Red Dead Redemption
I generally fall in love with Rockstar Games’ releases pretty quickly but I will say that this game set a new benchmark by which all other releases will be measured for me. When I first saw the trailers on TV I knew basically that it was a western and that it had an environment similar to the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, but when I started playing the game I knew that it was something entirely different and fresh. This is the only Rockstar Game that I finished to 100% and spent months on. I loved this game so much that I will not be able to touch on every aspect of it but I will try.
The game is based in the year 1911 in the Wild West with a former gangster named John Marston, who as a punishment for his crimes is forced by US Marshalls to hunt down and kill his former gang. The side plots in the game include robbing and looting places for extra money, gambling, saving people in distress (from getting held up, chased by wild animals) hunting, mastering skills (hunting, shooting, treasure hunting, flower collecting) completing bounties for sheriffs in different towns (worth more alive if you can lasso them), breaking wild horses which you can ride later and probably tons of other stuff I’m missing.
The game play is based on the GTA and Rockstar Games 3rd person shooter style. You can carry as many weapons as you want (finding ammo is sometimes a problem for some) and you develop a special skill in the game called Dead Eye which is kind of like bullet time (everything slows down and you can place multiple shots, then it snaps back to real time and your player shoots all your placed shots as fast as he can old west style). A big part of your game is hunting, there are around 35ish animals in the game. There is only one I know you can’t shoot which are bats. You can skin the animals and take all their parts to the general store to trade them for useful items and money. You can do the same with other items you find like wild flowers. Targeting in the game is similar to the later GTA games where you have a targeting system which toggles by holding down a button. Combat is fun especially when on horseback: you can shoot other horses to force your enemies to face you on the ground, Shoot off peoples hats, shoot guns out of people’s hands and you can also duel.
You travel by horseback across the country side. You have to continuously tap a button to make your horse run, too fast and your horse gets tired and bucks you and to slow and your horse trots along. This is the one part of the game that is what it is. You can’t have a western game without horses and horses don’t handle like a car. You can get around this by setting up a campsite (has to be out of town, and it has to be on clear ground). once set up you can travel either travel to another town or to a way point set by you (closest point on a trail to where your way point is) I personally didn’t know that this feature existed when I started playing and then didn’t use it for about a month after I knew it existed because the environment is so awesome to ride through and there are so many things to do along the way from one location to another. You can also race horses and wagons in certain towns.
The environment of this game is outstanding. I am a back country loving, tree hugging, animal shooting red neck that will do anything to drive down an old dirt road in a town you’ve never heard of just to lay on the roof of my 4×4 and stare at the stars … if this sounds like you then I think you will love this game. The map is huge, and stretches from a town called Blackwater that I assume is a place like Chicago on the shore of one of the great lakes all the way down to Punta Orgullo which is somewhere in north Mexico. In the middle is Armadillo which is obviously Amarillo Texas. The scenery is very well done: the stars come out every night, there are lightning storms, waterfalls, smooth rocky desert right to flat sandy desert with cactus plants and shrubs. The graphics in the game are very good.
Near the end of the game you get a frustrating situation that will pull at heart strings (Yeah even though it’s a video game, No I didn’t cry). The characters are very convincing and have a lot of things that will make you love and hate them. The story line while at times is a little farfetched is usually enough to keep you entertained throughout the missions. There is tons of downloadable content for this game including the Undead expansion where you fight off hordes of zombies to save your wife and kids, the co-op mission pack and the liars and cheats multiplayer pack. It’s a little bit old now but I know it rocked my entire summer last year, if you have time and money to burn I would recommend this game. I might go back and play it all night actually.