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Games Review – Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption - computer game poster

Red Dead Redemption – X Box 360 and PS3

The infamous Rockstar brand is as synonymous with controversial content as it is quality gaming. It should come as no surprise then that Red Dead Redemption is a smutty, dirty, graphic but ultimately brilliant gaming experience.

The story is set in the old American West frontier near the border with Mexico (it was never going to be Mayo now was it?) in the year 1911. The protagonist of the piece is a quite yet rough former outlaw John Marston, who…you guessed it… trying to get his life back on track but his past keeps coming back to haunt him, that seemed to happen a lot in the old West. Despite being more than a little cliché the story is engaging with an excellent finish. The characters become more and more larger than life as the game progresses, starting with honest farming folk, to idealistic Mexican revolutionaries and including a turn from stereotypical but hilarious Irish character (he’s a chancer). It is true however, to say that the story is a little slow to start and slow to finish and at times you can’t help but wonder why he just doesn’t shoot his harassers (it’s what Clint would have done).

However, nobody plays a Rockstar game for story….this is the development company that gave the world the Grand Theft Auto series and essentially, what Red Dead is….is Grand Theft Auto on horses! One Massive map, split into three unique areas, New Austin, Nuevo Paraiso and West Elizabeth. The area is diverse, spanning from snow covered mountains, vast green planes, newly industrialized towns, Mexican deserts and small bandito style villages.

The player is given a horse and can go in any direction they like, they can be the good cowboy helping the poor old lady get away from the highway men or they can be the highway men! The game is open and free and players’ choices impact greatly how they are perceived by the people around them. If you become the bandit, posses chase you from time to time until you pay your bail (it works quite similar to how the police system operates in the Grand Theft Auto series). If you become the hero, buying goods and provisions in shops becomes a lot cheaper.

The player is given a solid arsenal of weapons to try out from pistols, rifles, shotguns, to dynamite, knives and snipers. Red Dead also boasts a standoff mode were by time slows down as you quickly aim at your opponents head before he gets yours. Although what is by far the most fun is the lasso, you can lasso a wild horse and break it in with a clever little balancing act mini game. But where the lasso really comes into its own is when you lasso people while on a horse, dragging them through the streets like one of those marauding bandits from the Fistful of Dollars trilogy. It must be said, this game can bring out the sinister side in the most stable of minds! In my time playing it, I’ve seen grown men laugh with delight as they hog tie a passersby, put them on their horse then leave them on the train track, before riding off laughing!

The game also features an excellent online multiplayer mode, were you and your posse of mates can take on rival gangs.

Like all the Grand Theft Auto games, Red Dead has massive replay value, whether its playing the many many sub missions and games or simply running around causing havoc, this is a game that will keep on giving. Two Thumbs up!

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – December 2010 (Issue 2)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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