Sunday, September 17, 2000

Red Dead Redemption | 10

From the team that brought you Grand Theft Auto, you are now thrown head long into a wild west adventure. You control John Marston. This game is set in the desert in 1911 (same year as my favorite .45 was made). You are somewhere near the Mexico border. John was a criminal that ticked off many people in his past and now has to atone for what he did. People come out of the woodwork either as his friends or enemies.

My play experience:
On the PS3 the graphics are really sharp and crisp. The textures, the ambiance all bring the wild west to your home living room.

In recent years there have been games that have tried to capture the essence of the western genre. For example Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood which on the surface was a pretty good game, it however was not a very good story. In COJ the main characters are brothers that are ex-confederate soldiers. The story never really grabs hold and to be honest I never finished COJ. The story in Red Dead Redemption is done so well that it never feels pushed or contrived. Instead its done like an old western movie. Its gritty and a world that beckons you back time and time again.

For now let me discuss the cool features:

Horses: +
I think they put a horse into a motion capture room and had him run around. In Assassins Creed II the horse was a good way to get from town to town and the motion was pretty real. In Red Dead Redemption its super smooth an you feel like your out exploring the desert on a horse with no name... Kick your horse too much to get him to chase down that coach, you could be looking at a wild ride as he tries to buck you off. The longer you keep 1 horse the more stamina and other abilities it gets.
EDIT: I see they actually DID use a live horse to make the motion capture. It shows.

You can also ride stage coaches and trains. Or rob them, its up to you. See gameplay below.

Gunfighting: +
You are a real gunslinger in this game. To get prepped to get it I watched Young Guns [Blu-ray] and a couple of other westerns. This game matches the combat of say GTA and COD. Where you shoot someone matters, and it can affect your character in different ways too. Some of my opponents are gonna have a limp for a while at least.

Atmosphere: +
There are critters running all over as you ride through the desert landscape. It feels dusty, makes me want to wear a bandanna as I play. When you get low on cash you can kill and skin critters for a few coin. There are actually many ways that you can earn money in this game besides being a hard criminal.

World: +
So far its just massive. I can only compare it to the run from Commonlands to Qeynos in EQ. It seems to be fully explorable and I have found very few places I couldn't go. It really is huge. I have seen that someone said it was the biggest world ever done in a Rockstar game. Which is impressive considering that those games can go on forever. The land is great in that it hardly ever repeats as you ride. Matter of fact I haven't seen any textures or vistas that look the same. Maybe there are but they are so far apart that you wont notice it. An example of this is the train ride into the mountains in Uncharted 2.

Towns: +
Unlike GTA you wont have a huge city to run around. Out west these were small settlements and usually had only a couple of hundred people in them. Think about all the old wild west movies you have seen where there is maybe 10 shops and a few houses in the town directly. The way they did the towns is very endearing, because it makes it an immersion type of game experience.

Poker: +
I love the side games. I have lost my fair share of my real money playing poker and now I can do this in game too.

Gameplay options: +
You can be the good guy or be a down right criminal. The game system supports either mode and varying degrees in between. This allows RDR to be more than just a shooter, but more like an RPG. Be careful who you pull your gun on. If you do it in town you can start something that will ultimately lower your honor.

Controls: +/-
The controls are a bit different here and do take some time to figure out. But any game can be that way. If you go from say a driving game to a shooter you might hit the wrong buttons once and a while. After playing this for nearly 2 days solid now and not switching to other games in between, I have totally become comfortable with the controlling scheme.

Multiplayer: NA
I do not enjoy multiplayer shooters. I am really no good at it so I tend to not play it much or at all. That being said I jumped in a couple of games and it was ok. If your a hard core multiplayer person please check other reviews for this. I would not do it justice because I tend to be jaded with regard to multiplayer games.

Replayability:

I am almost done and I can see where I would have like to do something different in the way I played this. That being said, I think that I could go back through and try it again maybe being a bit evil this time. For that I think that this is a game you could play over and over, adjust the story line, and enjoy it each time you did.

Summary:
This game is really appealing if:
A. You enjoy GTA type of game play, open world and a morality system that challenges you.
B. Fan of westerns and cowboy movies. If you hate them and think they are silly then you probably wouldnt enjoy this.

If you are A+B then this game is a hands down favorite pick to have in your PS3 arsenal.
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Some Tips: (no spoilers)
I have almost 30 hours into this game and I am not done. I do goof around alot and like to go hunting and see what other mischief I can get into. Playing poker for 3 hours doesnt hurt either. That being said I want to drop some tips in to help those of you still waiting or are looking.

Horses:
1. Dont get to attached to your horse. Think of them like a car, reason being there are tons of ways they can die. From random mountain lions, to getting shot by the enemy to you shooting them in the back of the head on accident when wolves are attacking (sorry skippy :( )
2. When going in to attack a gang leave your horse way back and run up. When you have hog tied your bad guy you can whistle ^ arrow and he will run back over to you.
3. If you buy a horse the deed is in your bag, click it to call your horse back from the dead. (thanks S.L.V)

Gambling:
Like in real life its alot about luck so go in with the thought you'll do 1 buy in and when that money is gone leave, go kill some stuff and come back later. Your hands may improve

Time:
1. Pausing the game with the start button will show what time it is. Saving the game gives you 6 hours of rest. If you like shopping be sure you go to bed no later than 3am. Then when you get back up the stores will all be open, and you can go out and have a blast.

Camp:
Camp whenever you have a long ride ahead of you. As long as you have bought a map you can go to that place from your campground. Once in your campground you can select where to go without having to burn up the 6 hours of sleep. Then after it loads you will be at your destination. Good stuff.

Thats it for now. If I figure out any more lil tidbits Ill share them here with you. Have fun, it really is a great game.

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