There are great games and then there are truly amazing games.
Rock Star have published some great games done by its various dev teams, but their Red Dead Redemption, developed by Rock Star San Diego is truly a thing of awesomeness.
When I first heard of "Red Dead" I didn't look into it much because on paper it read like a western themed Grand Theft Auto. Though I own GTA 4, it's not the coolest thing I've played, as it just didn't live up to the greatness of GTA: San Andreas, which to me is the best game in the series.
Over the weekend a friend of mine lent me Red Dead in exchange for God of War. Reading up on the game had me somewhat interested, but once I poped that disk in; I was glued to my PS3 for like 12 hours straight. At one point I seriously thought my PS was gona melt or something because I just couldn't bring myself to turning this game off.
Even my girlfriend who is usually telling me to get of my games and do something, else was hooked right there next to me, as Red Dead is simply one of the coolest farkin games ever.
This shouldn't be surprising as apparently it has won over 160 "game of the year" awards and holds a Metacritic rating of 95% making it one of the highest rated console exclusives of all time.
The first awesome thing about the game is the setting. I haven't seen too many Western themed games, and to be honest I'm not a massive fan of the genre (my favorite western would probably be Back to the Future 3)
Rolling hills and endless country is spread out ahead of you as a massive open world , said to be so many times bigger than Fortune city from GTA 4, waits to be explored.
The game looks great. The environment would be the star here as it shifts from amazing sun sets to stormy nights. I spent hours and hours simply exploring the world of Red Dead. Traveling this world would be the second best thing about the game, as Rock Star has done an amazing job with the main mode of transportation: Horses. Riding a horse is almost a mini game as you have to manage the horses stamina, so instead of just pressing one button to make it go, you need to press the button according to a certain rhythm. This is not complicated though and soon you're galloping at great speeds across the vast land. Different horses have different timing, and the land is scattered with various breeds of horses to tame and collect. I'm waiting for this one rare Black Horse which sometimes travels the south lands - but is know to live up in the north. that area hasn't opened up for me yet :(
You do have a fast travel system too but I enjoy riding so much that I never use it.
The world is also populated with random encounters and events. Bank robbers, cannibal gangs, marauders, thieves, kidnappers and so much more. As you ride you come across these events that you can either intervene or join in on.
Unlike GTA4 which put away with a lot of the extra stuff your hero can get up to in game, Red Dead is just like GTA: San Andreas, in the way that there is so much more to do aside from the main story. With loads of side quests, mini games and even "jobs" like hunting, botany, tracking missions and heaps more, this is a world that truly feels alive and makes you become a part of it.
All of these are the bonuses to an awesome story that plays out like a movie. I know a lot of games claim to have a cinematic experience, but Red Dead is truly a game that you could just sit back and watch someone play.
You are John Marston, a former outlaw now working for the government. You have been tasked with capturing your former comrades, and somewhere in there your family is somehow in danger. Where this danger is coming from hasn't been reveled to me yet, but it's all enough motivation to get things going.
The supporting cast is nothing short of greatness, with all the characters beautifully brought to life through stunning animation and the best voice work I've heard in a video game. The personalities of everyone you come across stay with you long after you've met them and you can't help but care about the friends you make. There's one particular grave robber that I couldn't help feeling sorry for and liked having him around as a friend - even though he creeped me out at times.
In fact, morally this game is very interesting in how it effects you. For example, at one point I was without a horse, and I just couldn't bring myself to steal another mans horse >_<
I actually walked all the way back into town and then used one of the stable horses until I caught and tamed another horse to my liking.
Combat in the game is mad awesome too, with great responsive controls that let you do exactly what you want to do, and the guns man... they rock so hard. There is nothing more bad ass then walking into enemies while staring down the barrel of your Riffle, poping heads and taking names. To spice things up is the addition of this thing called "Dead Eye" which allows the hero to slow down time and either fire a one off shot at an otherwise hard target, or you can mark and execute the bad guys similar to the mechanic in Splinter Cell: Conviction.
The Dead Eye fills with every normal shot you fire. This all makes for some truly epic gun fights in the game.
I actually started the game on Hardcore (this ability to chose difficulty setting was apparently the first for Rock Star) and yes the game was very unforgiving at first - but once I got the hang of it, it made combat very satisfy. All the weapons in game are awesome and which gun works best depends on your play style. I like to take guys out from a distant with my riffle before finishing things up with my sawed-off :D There are some named weapons to collect too which add more damage and other perks.
Money for me is a bit scarce but so far this hasn't hindered me in anyway. All you really need to buy is things like medicine for wounds and maybe ammo now and then. Otherwise most of what you need is acquired through the game - including weapons.
The Story is very extensive and after two whole days of playing I only just finished the 1st act.With out giving away too much, let me just say that it goes places. What started off as bringing in some outlaws is currently at a revolution starting up in Mexico.
This should give you some scope as to how vast the world is, as the big story comes with the huge setting. It really reminds me of Fallout 3 without the sci fi stuff. Sort of like Desperado meets Fallout would be the best description.There is just so much to do and find in this game, with events and things unlocking perks and other goodies as you progress, that you could spend hours in it without even touching the story. The plot is very interesting though, played out through cut scenes and the various conversations you have with people as you ride. These conversations are cool because it subs the lack of the radio from GTA. When you're out and about by yourself you get to explore to an awesome music score that really sets the mood. It's sort of old school western themed music with a modern twist.
What's interesting also is how creepy the world can get at night, which is awesome because after I finish the main story I can not wait to dive into the DLC of the game called "Undead Nightmare" which adds a zombie invasion campaign to the game, along with other content such as the four horses of the apocalypse to collect, as well as creepy shizz like the Chupacabra and other old west mythical beasts. (Moth man?)
At a glance I didn't know how this zombie thing would work with Red Dead, but after playing it I think this addition will work great. A lot of times I've ridden through a woody hillside or a ghost-town expecting something to jump out and scare me.
Speaking of Ghost towns - Tumbleweed - man that place is creepy.
All in all Red Dead Redemption is one of the best games I've ever played, those who don't have access to it should be farking sad cause they are missing out on something amazing. I would love to own this thing on PC though as I know it would look even better with higher res textures.
Which brings us to the one thing I hate about the game; I don't own it! Like I said I borrowed this off a friend and it breaks my heart knowing I have to give it back, but I fully intend to buy my own next pay.
This baby is currently contending to make it to my top 5 games of all time. Will it make it? "After thoughts" to come.