Review by LegalDeagles77

"The Day the West Was Redeemed. . ."

I'll be the first to admit: I was a bit skeptical about Red Dead Redemption. I've only played one other Rockstar game before and that was Grand Theft Auto 4. I wasn't sure if Rockstar could pull out the amazing stops they did in GTA4 in a western themed setting.

Boy, was I wrong.

Red Dead Redemption (henceforth RDR) is an amazingly crafted work of art from Rockstar. The game lets you step into the leathered soles of John Marston, a relic of an almost forgotten past. Marston, an outlaw in a previous life, is trying to live a simple life out on a ranch with his wife Abigail and his son Jack in 1911.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard for Marston. When his wife and son are kidnapped by a secret federal agency, he is forced to track down the men he used to run with in the gang. Let the fun begin. . .

STORY: 10/10
Anyone who paid attention to the story in GTA4 will tell you how amazing it was. The use of various themes ranging from morality to the death of the free spirit and much more are present in RDR. Rockstar really did an amazing job with the story. The story reminded me of waves on the ocean, and how they reach a peak and then drop down. There is ever present tension building up to the climax of an act, and then it drops to let the action build up again. This happens repeatedly throughout the game and it really splits the game up into manageable bits. Rockstar built up the game to the climax of the game, which for spoiler reasons I won't say, but I will tell you that I am still in shock and awe over. The ending to RDR is one of the greatest gaming moments I've ever had in my life, and that says a lot.

The gameplay of RDR consists of doing missions for various people in true Rockstar fashion. The missions felt truly varied and I never really saw the same type of missions repeated. The open worlds of Nuevo Paradiso and New Austin are really chock full of things to see and do, which says a lot about the desert. One of the things I was skeptical about in RDR was that since the game is in the West, how would the actual desert be? Well to answer that, the desert is amazingly rich in things to do. You can hunt, save or plunder towns, do bounty hunter missions for cash, search for treasure, take on gang hideouts, play poker and other table games, break in new horses, ride the train to new destinations, and much much more.

Marston controls really well in the game, except for a few things I noticed in my travels. He runs considerably slower than Niko Bellic did in GTA4. This is a minor disadvantage, though it can suck if you're hunting and can't outrun a bear. But luckily that's why you have guns in the game! The radial menu for picking out weapons is easy to use, though if you're in combat and need to switch to another type of weapon (example: one pistol to a revolver) the controls are awkward with the D-pad on the Xbox 360 version.

Rolling plains and desert mesas look extremely good in RDR. Character models look great as well. I could easily pick out scars that stand out on people and individual wrinkles on people. Grass is still grass and looks two dimensional. Unfortunately, the score has to be brought down by the glitches. I'm not sure if it is my copy or if others have had it happen, but sometimes I stop running and freeze in place ingame. This was a minor inconvenience on the road, but I was furious when it happened during some missions too.

WEAPONS: 9/.10
Yes, there needed to be a separate section for weapons. Let me just start by saying that there are a LOT of weapons in RDR. All of them are period authentic, meaning that they were around for the game's setting. Over the course of the game, Marston goes from using revolvers and lever-action rifles to more modern guns like bolt action rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and semi-automatic pistols (like the Mauser or Luger). You even get molotov coktails, dynamite sticks and throwing knives, in addition to the trusty lasso. The change in weaponry reflects the changing times in the game and really helps compliment the story. Of course, the real star of the weapons is the Dead Eye meter. Dead Eye lets you slow down time to place shots wherever you want. Whether you want to disarm a foe, shoot his hat off, or go for the clean head shot to end it all, Dead Eye does it with amazing precision.

RDR is a truly amazing experience. People a decade from now will look back on RDR and say that it was truly amongst the first great western games. It is a contender for game of the year 2010 due to its' amazing story, replay value in varied gameplay, amazing graphics, true period authenticity and good controls. RDR is a game not to be missed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/21/10

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

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