Something went wrong. Try again later

    Red Dead Redemption

    Game » consists of 23 releases. Released May 18, 2010

    Red Dead Redemption is the spiritual successor to 2004's Red Dead Revolver, featuring a vibrant, open world set in the decline of the American Wild West. Players take on the role of former outlaw John Marston, who is forced to hunt down his former gang to regain his family.

    axellion's Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) review

    Avatar image for axellion
    • Score:
    • axellion wrote this review on .
    • 2 out of 2 Giant Bomb users found it helpful.
    • axellion has written a total of 22 reviews. The last one was for LIMBO

    The art of world building

    On a lonely windswept hill I witnessed a man huddled over a woman’s corpse, he wept and slowly pulled his revolver to his head. I reacted to slow and soon there were two corpses lying in the dirt. Events such as this tragic scene are what makes Red Dead Redemption truly stand out. A living breathing, decaying gray land, inundated with personality and incredible detail.

    Rarely do men get second chance a life an opportunity to set things right, John Marston is given a opening to make amends for his past crimes, to find redemption in the brutal west.

    John is sent on a mission, his family held until he completes one last bloody deed. Through the Western border states of America and into Mexico on a quests for someone else’s vengeance. Each area has a different story to tell, Mexico struggles with identity, finally free from foreign occupation the land is on the threshold of civil war. The people of America’s west fight to simply to survive another day every morning another battle, the long arm of the law it stretched to its braking point and corruption taints many an honorable man.

    Modern technology and ideas are seeping into the wild west, mechanical devices and revolutionary idea threaten a way of life, some men will fight to hold on to this  wild way of life they have known.

    Johns story is less of a sprawling epic western and more of a personal quest. At times it feels like he is being toyed with, as each new character professes to help his cause only to use him for there own means, his goal seemingly getting farther and farther away.

    The men and women he meets are each totally unique and the spectacular digital acting that Rockstar is known for is on full display. Cut scenes are very well done; the story’s and thoughts of these characters are deeply fascinating each one has a differing viewpoint on the west and the encroachment of modernization.

    A lot of the game is spent on horseback traveling across the vast environments. Horses feel just about perfect, moving very realistically, push them too hard and they will buck and fling their riders to the dirt. Every land has a distinctive look and feel, from the dust pains to thick chocking forests, to the immense rock outcroppings of Mexico.  

    In no way are the visuals not radically impressive, lighting is spectacular; beautiful sunsets and dark long shadows. Highly detailed dirty faces and character models. Physics play a role in every single object, horses gallop majestically, wagons clack and roll across dirty paths. Cloth dynamics are excellent, flags and clotheslines sway and ripple in the wind.   Ponchos and coats drape on bodies remarkably, edges are torn and frayed, light seeps through holes and in all visuals are nothing short of incredible.

    In town men go about their day, sharpening axes, chopping wood, preparing chickens for stew. Each house is covered in small details, tools hang on walls, soup boils over stoves and a people live. Hours can be spent simply socking in the atmosphere of the west, a world of unimaginable depth.

    Venturing into the expansive wilds is a daunting adventure. Stretching on for as far as the eye can see, the forests and deserts are teaming with life, rabbits and all manner of critters spring from the brush, proud elk are stalked by vicious cougars, packs of wolves hunt in the foliage, flocks of birds’ spring from trees. Trotting into these gorgeous living wilds is an experience not to be missed. I found myself ignoring Johns quest and heading out into the land to hunt and explore on my own.

    A series of ambient challenges awaited off the beaten path, hunting specific targets or gathering herbs and wild flowers. It is a game within a game. A treasure hunting challenge was specifically clever, rather than presenting a rough location or directions to the treasure, I was given a rough sketch of a landmark or two, an X marking my goal. Only through exploration and memory would I find my way.

    The world is littered with activities, damsels need rescuing, escaped prisoners must be returned, and an occasional hanging or two must be prevented.   All of these random missions and the game itself have an underlying morality system. John can be a white king defending the west, or a dark gunslinger.

    John comes across travelers on the road, some with little mission to accomplish, but all with a story to tell. Once again great acting and cinematic flair penetrate every scene and encounter.  

    Games of blackjack and poker are played in taverns. Bounties are posted, dead or alive. Never was I bored. Missions follow a tried a true GTA formula, escort and fetch quests, races and combat missions. With incredible dialog and character down to earth personal storytelling, the games narrative is driven slowly across the west with care and style.

    At the games ends John finds himself back on his farm, a series of missions have our hero living his life, spending time with his son and wife. Trying hard to give his child the life he never had, and make amends for his sins. He tends the farm, herd’s cattle, and generally fights to put food on the table. This emotional experience pays off in dividends by the games conclusion; a haunting unforgettable ending, and a twist of pure genius.

    The score is very powerful with great pieces reminiscent of the classics of Wild West cinema. Memorable songs appear at important story events a beautiful haunting balled plays during the credits, a fantastic sweeping emotional end. Red Dead Redemptions soundtrack is excellent, and example of moving affecting score underlining the games narrative and characters absolutely perfectly placed, it hits at just the right moments.

    The land feels, looks, and sounds authentic; every aspect has been painfully created. More grown than built, I was lost in a time long gone, a time where hard men lived, and the wild still reigned. Watching the sunset in crimson and emerald light, as it drew log shadows on tall trees is an experience I will not soon forget.

    Much more than Grand Theft Horse, Red Deed Redemption contains almost none of the ridiculous satire that saturates the GTA series. It’s a serious, dark, mature look at a dyeing way of life, and one mans long harrowing quest to find redemption. Rockstar has achieved some thing remarkable, an open world of vivid description, painted in broad and minute strokes.   The final chapters are simply put miraculous, emotional moving and intelligent, the ending a triumph.


    Other reviews for Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)

      Goodbye, Horses. 0

       Meet John Marston. He's a nice guy.   Usually known for the satire and comedic parodies of their flagship franchise – Grand Theft Auto – Rockstar Games has taken a more serious tone with their new take on the Old West, Red Dead Redemption. While the game’s open world structure is similar to that of GTA, Redemption is a more refined experience in both scope and story, and accomplishes more in terms of storytelling than most other games in the genre. Set during the early 20th Century, Red...

      30 out of 30 found this review helpful.

      No puns, a Rockstar classic. 0

      It's easy to forget just how special Rockstar games can be. Grand Theft Auto taints and enhances the company in equal measure with the connotations conjured when Rockstar is brought up is one of modern satire, controversy and a style of game for a very specific type of gamer. As such there was little hype about Red Dead Redemption. GTA with cowboys was the call and despite a larger than usual spread of information from Rockstar there was little idea of what kind of game awaited us. Red Dead Rede...

      12 out of 12 found this review helpful.

    This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

    Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

    Comment and Save

    Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.