I was a little behind on playing Red Dead Redemption, but when I finally played it, I was glad I had. One of the initial reasons why I avoided such a game is I seem to have a problem with games that take place in desert/post apocalyptic settings. I believe that it stems from my hatred of the eight hour car ride from L.A. to Phoenix through the desert. Hey, check that out! There’s another cactus. Was never a huge fan of western movies either. Back to the Future Part 3 was my least favorite of the trilogy, but nonetheless still awesome. So because of this hatred of big open boring places with lots of dirt and sand, I could not get into games like Borderlands or Fallout 3. Not to shamelessly plug this site, but after hearing the Cursed talk so highly of Red Dead Redemption, I caved in and bought it.
That’s A Lot of Horse Ridin’
The game really is huge. There are tons of things to do, and it will take you quite a while to get through them, which always helps me justify paying 60 bucks for a game. This sandbox game gets a several things right that others have not. The first that stood out was the random events. In your journey through this game you are given a choice between being a hero, or a dick. To help you earn points for either option, there are little random events that occur as you are riding around. These include getting back someone’s stolen horse or wagon, giving someone a ride into town, hunting down an escaped convict, preventing a hangin’, etc. After seeing these I immediately thought of the first Assassin’s Creed and how, in every city, there was always the same side quests to accomplish. Pickpocket 5 people, assassinate small frys, recruit gangs to help you out, etc. No variety, always in predictable locations, and never catching you off guard.
This game has a ton of dialogue. I admit that I didn’t sit through all of it, but it didn’t really get on my nerves. The characters were so bizarre that most of the time its fun to watch. When you start a mission, on your horse ride over to the event, the dialogue is random, but reveals some interesting nuggets of information about the main character. Most of the characters you interact with are shady or clinically insane so I would recommend you take the time to enjoy the cut scenes.
Hey Partner, How Bout You Pay Me
There’s lot of little way’s to earn money in the game. Every time you kill someone you always have the option of looting their carcass, but shortly into the game you will realize its not the best way to make a living. There’s tons of adorable little animals for you to shoot, trample, and skin. One of the few negative things I have to say about the game is having to watch a short cut scene every time you loot a body or skin an animal. However, if you put up with it, skinning animals is one of the 10 part challenges that leads to an unlock. Another way you can earn some money is playing games. In each town there’s a variety of games you can play like poker, liars dice, five finger fillet, and black jack.
You’re a Deadeye, Sir
Other things that are fun to do include taming wild horses, unlocking new weapons, and completing tasks to unlock new outfits. Who would want to enter Mexico without a sexy poncho? If you are feeling a bit evil, lasso someone from your horse and drag them as you ride off. If you are really feeling evil, hogtie a little lady and leave her on the train tracks. Stick around to watch the carnage and you’ll earn yourself an achievement.
Dead eye had to be one of my favorite things. When you are in dead eye mode, time slows down in a sort of matrix bullet time kind of way, which allows you to carefully line up your shots. This kind of accuracy allows you to get a perfect head shot, disarm your attacker, or shoot the hat off your opponent. It also allows you to target multiple enemies or animals.
I have to say that despite the boring aspect of the deserts, the environments were really quite beautiful. As a 3d artist, I really admired the work that went into the lighting and landscaping. Mexico’s landscape was very red with interesting rock formations that acted as great landmarks. The last area was particularly cool. Snowy mountains, open plains, and pissed off Native Americans. I only wished I was able to ride a buffalo.
One last note, if you think you’ve reached the end of the game, you haven’t. Happy shootin’ partners.
This review only represents the single player portion of the game.
Giant Bomb (Images)