Where is the sequel to this game?
Red Dead Redemption is one of the best games ever made. Period.
I have poured 100s of hours into this game. Maybe even thousands. I’m pretty sure this game is the reason I was tired for all of 2010. My brother bought this game. And then I took it over. The basement became my zone. I would come home, go downstairs, emerge for dinner, and go downstairs again.
This game is a masterpiece. As close to perfect as a game can get. The game is an open world action drama set in the wild west. It is so hard to get a wild west game right. In fact Red Dead Redemption (or RDR) is the only game off the top of my head that I enjoyed in that setting. It creates the environment (I live in what would be the west, but then northern) and what I imagine the atmosphere would be.
As to be expected with Rockstar the world is huge and full of great details. The game is not linear. Meaning you can do things at your own pace and almost your own order. Like most Rockstar games there are a few choke points in the game, where you have to do a certain mission to continue the story. But that is not a bad thing. It gives that mission a feeling of importance.
You play as John Marston, a former outlaw who is forced to do one last mission (where have we seen this before) to save his family. The government has kidnapped your wife and son. They need you to hunt down your former gang. Left with no other choice you must kill 3 if your former brothers.
The way you do this is up to you. You can join the sherrif and his posse. Hunting down outlaws and protecting the citizens. Or you can go get drunk at the bar and shoot everyone and everything. There is also the quiet loner option. Where you sneak around the untamed wilderness killing people and helping others.
There is no right way to play it.
As the game progresses you learn more of John Marsons past. And you get a hand in deciding his future. His family is lovely and made me want to save them. The characters are usually complicated characters. Of course, as expected from Rockstar, there are some black and white cliches. But for the most part you see good character development, and tough decisions.
The setting was a major selling point of RDR. When it first came out people thought it was GTA but in the west. And for the most part that is kind of true. But the setting is such a big change that it doesn’t even feel the same at all. Obviously the buildings are all in western style, the clothing. All that fun stuff.
But more tricky to get is the atmosphere. The way characters talk and think. It can be tough to transport a player into your world. But Rockstar nailed it. You feel like a tough, grizzled cowboy in a tough world. Life is hard here. And you notice it. You notice the way people flock to the bar. The way everyone has a gun. The coyotes at night. The way people talk.
One of the best environments ever created.
This is the reason we play games. For the gameplay. So does the gameplay align itself with the setting?
The guns feel great. Even with the old school guns and less variety then nowadays. The bolt actions feel great. The handle pump weapons are sweet. And headshots are appropriate in that they do extra damage. In fact if you nail a headshot you can instantly drop that enemy. But headshots are also tricky to land.
There is so much variety. As is typical of Rockstar it is a huge game. Well worth your hard earned $60 (now it is $17). For this review I found my version of the game and popped it into my Xbox One (it is backwards compatible). The game holds up well. The graphics aren’t as good as today (to be expected) but the gameplay is still solid. In fact, the gameplay is better then most of the games coming out this year. It is a full game.
Even on my third (or fourth) playthrough the game still took me about 18 hours to finish. That’s just the main story. I did none of the extras or just goofed off. Its a massive game. Think GTA V massive.
There are lots of things to do. Horse racing, getting drunk, finding hookers, hunting, general killing etc. My personal favourite is to get drunk and then get in a shootout with the bar. Its like raising the difficulty level. So entertaining.
As the game progresses you move through different locales. As you switch areas you also switch between enemies and fighting styles. The American westerners are loud mouthed aggressive big guys. These guys are likely to have the biggest baddest guns. But they also fight smart and back off.
The Mexicans are just as loud mouthed and aggressive. But they tend to be smaller. They make up for the size in aggression and speed. While not having the best equipment they will not stop attacking until you are dead.
Who is this game for?
This game is for people who love a good story. Those who want to play a game at their own pace. Do their own things. And anyone who likes Westerns. And anyone who likes open world games. This game has a little bit for everyone.
For me, the most compelling aspect of the game is the story and the setting. The gameplay backs up those 2 experiences.
An open world game done right.