Red Dead Redemption Review
The old west was full of corrupt officials, greedy bandits, murderers, and petty thieves. This made living an honest life almost impossible. That is the only thing John Marston wants, a simple life on his ranch with his family. His checkered past however just won’t let him go and he is forced into a truly wild adventure. Western games are pretty few and far between. It’s a genre that only has a few bright spots like GUN and Call of Juarez. To say that Rockstar has surpassed them would be an understatement. They have set a new bar not only for westerns, but for open world games in general.
The story of Red Dead Redemption is cliché, as far as westerns go. John used to run in a gang but gave that up for a family and a simpler life. Although a certain chain of events forced him to return to that life and hunt down his old gang brothers. The biggest difference between Marston and previous Rockstar characters is that John keeps a consistent context throughout the game. Guys like Niko Belic were sort of confused characters and you never knew what their convictions were. John is very different; he is a married man, you won’t see him pick up hookers or flirt it up with another woman. John also keeps a pretty mild temper throughout the game, but there are certain characters that push John to the edge. When you hear John say “I'll put a hole in your hillbilly head and watch your tiny brain drain out,” you know he is not screwing around.
John is not the only great character in the game. Almost every character you interact with has a distinct personality. While your time is short with some of them it is always hilarious to hear what they have to say. I don’t want to spoil any of them but just listen closely and you’ll hear some of the best writing and voice work in video games.
Red Dead also features one of the most expansive and beautiful open worlds made to date. The animations from the Euphoria engine are top notch and things like running horses and dragging bodies look eerily realistic. The one visual feature that made the game for me was the color scheme. When things are in the distance they almost look like a painting. From the oranges and reds of a sunset on the desert, to the snow and greenery of the northern lands, Red Dead is quite simply a beautiful game.
As has been expected in such a massive game, there are plenty of glitches. Still, it is a step below what we have come to expect from Rockstar. While I didn’t have any that ruined missions, I did have my horse get stuck in the environment a few times. There are also some pop in issues in some of the smaller cutscenes but they don’t really ruin the mood.
What would a big beautiful open world be without fun stuff to do? Don’t worry, because Red Dead has everything from breaking wild horses to playing poker. Treasure hunts, hunting challenges, herb gathering, herding cattle, wanted posters, robbing trains, and robbing banks just to name a few. There is so much to do that it is almost impossible not to stray off the main story and just explore. There is so much to do and see that the game practically begs you to head off the beaten path.
Rockstar has once again adapted their open world game for the multiplayer realm just like they did with GTA IV. There is a multiplayer free-roam mode that is basically a lobby of sorts. This is a lot like GTA IV with the entire world at your disposal. There are however some huge differences. There are numerous gang hideouts, hunting and outlaw challenges that you and your friends can do together. What’s the motivation for doing so? There is now a leveling system that affects the type of mount and weapons you have in the game. You can also unlock new characters and challenges as you level up. Free-roam is an absolute blast if you have some friends to posse up with. I have had so many hilarious moments in free roam that I strongly recommend you don’t pass it up.
There are also more traditional multiplayer modes such as deathmatch, team deathmatch and grab bag which is a variation of capture the flag. I would recommend going into a non auto-aim game because the auto gun aim can really break the experience, making it significantly less skillful.
Rockstar has outdone their own work again, proving that they are the kings of the open world. Redemption has an amazing story and sucked me in from the very beginning. The game has one of the best endings I have experienced in a video game. John Marston is a character I won’t soon forget and it’s easily one of my top 10 games of all time.