Red Dead Redemption
There is just something about the old west
that inspires different feelings in people. Be it awe, or romanticism of
an era. It was a dangerous time, a mind boggling time of expansions into
a vast country, from wilderness forts and trapper camps on to boom towns
that rose up from nothingness. Yes, there is something about the old
west of myth and legend that is ripe, full of potential stories and a
well spring of gaming potential. There have been a few stabs at the old
west, or western genre, though very few have even come close to being a
satisfying rendition of the times.
Rockstar took a swing at it with the original Red Dead Revolver, a half
developed game from Capcom. They brought the game to some
respectability. Now with Red Dead Redemption we get an open world filled
with that last of the old west atmosphere. Even in the vastness of the
land there is the feel of a living world. The game designers have hit
things dead bang here in the openness of the plains, the hills and
buildings , horses , everything brings a look into a wold during a turn
of the page in history.
With a tale that gives an unblinking eye
towards characters in a re- imagining mix of history and western
fiction, Rockstar has set a high standard for what an immersive
interactive gaming experience should be. While the basic open world
mission structure is still there, just like one of their other famous
franchises...you never really have to play the main mission to have a
blast. There are so may side things to do. Granted it's a formula that
Rockstar has used to great effect, though with Red Dead Redemption it
feels like there is more to do than before. At one instant you can
decide to just go hunting and rack up some pelts and meat to sell. Go on
bounty hunting missions, or while away some time playing cards, decide
on weather to watch events unfold or take a hand in the fate of the
characters around you. Leave them to what ever plays out, or save them.
Side missions and challenges, the concept is nothing new to the gaming
It's been beautifully implemented here, it make it feel bright and new
like a shiny gold nugget. The classic “do this for me to get this from
me” kind of missions may have some players crying “fools gold!” While
some of the errand missions can become a bore, the delivery is so well
done you tend not to notice really. A simple thing like shooting a bird
can trigger shooting challenges. The game world makes it feel like there
are endless possibilities.
Rockstar San Diego filled the world with over 30 different species, both
domestic and wild. Hunting and skinning critters is a part of the game
that works out perfectly and nets the player some cash when taking the
meat and pelts into towns to sell off. It's a simple system,but a rock
solid system. That mirrors that frontier life and gives the player a
little taste of what it was like, even in it's stylized way. Rockstar
put a lot in the game, giving players plenty of bang for their buck as
the saying goes.
Through out the game there are various challenges to be had to keep
things from coming a total bore in the vastness of nothingness that is
the west. These side missions and interactions are plentiful and enough
to create a much needed diversion from just driving on through the game
to it's ultimate and inevitable showdown end.
Unless you have been living out on the
frontier already... thanks to the press storm you may already know the
hero of our western tale. Mr. John Marston. Our hero is a partially
reformed outlaw, who finally after several years with a vicious outlaw
gang, wanted to carve out a more peaceful future for himself. Now with a
new family the last thing he would be thinking of was the past coming
back to haunt him and threaten all that he holds dear. One day the
bureau pay Marston a visit, take his family into custody and force him
to track down his old gang. The point? To bring the old gang members to
The romp back into the old days is tinged with the wonders of advancing
history. The new is nudging away the old ways of life in the wilds of
the west. Marston's adventure stretches across three huge territories.
New Austin, which is a frontier kind of area. Southward across the
raging river into the Mexican border lands of Nuevo Paraiso, and also in
the Northwest and West Elizabeth, this area is becoming the template for
what is to be modern American cities.
Traveling through the areas, players may be pleasantly surprised by the
the regional culture differences that are represented so well. The world
does not feel static at all, life goes on around the player and dynamic
events take place. Be those animal attacks, hold ups of stage coaches or
hangings, raids, robberies or even something as simple as some one
playing fetch with a dog. The most spectacular thing about all this is
the re-playability possibilities here. Players can choose to take sides
in these events. Either by helping the victims, or even assisting the
outlaws. So have a go through the game as a n Angel, then have a go
through as The Badman. See how the game plays out.
What the player does in the world has a
baring on how the characters in that world react to them. Honor can go
up or down depending on how the player behaves. Saving travelers or
ranchers from bandits, capturing a criminal alive rather than dead
increases the player characters honor. Players can of course take the
low road and rob, murder and pillage across the land and their honor
will drop like a stone.
Honor has far reaching effects on the game and interaction during the
game, shopkeepers, the common folk or law enforcement responds
differently depending on how high or low the player characters honor is.
Honor can fluctuate during the game, fame on the other hand only
increases with everything the player character does. Word spreads of the
characters deeds or miss-deeds. This opens up new opportunities. Either
folks will be knowing the character name and saying a kind “Howdy Mr.
Marston.” or if it's a bad rep perhaps they may be challenging Mr.
Marston to a duel.
John Marston has a bit of an edge that helps him stay alive in this
dangerous world. Call it bullet time, time freeze, so many other novel
titles. For red Dead Redemption it's called the Dead Eye Targeting
System. It slows down the world around the player in order for them to
pull off some pretty amazing shots, including taking out multiple
Red Dead Redemption uses a customized
hybrid of both Euphoria Physics and the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine,
developed by Rockstar San Diego for this title. Other titles in
Rockstar's catalog have benefited from this game engine since then. We
can see it in Midnight Club Los Angeles, as well as Grand Theft Auto IV.
Every character be it human, or animal all react more life like thanks
to this game engine.
One of the things may of us here at Impulse Gamer U.S.A. Where wanting
to see, where how well the horses handle. How they looked how they
reacted. The horse especially was a huge part of the times. Rockstar did
pretty darn well with it. The horses look and react amazingly. We where
a little let down that you can't get your horse to back up. Though that
is more of a thing you train a horse to do. For Red Dead Redemption the
horses turn around , they cannot be made to back up. The natural
locomotion of horses is very well done. Rockstar seems to excel in
research, and implementation of their finding show in their games. The
natural gaits of horses is represented in the game, those being (In
order of increasing speeds) Walk, Trot, Canter, and Gallop. Granted that
in some horses various other speeds may happen naturally in some horses,
those basic natural gaits take place all across horse breeds. From
riding a horse, to driving a wagon, the horses in Red Dead Redemption
are very realistic representations of how the horse moves in real life.
Well done Rockstar, well done.
Voice acting, some may think is a small
part of a game. Voice acting is something that either get's a player
into the world, or worse...never let's them enter the world or the story
that's trying to be told there. Never doubt, voice acting, is actual
acting not just making funny voices. It's a skill that takes some time
to cultivate. To deliver those lines like they are the most natural
thing. To feel it and convey it, to make that character a living
breathing being. Rockstar has always seemed to cast dead bang on in
their titles. The high quality expected and delivered across the board.
So it is, with Red Dead Redemption. Each character brings about a
different quality to the world, each characters point of view to the
world relayed through the voice. All of the voice acting here makes it a
believable world. The cast is huge and would not be practical to list
them all, just take a look in the back of the manual and appreciate what
they bring to this title. As well as the dialogue director Rod Edge, no
small thing to orchestrate it all together into a artistic piece of
entertainment that relays the look and feel of what the script and story
are going for.
This holds true also for the sound track, from the classic old west
sounds some are used to from films, to simple lead in's and character
specific themes. Red Dead Redemption's sound track brings on the feeling
and depth to the visuals that play out in front of us.
The single player experience is masterful,
it does not end there. In Red Dead Redemption, it's a Free Roam world, a
lot like the single player experience. Only characters running and
gunning around are thinking people. With a mother load of multiplayer
game types spread through out the world...players can jump into any of
these game types at any time. Rather than a typical game lobby players
get together in Free Roam and form up posses. It's all interactive and
all a blast.
Along with co-operative play there is of course the competitive
multiplayer experience with various game types. From the standard team
death match, and deathmatch free for all, and a western twist kind of
capture the flag...only with a bag of gold. It's a big world and
Rockstar delivers it up for our gaming pleasure.
Like any game there are bound to be a few graphical anomalies, some
clipping here and there takes place which is no big deal. This happens
with the Xbox 360 versions and PS3 versions. I did have a crash with the
360 version that took place twice, when challenged to a dual. Stepping
up to the X to start the dual, the game crashed to a dark screen and
would not recover. The event could not be duplicated. On other game bug
that took place was during a story mission with the sheriff of
Armadillo, this story mission was well written and well executed with
plenty of tactical choices for this hostage situation...but the second
time trying it (After a hostage was killed) the hostage was killed
again...but the game would not reset the mission. All the NPC characters
stood in place not moving, waiting for me to do something more....but
the bad guys and a hostage was already dead. So I had to set my self
afire by shooting a lantern and died....then the mission restarted and I
completed it. I did re try this a couple more times but could not
duplicate the bug again.
(I'll say one thing, that scripting and the way Rockstar designed that
mission...with the hostages and the bad guys and so many tactical
choices, made me know that Rockstar could pull off a Police or SWAT kind
of game and nail it very well. Drool , Drool.)
The over all look of Red Dead Redemption seems pretty much the same
across the two platforms. Our U.S staff tended more towards the 360
version, the colors seemed to pop more for some reason and also the game
can go up to 1080P for the Xbox 360 version, where is as the PS3 is in
720P. Performance and looks aside, it really comes down to player
preference as to what version they would like to get. How many of your
friends have which platform so you can team up and have a blast in
How ever you go, either with the Xbox360 or PS3 version. Red Dead
Redemption is more than just some basic concepts with a new coat of
paint. Standing on it's own two feet, with out comparing it to anything
else from Rockstar's past games...(Because of course something years
later sure as heck should be better.).....Red Dead Redemption is a
stellar game. Such a basic concept brought to quality heights by the sum
of it's pieces and how they mesh together. Sure some of the acts and
side missions may smack of representativeness, but there is enough there
to balance it out to a truly enjoyable gaming experience.
Have fun, play games
United States Editor