It’s been a long time in the making but finally we are all able to get our hands on Rockstar’s latest sandbox action adventure, Red Dead Redemption. The Red Dead series made its mark in the gaming world back in 2004 when Rockstar released the Wild West third person action adventure, Red Dead Revolver for the PS2 but although it wasn’t a bad game as such, it never really had the success that both gamers and Rockstar thought it would. Fast forward 6 years and we have the next instalment in the series and what a huge jump it’s made compared to its predecessor.
The game is set in the Wild West during 1911 and you play retired outlaw, John Marston. The story revolves around you capturing outlaw and former member of your gang, Bill Williamson and handing him over to the government officials in exchange for your wife and child. The story starts off with you travelling to New Austin to confront your former friend to get your life back but it doesn’t exactly go to plan when you are gunned down by the outlaw. A rancher in the name of Bonnie MacFarlane finds you and takes you to a doctor to get you patched up. From her ranch, this is where you have a place to stay and also the necessities including general store to get you started with your quest to find the infamous, Bill Williamson.
One thing you will notice straight away is it plays and controls very similar to Rockstar’s other very successful open sandbox title, Grand Theft Auto. Be it the map in the bottom left hand corner of the screen or the way you using the cover system that is incorporated into Red Dead Revolver. One thing to say about the way the game plays is that although it’s very similar to the way that GTA IV is controlled, it’s been tweaked and refined to make it an even better experience than before.
Graphically this game looks very nice indeed and produces some of the best lighting ever seen in a next gen title. When you see the sun rise for the first time, you won’t believe your eyes as it really is something to behold. The lighting really is very nice indeed and it adds to the whole atmosphere of the Wild West setting. From a graphics point of view, the game really does look the business with 1911 Wild West U.S looking amazing with its vast landscapes and huge vistas for miles and miles in the distance. The way Rockstar have made this title look and feel like you are a part of the world is a achievement in itself. There are some problems with the game at times though but it’s only minimal really. Things like pop up can happen every so often or cut scenes which include missing characters etc but these little blips don’t spoil the game at all in all honesty. For the most part though, the game really does look fantastic. Character models are great, animation using the Euphoria engine work very well and the overall attention to detail is superb.
One thing that this improves on over the other very similar ‘mission based’ title, GTA is the fact that the missions are a lot more varied compared to GTA IV which was criticised for its repetitive style missions. You can have anything from chasing bandits to stealing a mine cart and hanging onto it Indiana Jones style to finding hidden treasure. The main missions in the game don’t get repetitive at all and it keeps you coming back for more. It’s great to see that Rockstar added a variety of different missions to the game as this is something that GTA IV was missing. Also when the game was first played by the press, a few that had played the game were saying that the missions were very ‘samey’ but this isn’t the case with the final product so it’s clear Rockstar have been working flat out to make this the best experience for us fans. Apart from the main missions in the game, there are plenty of other parts to keep you happy including standoffs, hunting to animals to kill and skin, gambling, cow herding and taming wild horses and tons of other small side activities. There is so much to keep you busy apart from the main side missions and this will keep people coming back for me time and time again. The game has other modes including challenges with involve doing a certain task to be upgraded to the next level and also hunting for clues for new outfits. The game works with a ‘morality system’ which means that your decisions will affect what people think of you in the game. For example, if you help a kidnapped innocent civilian your ‘honour’ will go up and be positive honour, but if you decided to rob and kill an innocent victim, then your ‘honour’ will be classed as negative honour. The way you play the game in whatever way you choose, determines the way the game will go for you be it if you are loved or hated. Red Dead Redemption also like GTA IV, the game has online modes including shootout and capture the bag which will keep you busy for hours on end, all incorporated in the games free roam world.