Players beware, you're in for a scare!
While the heart of Undead Nightmare is very much centred towards zombies, the pack as a whole is like a blood coated love letter to all fans of the horror media with yes, zombies, but also bats, fog, mystical artifacts, apocalyptic horses and even unicorns... Hey there's bound to be someone who finds Unicorns just as terrifying, if not more, as a blood drenched banshee scurrying after you on all fours.
But again, zombies are definitely what are hogging the spotlight for this 'un. As they seem to be for alot of the gaming medium recently, but rest assured that Undead Nightmare still delivers a stand out zombie experience regardless of its uninspired premise.
Undead Nightmare is currently the fourth piece of DLC for Red Dead Redemption, but it's the first to have the focus directed towards single player. Returning onto the saddle is popular protagonist and redeemed outlaw John Marston; set during the time when he's been reunited with his family and is building up his ranch in West Elizabeth. What most will remember is a large strike force combined of the US Army and the Government led by the treacherous Edgar Ross to finish up the final loose end to the Dutch Van Der Lind case. In Undead Nightmare however, a zombie plague beats Ross to the punch and manages to infect John's family. Instead of giving up right there and putting them out of their misery, John embarks on an adventure to discover what's going on and hopefully find a cure for this strange plague along the way.
The storyline will have John travel with his trusty steed along familiar territory across the regions of West Elizabeth, New Austin and Mexico. Riding along you will notice quite a few notable differences - the most striking being zombie hordes populating every nook and cranny of the RDR world. Like you'd expect in a traditional zombie apocalypse, it really didn't take long for the shit to not only hit the fan, but damn near clog it. Zombies already outnumber survivors 9 - 1 and virtually every City, Town and Outpost is under the attack. The animals too have succumbed to the virus becoming much more aggressive. Fortunately when it comes zombie repellents John Marston is in the same league featured along with Frank West and Chris Redfield. With his trusty dead eye and resourcefulness you'll be taking down crowds upon crowds of the undead all the while managing to save the townsfolk, and not mention being on top of the case of what caused this flesh decaying mess in the first place.
The world of RDR and how much it's changed is one of this expansions coolest features. As said before, most towns have only a handful of people who won't hunt you down for your flesh, and there's fires and general chaos to be found through every street. Even the musical themes you will undoubtedly still recognise have been mixed and altered to fit a much more gloomy and unnerving scene. Some set pieces of the single player also features some more music tracks fitted just for this expansion and greatly adds some enjoyable memorability, as much as your first few steps in Mexico did and the time when you quickly rushed to finally see your family again. The weather is all gloomy and filtered with a deep fog that gives the game an astonishingly creepy atmosphere. Everything is still where'd you'd remember it fortunately, so if you've kept yourself stuck in the world of RDR you'll be able to still breeze around knowing what route takes you where,
Like the world you find yourself trying to survive in, the story itself is made up of the same excellent quality with all new well directed cutscenes and all the character's voice cast reprising their roles. Not all will play a focal part as you'd hope, but there's still a great number of cameos to enjoy and laugh with, and not to mention kill.
Despite it all being of fantastic quality--and it doesn't shave off on the quantity either--Undead Nightmare still has a few glaring problems that began to wear the package down. For starters the pack suffered quite a few technical issues that made me rage just a wee bit on occasion. Frame rate drops and constant pop in is something I could look past, but game freezes and weird bugs where I found Marston stuck to the ground with all his firearms on the floor pointing up really took a toll.
Repetition can rear its equally decaying head too. While there's a great deal of content here just speaking for its single player stuff alone, it can grow tiresome with the zombie variety being rather thin and all basically going down with the same strategy: Dead Aim + Head Shot = Bloody Win. Every weapon is just as effective for nailing those gooey headshots, so being awarded a Mauser Pistol didn't feel as gratifying as it should when it's more or less as effective as the Cattlemen Revolver you begin with.
The main side activity of saving towns from the undead masses can become incredibly tiresome after so many, and the games overall relative ease didn't make me feel too motivated to save more survivors for the extra ammo. With ammo acting as the currency, and with it also acting as your reward for practically everything, you will 'never' find yourself low on ammo despite what the beginning hints may suggest.
Taken at a steady pace, the game can keep hold of its fun factor throughout, but much like the default RDR before it can severely burn you out on all things Undead.
Again though, Undead Nightmare does have plenty to keep you occupied. The story on its own is around 4-5 hours, but adding in all the side activities such as saving the towns across the world, to completing survivor missions, to rescuing survivors, to once more smashing your head against the wall trying to work the Legendary challenges, you have potentially 12 hours to waste on the Undead Frontier.
And without all that there's still some astoundingly fun multiplayer content brought along. To start it off there's the Undead Overrun mode, which has four players working together to rack up as high a score as they can against a never ending horde of zombies. Sound familiar? Yeah, it will, but that doesn't get in the way of how intense and satisfying it is to survive with another three players.
Added to the free roam aspect is also a Land Grab activity. It's a thinned out version of King of the Hill, to where you tag one of the many landmark points and must defend it from attacking players. Whoever manages to hold it the longest will win the experience. It's a short and sweet addition that gives the free roam some added fidelity, and believe me when I say how hard it is to resist the call once you've been notified of a player taking a landmark.
Undead Nightmare as a complete package is well worth the money for anyone who still would like more of their RDR, but with some twists added in. Like the original RDR before it, repetition is likely for most, but with regular intervals and so much content to have an interval with Undead Nightmare can last you much longer than its asking price of £8/10$ might have you believe. And the Undead Overrun mode is addictive and enjoyable enough to certainly keep the multiplayer community staying stuck in long after people have seen all there to is to be seen, killed all there to is to be killed, and rode along across all of the Undead ravaged world that is RDR: Undead Nightmare on their apocalyptic steed.