper rifle ready. As soon as the deer emerge from their hiding places, you pull the trigger, ending its fragile life. From your hiding spot nestled in the hills, you jump down and skin the animal; selling the meat and other items to the local market. As you will learn, there are a ton of things to keep you busy, such as bounty hunting, and playing all sorts of minigames such as Poker or Blackjack. There all sorts of extra missions, such as assisting a pregnant women in earning money to start a home, or searching for a child taken by cannibals. The possibilities never end.
The multiplayer allows you to roam the game-world, teaming up with other players and taking part in all sorts of diversions, such as taking out gang hideouts or just shooting each other in the face. From the free roam, you can partake in other game modes, such as Shootout and Grab the Bag. As you complete various tasks and challenges, you gain experience points and level up, receiving all sorts of outfits and weapons. Overall, the multiplayer is enjoyable and adds a lot of replayibility to this already lengthy game.
Overall, this an excellent game that deserves to be played by everyone. It has a realistic atmosphere, a beautiful story, and a lot of action and diversions that allow you to enhance your game experience. After you complete the single player game, you can go online or stay in single player, finishing tasks and such. This is an extremely enjoyable game, and I hope everyone enjoys it. Go Play It. Now.
A Masterpiece of a Game: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/11/10
Game Release: Red Dead Redemption (US, 05/18/10)
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