Review by weapon_d00d816

"Good enough for a movie, but not for a game."

My experience with Red Dead Redemption has been full of ups and downs. While I enjoy the roaming experience and interesting setting, things like annoying controls and a bad multiplayer make me think twice about rating this above a 7.5.

-Story and Setting-
The end of the Wild West was a good choice for setting as it combines pre-war tech with the classic themes we've all been accustomed to. That's about as much as I can say about the setting. The story is less than average and jumps around. You aren't really in on what's going on until the later parts of the game. There are a few twists and turns, but nothing very plot-driven. It all sums up in a more exciting but disappointing ending.

There is no shortage of things to do, yet they all seem like distractions from what's really going on. The main missions are at first confusing to figure out. Where do you go? Which one is a main mission? Why can't the cattle just behave? But the main thing that bugs me is how there is little combat and the majority of your play hours are spent on cutscenes and horse-travel. It makes for a great movie, but a less than great video game. Somehow

Simply a complicated mess. There is little structure to the free-roam mode online and its reason for existence is questionable. If you want to mess around, campaign mode's free-roam is much better. The trouble is with the gameplay and controls. They were set up for campaign and work quite terribly in multiplayer matches. People are near-impossible to kill with rifles and taking cover is a sure way to get screwed over by flankers. The cover system is buggy, slow, and unresponsive, but I guess I'm just spoiled from playing Gears of War's perfect cover system.

-Artwork, Design, etc.-
To give you a good feel of that old western noir, you need good artwork. Redemption delivers (for the most part). I love the environment design. Dry expanses of land and cacti; termite-ridden wooden towns and dusty trails. It has what you expect. The animations for your character are quite realistic, as are the way you interact with most things. One thing that brings me down are the weapons' details. You don't get to see them much, other than when they're on your back. There are no empty shell animations, except for on the Gatling gun and Maxim machine gun. And they don't always seem to be doing what they're supposed to; like non-lever-action rifles doing the animation for a lever-action repeater when in certain stances.

Its underlying gameplay (or more accurately its combat) is pretty bad, but it has some detailed options laid out for you, such as: lassoing an unsuspecting traveler, mugging people and fist fighting, horseback combat, or just straight-up gunfighting. I think what makes this game halfway decent is how detailed minor actions are. If you point a gun at them, they either run, give up their money, or bring out their gun. If you punch them, they fight back or cower. If you shoot up the place, lawmen come and get'cha. And if you lasso a cougar, bring it into town, and unleash its furry fury upon the townsfolk, they...well...get mauled. For an analytical person such as myself, these things are what bring me to liking this game. If not for these, the gameplay would not sustain the game at all.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/30/10

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

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