Red Dead Redemption Review
publisher: Rockstar Games
developer: Rockstar Games
|ESRB rating: M
release date: May 18, 10
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Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Revolver was a fine shooter (though I remember it vaguely). It's not necessarily one of those games that could make you desperate for a sequel. While Rockstar San Diego is certainly known for making decent games in the past, they still carry the responsibility of living up to the work of fellow developer Rockstar North (they made that little thing called GTA). With the success of Grand Theft Auto IV, ever echoing behind us, and with the prospect of GTA V looming, Rockstar San Diego faces its greatest challenge yet with Red Dead Redemption, the development studio's latest Western-themed open-world action adventure.
During the early 1900's, the era of the cowboy was slowly coming to an end. In a modern world, various technological advancements such as automobiles started to creep in. Rockstar's story casts players into such a time. Ex-outlaw John Marston is sent across the American frontier by two federal agents, with orders to locate members of his former gang. Trying to bury his troublesome past, Marston rides through the desolate plains of America and Mexico, in search of his old companions who are scattered throughout the land siding with vicious bounty hunters and other ruthless villains. It is a time of great upheaval and disorder, with state and local authorities barely managing to keep order.
Marston is a very cool guy. Sworn to discover what's become of his former posse members, Marston rides through the wilds, doing his best to achieve this goal and, of course, trying to stay alive in a cruel and unforgiving world.
In such a tough and relentless environment, you can be tough and relentless yourself. So, how exactly will Marston carry out his task? That's up to the player. Although the main story runs its course, there are numerous moral choices to be made almost every step of the way. Each deed you perform mirrors the main character and the stories surrounding him. Townsfolk, riders and travelers either address you politely and talk about how brave you were or they'll flee in terror because they've heard of the dreadful crimes and misdemeanors that are left in your trail. Again, it's up to you what type of moral structure will be given to the character. Each bad deed results in a decrease of honor points. Fame points, on the other hand, will increase regardless of how you accomplish each mission. Of course, being good doesn't mean everyone will worship and admire you. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you are a well-known gunslinger, other outlaws and gun-happy citizens often challenge you to duels. The duels are straightforward and are over very quickly. It doesn't take too long to get the hang of it. Pretty soon you'll be winning duels with ease.
I had to drag him into this.
There's a good horsey.
The duels are just one of the many well-placed sidetracks in a truly vast game. You can always take the time to earn some extra cash and go bounty hunting. In other words, search for whoever managed to get his face stuck on the latest "Wanted" poster. Killing a wanted criminal brings you cash, but you'll earn even more if you lasso the poor bastard and drag him back to a nice a cozy prison cell. In addition, there's a variety of entertaining mini-games to take part in such as playing poker, five finger fillet, liar dice, horseshoes and so on. Each cute little game adds to the overall experience and gives players a chance to have a break from the main story. This is but a taste of the game. There's really a lot to do everywhere you go. Each task is rewarding, either bringing Honor or Fame points, or just unlocking weapons, items and other extras.
Chasing bounty hunters or going after various forms of wild life isn't easy and you'll need to proper weaponry and additional items. Numerous shops and traders can help you with this. They sell everything from weapons, ammo, maps and other useful items.
Gunplay has two variants. When the action starts, players can choose to test their reflexes by shooting enemies in normal mode or by using the Dead-Eye power (an effective bullet-time sharp-shooter mode that allows you to slowly pick and take out your targets and then execute several concurrent shots).
Most of the time, the game hurls you into a mix of intense gun fights and cool events such as train robberies and even taking part in a massive revolution that kicks off in Mexico. The mission variety, as is Rockstars tradition, has been skillfully woven into a well-written storyline with interesting characters and occasional humor. For that, Rockstar San Diego gets two thumbs up. Not only is this worthy of carrying Rockstar's name, but it even surpasses what Rockstar North did in its GTA franchise, where the plot and characterization always maintained a more mature outlook.
This is the Wild West in all its savage beauty, a coherent well-written storyline with plenty of interesting characters, the developers poured their heart and soul into their work, the is a game mustn't miss out on, engaging multiplayer;
Bugs here and there, AI acts weird and confused on occasion.