Red Dead Redemption

Let it be known that I have never been a fan of Grand Theft Auto, but this Rockstar installment has me doing flips.

Genre: Action/Adventure
Players: 1 (Online: 1-16)
ESRB: Mature (Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs)
Platform: PS3*/Xbox 360

Once again, I’ve never been a fan of Grand Theft Auto games. They look like crap and I find them grossly offensive and irrational. Gang violence with rocket launchers and a series of missions in which every one can be completed by simply killing everyone present just doesn’t sit well with me.

However, I’m sure this is a generalization, and it can probably be applied to Red Dead Redemption. However, given the time period, Red Dead strikes me as a more chronologically appropriate game, and somehow simply strikes me as more appealing.

With that said, I cannot give enough praise to this game. It encircles main character John Marston, former gangster of the Old West looking to save his wife and son from his old cohorts. Marston is one of the many high points of the game. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this cowboy seeking redemption. His character is well-fleshed out, often humorous, and unforgettable. Not that his counter-parts aren’t. Bonnie MacFarlane, for the small portion of the game she is involved in, remains on the poster in my dorm room. Nigel West Dickens, the slick-talking snake-oil salesman, is another character that won’t be soon forgotten

The controls are slightly different than in the usual shooter, but nothing that a few minutes won’t cure. It’s responsive and you won’t have any problems. It looks pretty good considering Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto endeavors, especially considering the open-world format, which means a lot of stuff has to be loaded at once.

Speaking of the open-world format, I love it! This opens lots of fun side-missions like the mysterious strangers and ambient challenges. Take these as quickly or slowly as you’d like, but Rockstar makes sure that you keep the story going by locking certain areas until certain parts of the story are completed.

Sometimes I wish my horse would follow other people harder (one can hold the X button to follow another person on a horse, but your horse will stray on curvier paths if you don’t keep an eye on it). Additionally, the ending is a bit disappointing. Not that it’s bad, but the fallout from it will leave the player finishing out the game post-story mode thinking “Aw, man!” I wouldn’t give this game to younger children. One of the more graphic scenes involves a Spanish man shouting “Viva la Mexico!” while having sex with his lady as you walk in the room. These are my only reservations, though the second cannot really be addressed and the third doesn’t effect me.

But if this wasn’t enough, Rockstar then released “Undead Nightmare”, an Add-On package that won’t disappoint. A bit cheesy, the nation seems to have been stricken with a plague causing the dead to rise, and it’s up to John Marston to solve the problem. The current mantra in video games seems to be that zombies make things better. And what do you know? They did!

The story is not particularly great. It’s short (add-on content, don’t get too excited), so do not buy the stand-alone disc, but the story isn’t really the fun part. The fun part is being overrun by zombies in the middle of a town using a torch as your primary weapon with limited ammo in some kind of Resident Evil nod that lends itself to being lighter. Outside of the story mode, you can also hunt the horses of the undead, the chupacabra, bigfoot (MILD SPOILER ALERT; see this youtube video for a great scene), and if you work really hard, a unicorn. Yeah. John Marston on a unicorn. It’s actually freaking awesome. It trails rainbows.

The add-on also includes a new multiplayer mode called undead overrun. The way I understand it, it’s a lot like the survival missions added to Uncharted 2 or Nazi Zombies. I haven’t played it yet, as the online for this game can be difficult to get to if you have a wireless connection and aren’t familiar with port forwarding to get a NAT Type 2 connection.

Great game. Buy it. I plead with you to purchase this game, one of the best I’ve ever played.

Bottom Line: 9.5/10

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