Red Dead Revolver
It's hard to believe Red Dead Revolver became nothing more than a widely unappreciated gem. For the first time ever players were offered the chance to play as a bounty hunter in the Wild West, and as it was made by Rockstar (of the GTA franchise), it would certainly have seemed that this game was poised for instant success. However it just was not meant to be, and the despite numerous positive reviews, the game disappeared into obscurity not long after its release.
It is for that reason that I was pleasantly surprised when I began playing Red Dead Revolver. From the off I was greeted by a compelling story with interesting and likeable characters, all brought to life by top-quality voice acting. While the gameplay mechanics took a little getting used to, it wasnt long before I was shooting up smugglers with ease. The game's story is similarly impressive, telling a classic tale of revenge full of twists and turns.
So let's look at each aspect of the game specifically. Firstly: graphics. The game's graphics are arguably its weakest part, but this has generally been the case with Rockstar games, even as recently as GTA 4. The grainy style of presentation, while intentional, does not help the overall look of the game. The character models can often appear blocky up close, and the lip-synching could use a once-over. These are all minor flaws, and for the most part the graphics are entirely acceptable.
The sound really stood out for me. Echoing Ennio Morricone's work in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, we are given a religiously authentic soundtrack, complete with tinny guitar melodies and galloping percussion. It adds an awful lot to the already impressive experience, and is an essential facet of the game as a whole.
The gameplay itself is not what you would call original. We're given a 3rd person shooter mechanic, but with a Call of Duty style "aim" button. This is fine, but the "Dead Eye" feature is what gives it its charm. At the touch of a button the player can slow down time and mark his opponent with up to 6 targets. The player then speeds time up again, and watches as Red, the main character, releases a barrage of bullets on his foe. Boss fights are original and challenging, requiring different strategies for each encounter.
The lastability is also quite impressive. Upon finishing the game, players unlock "Bounty Hunter" mode. This mode allows players to revisit earlier levels, with added challenges in play. Completing these challenges unlocks new levels and characters for multiplayer (which isn't half bad either).
The multiplayer mode pitches up to 4 players against each other in locales based on and inspired by levels from the single-player game. It works quite well, with interesting power-ups and pick-ups.
Overall, Red Dead Revolver is well worth its price. While it has a few flaws, such as the niggling graphics issues and slightly clunky feel from time to time, it is generally a very well put together game. It's just a shame it didn't do well enough commercially to merit a sequel.