Red Dead Redemption Impressions

It has been a while since I last played an open world game. [Prototype} comes to mind, but there might have been others. Anyways, it doesn’t really matter. I’m just happy to have another game to fool around in.

Keen and I admittedly were not found of Rockstar’s last outing, Grand Theft Auto IV. I don’t think either of us could give a specific reason why, if pressed, but there were several small factors that made it not feel like a GTA game. Fortunately, Red Dead Redemption is exactly the kind of game I was hoping it would be.

The basic premise of the game is as follows:

The year 1911, and wild west’s days are nearing an end. You are put into the role of John Marston, a former outlaw who has moved on from his old ways to settle down with a wife and son. Unfortunately John’s shady past caught up with him. A former man John used to run with has taken over the old gang and has been causing trouble. Enough trouble to cause government marshals to apprehend and threaten Marston’s family if he doesn’t track down and put an end to his old comrade’s misdeeds.

Ride around and lasso stuff!

The story is pretty interesting and Marston seems like a likable, decent man. I had a little trouble in the beginning of the game trying to understand what was going on. It didn’t feel like the game did a great job of setting up the story. I checked the instruction manual and found a brief synopsis that filled in some of the blanks, but I would have appreciated a little more of a fleshed out opening, unless I seriously missed something important.

The Cover System makes for great shootouts.

Red Dead Redemption is essentially GTA in the old west. It may sound odd to some people, but I think it really works. The game plays out like other GTA style games where you run missions for different individuals to progress the story, while finding interesting things to do on the side. RDR features many distractions such as several card games (like Poker), dice, horseshoes, lassoing stuff and hunting game to name a few. I’ve probably spent more time riding around exploring and messing around than actually doing missions.  It’s like GTA in that you can pick a direction and just go off and do stuff.   The game is very easy to get lost in, but in a good way.

As you complete missions you gain fame.  Fame makes you well known which grants you access to new perks.  Depending on how you play the game and the decisions you make, you can gain or lose honor.  An example is when you have a bounty target and you can either kill him or bring him back alive.  If someone challenges you to a duel you can kill them or shoot the gun out of their hand.

The combat is similar to GTAIV and features a basic cover system along with a “deadeye” ability, I believe it’s called, which slows down time and allows you to shoot targets more easily and with higher accuracy. This may seem kind of cheap to some people, but when you’re riding on your horse and being chased by a posse of 4 or more people then you will be glad to have it. I really have no complaints about the combat. It would be nice if the aiming flowed a little better, but it is very manageable.

There is a lot I can say about the game, but it is really something you should experience, and I’m just talking about the single-player. The online component is an entirely different beast, which I haven’t experienced much of yet, but plan to detail whenever I get around to it.

Given all there is to do in Red Dead Redemption and how well it follows the open sandbox feel of the GTA -style, I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

  • My copy is coming tomorrow. Had to get a HDMI/HDMI cable so I can play it with my PC’s monitor since my tv is busted.

  • I thought GTA IV was great (the console version, PC version sucked, the Euphoria engine just does not work on PC)

    GTA IV had one of the better story lines from a game in recent memory, maybe ever. It wasn’t over the top, and it was kind of tame for a video game. Red Dead is the same way, I wouldn’t call it realistic, but the realism features immerse you into the game.

  • GTA4 lacked all the spirit of the past GTA games. The realism, or whatever it was, put a real damper on the entire game’s ability to suck me in.

  • I liked GTA4 too. It’s the second best GTA game they’ve made so far(Vice City is my favorite)

  • The western theme really leaves me cold.. but the second I saw trailers of this game I couldn’t help thinking…

    What if RockStar reimagined “Syndicate”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndicate_%28video_game%29

    Same sandbox style game, but done in a high sci-fi theme with floating cars and cybernetically enhanced agents running about shooting up the place, hacking each other, running covert missions.. etc.

    Oh the dream…

  • I’m loving RDR. Basically, you get to run around and pretend you’re Clint Eastwood in a video game. What’s not to love?

    Grand Theft Auto was all about turning a city into the wild west. This genre and the Rockstar GTA model just made perfect sense. It feels to me like this was the game they always wanted to make though with that game design.

    Favorite Dialogue line so far:
    “That sarcasm is unbecoming, and it will hold you back in life Eli… moreso than that lazy eye.”

    This is a great game. I feel bad for folks that might be turned off by the western genre… they’re really missing out. Supposed to get online with a bud tomorrow to check out all the multiplayer stuff.

  • The gritty realism is what drew me in. I was more immersed in GTA than I was in saints row 2. I like SR2, probably more, but blowing people 500 feet into the air and doing crazy stuff is hard to put yourself into. Where as Niko had a solid back story, A soldier from a Eastern European country, trying to start over, and find out what happened back home.

    It seems people always criticize the GTA games for having generic crappy stories, but when they pull out a good story, everyone complains about the slowness or the gameplay.

  • No console :X Gotta wait a year or so maybe for it to come to PC, but it looked pretty badass with your first review you were talking about some months ago 😀

  • I very tempted to pick up RDR because I love the idea of a free-roaming Western game. Everyone’s saying it’s basically GTA but in the Wild West and sounds fantastic to me 🙂 The only problem is that I’m short on time at the moment and don’t want to buy it and then never play it. I’ve still got SSFIV to get through too!

    Makes me wish they’d make a Wild West MMO though 🙂

  • “Makes me wish they’d make a Wild West MMO though”

    Now there’s a great idea right there! 🙂

    – –

    I’m playing RDR and loving every minute of it, exploring and really soaking up the atmosphere. Hunting is strangely addictive!

  • RDR is really great. I don’t see why a Western theme would turn you off, who doesn’t like the occasional western? I’d imagine console gamers have plenty of sci-fi/fantasy/anything besides western to choose from. Regardless, I think RDR is actually something of a prototype for a really really good MMO. Maybe the WoW-killer, if you will.

    The problem with MMO’s is that they don’t really try very hard to be FUN. They try to get you hooked by getting you to care about the advancement of your character, and there’s a hundred different very time consuming ways to get every decreasing upgrades for your character. And when you are done with that one, here’s some heirloom gear for an alt!

    What is forgotten in that hamster wheel model is, you know, actually having truly fun gameplay (“truly fun” is defined as something that is fun enough that you would do it without any tangible reward). I’m playing RDR all the time because I’m having fun with it. I don’t play to grind out that new shotgun, or earn money to buy a horse. I would play even without the reward. The first MMO that does that for 1 million people, mi amigos, will blow WoW out of the water. The casual player that everyone wants will flock, and stay with it, for at least as long as the more standard “stay up till 2 finishing off exalted” type game.

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