Blood thirsty criminals, whores, and gunslingers.
Red Dead Redemption is a open world,3rd person, action adventure with its protagonist, John Marston, seeking to free his family from corrupt government agents by tracking down a ruthless outlaw and either capture or killing him and his gang. We start the game in the semi modern town of Blackwater with the simple task of meeting an oldtimer named Jake who has been tasked by Blackwater to be your guide. Here you will be introduced to the riding your horse tutorial as you accompany Jake to Fort Mercer. When you reach Fort Mercer, Marston calls out to the man he seeks: Bill Williamson. Things dont go so smoothly and John is seriously wounded. A good samaritan named Bonnie MacFarlane takes you in and nurses you to health. At the MacFarlane Ranch you will be introduced to most of the basics within the game such as using your lasso and hog tying criminals. I have to admitt its very satisfying to catch a criminal in the act of stealing cattle with a toss of the lasso and hearing him curse me as I hog tie his disrespectful ass and leave him for the sherriff. Easy cash. Once you go through all the tutorial missions its really up to you to progress through the story. Rockstar's trademark of creating an immersive open world experience has its best to date with Red Dead Redemption. With an abundant supply of side quests and missions, Ive had my hands full with collecting rare flowers for a stranger to killing ravenous coyotes chasing a poor soul across the prairie. You will recognize the gunplay and cover system mechanics feel very similar to GTA 4 but thats is about it. For the most part it works very well with few hangups. I really enjoy putting an outlaw on his ass with a squeeze of the trigger. The hit detection and physics of RDR really got my blood flowing. Dont want to take a guy out right away? Shoot him in the leg with the Dead Eye function and watch him crawl away as you pull the trigger again to end his suffering. Shooting from your horse requires some getting use to, but it falls into place and becomes more comfortable as you progress. You will need to master that when capturing bounties alive as the ride back wont be easy.
The graphics are breathtaking. Ive literally found myself stopping on the dusty trails to just soak in the effort Rockstar has put into its geography in this game. The seamless transition from open prairie to snowcapped mountains, to the far westeren deserts is just amazing. Be careful if you travel too far off the road! I was mauled by cougars more than I cared for. After the intial shock, the wildlife can be a bit of a nuisance with coyotes and wolves attacking you and your horse on the regular. Nothing my trusty Winchester repeater cant handle with a few well placed rounds. Speaking of those rounds, the sounds of lead flying in this game are just great! From the echoes off canyon walls to the thuds of metal inpacting meat, I
couldnt help but thinking of all those old western movies with Clint Eastwood. You can even buy a poncho in Mexico should you feel like inserting a little Sergio Leone into your character. The sights and sounds of RDR are what really come through and is the highmark of the game. You really can get lost in this world of blood thirsty criminals, whores, and gunslingers. Single player gets 4 1/2 stars.
Now for some of the things that kept me from giving the single player game 5 stars. While it was hard to leave off that 5th star, I have to. There are times when the frame rate dipped a bit and produced a bit of a stutter in the game. This has yet to happen in a critical moment but is still annoying. When it does, you will find that hitting the walk or run button only gets you a confused responce from your horse or Marston. Kind of a jittery walk run I suppose. The horse riding part of the game is very good but I did find it was rather easy to to get stuck on a tree or rock causing a great deal of manuevering to get out of it. Deaths resulting from falls less than 10 feet occur frequently. The cover system works well most of the time, but a few times Ive had the button not respond resulting in me being riddled with bullets. Cougars. There seem to be frequent bugs within the game such as when I tried to capture my first bounty alive. I didnt get the option to hogtie the criminal after I lassoed him. So I let him loose and threw it again only to have the same thing happen over and over. I finally reset the game, went back, and had no problem. It seems this happens occasionally ( encountering a bug that has to be remedied with a reset) but is worth mentioning as it is extremely annoying. For the most part the game works and Im sure there will be patches made to fix some of the bug related issuse. None of this has happened so frequently that it stoped me from playing for hours and neglecting my family members.
Multiplayer I give 31/2 stars. It is very fun to posse up with eight players or just being a lone wolf out completing challenges. Most of the challenges are similar to the single player mode differing just slightly (Instead of killing 5 wolves with your knife like you would on single player, only 1 of the 5 kills require a knife on multiplayer) and can be tackled alone or with a friend. There are several game modes to multiplayer. Free Roam, Gang Shootouts (team deathmatch), Free for all, and Grab the bag( captur the flag). All of these modes are accessible from the Free Roam map. Free Roam is where Ive spent most of my time playing. There are fun elemets to either going at it alone on a huge map ( the same map as single player) or with friends. You can rack up the XP by completing challenges and clearing out gang hideouts. Doing this allows you to unlock certain weapons, horses, and character upgrades as you progress. There are plenty of NPCs to shoot in multiplayer along with PCs from other posses. I found it quite a bother to be out by myself searching for wildflowers only to have assholes in another posse ride me down and blow my brains out. Having a posse of your own doesnt hurt when it comes to having to deal with others. A quick remedy to that is instead of playing in a public session where everyone can play, you can choose to play in a private session where only people you invite can join up. This is possible for all multiplayer game modes. Now for the reasons why I gave this aspect of the game 3 1/2 stars instead of 5. Free Roam is a great way to spend time with your buddies and blow a few hopeless cowpokes away, it also is a great way to get the urge to throw this game in the trash. Public sessions are plagued by numerous bugs ie; invisible weapon, invisible character, invisible horse, invisible wildlife (hard to get that last Big Horn when its invisible),invisible COUGARS, invisible NPCs, Invisible PCs, and any random combination of these things can happen. I rode an invisible horse while being killed by invisible wolves. Random kicks from session happen a lot, even in private games. Though, private sessions do bug out less than public sessions. Dispite all its faults, I expect they will fix most of these problems with updates, and if that happens there is no reason that multiplayer isnt just as much of a solid experience as single player. All in all RDR is an exellent game with a soon to be great multiplayer. 4 out of 5 stars for the game as a whole and worth the 60 bucks.