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Review: Red Dead Redemption 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the remind-me-to-stay-away-from-men-with-guitars dept.
Western-themed shooters are not a particularly well-explored video game genre. When the first details of Red Dead Redemption began leaking out, there was skepticism that an open world in such a setting could rival the depth of the Grand Theft Auto series. One of Rockstar San Diego's biggest challenges was building a world that looked and felt like the cultural and historical image we have of the Wild West. It's a task with more constraints than in many similar games — futuristic sci-fi settings, stylized interpretations of modern places, or Tolkien-esque fantasy all allow nearly unbounded creativity — yet no less in scope. In Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar achieved this, building a world that is huge and unknown, yet still deeply familiar. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.
  • Title: Red Dead Redemption
  • Developer: Rockstar San Diego
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 7/10

The look and feel of this game is by far its biggest strength. From the start, you're dropped into a setting that looks like a cross between an archetypal Western movie and what you would expect to see if you stepped into the wilderness of Texas. It's not that the graphics are perfect; they're good, but probably not the best you've seen on your console of choice. It's that the art direction was so consistent and detail-oriented that almost everything just looks right. What was also surprising to me was the variety of climates — everything from the dusty desert with tall, eroded rocks and scattered boulders, to the sparsely treed plains, to the snow-covered forest at the base of a mountain — each inhabited by an internally consistent set of fauna.

The towns, too, are very detailed and unique. Most are what you'd expect a frontier town to look like; shoddy construction, worn down signs, broken walls, horse hitches everywhere. Again, there's quite a variety; in the east you have the largest, richest town, with brick buildings and streets. Further west you've got heavily worn, grubby wooden buildings with built-up fronts. Across the border in Mexico, you have dirt roads winding through white stone walls and sculpted walkways. There are also quite a few scattered, smaller outputs, and the occasional isolated farm. Comparing the tiny bastions of civilization to the vast wilderness encompassing them lends a fascinating sense of how isolated this era's settlers really were.

That immersion is broken a bit by how many people you end up running into. The towns and farms have an appropriate number of NPCs wandering about, but the number of bad guys you run into during your travels must outnumber the normal folks 10:1. As you ride around the wilderness on your horse, you frequently come across other travelers, or NPCs that need help (or want to kill you), and it makes the game world seem much more populated than it could ever be in reality. It's a gameplay conceit, and I can't really fault them for it; a game world with a truly appropriate number of people would either be infeasibly huge (think Daggerfall) or so barren that you have almost nothing to do.

The game starts slowly, easing you into the various control schemes while introducing you to your character, John Marston, and the mission he's on. He's a former outlaw, trying to leave a life of crime behind, but forced to fight again by government men who want him to track down other criminals. But there's more to him than just gun-slinging, as the first set of missions clearly demonstrate. Red Dead Redemption is comprised partly of a variety of sub-games, and they're used both for furthering the plot and for providing an entertaining way to take a break from the story. You do things like driving cattle, catching and breaking new horses, and racing.

There are also more obvious games; you can find hands of poker and blackjack in most towns, as well as arm wrestling, horseshoes, and "Five Finger Fillet," a game where you tap buttons in a certain order and rhythm while Marston correspondingly drives a knife into the table around his splayed fingers. The sub-games are hit-and-miss as far as fun goes; if you enjoy the card games in real life, you'll probably enjoy a few hands in-game. You can even try to cheat at poker. The controls for horseshoes are annoying, and Five Finger Fillet is awfully easy. But the broad selection is what provides depth, here — everybody can probably find something they enjoy, at least for a little while.

One of the major skills the first missions try to teach you is how to control your horse, which you'll be riding for a big portion of the game. They did reasonably well with the button setup and the riding part of the engine — maneuvering the horse is a bit clumsy, but not much more than you'd expect it to be. As with most third-person shooters, you move with one analog stick and rotate your camera with the other. This works fine except when you want to maintain speed with your horse, which requires you to hold down another button. If you want to pan your camera around, you have to let go of the button, which makes your horse slow and stop. The horse can also be tough to move through tight spaces, or anywhere with lots of small obstacles — a little bit of pathing AI would have gone a long way here.

The next big thing to learn is how your weaponry works. You don't have a targeting crosshair while moving around normally. Instead, you hold down a button to aim your gun, which pops up a little dot showing where your bullets will go. There are three settings for aiming behavior: on Expert, your aim is entirely manual; on Normal, the dot will lock onto an enemy near the center of your screen, and track it for a few seconds; on Casual, it will lock onto whichever enemy is closest to the center of your screen, track them for a much longer time, and turn red when you've got a shot lined up. If you're on Normal or Casual, you'll be able to kill things very, very easily.

Combat in Red Dead Redemption is fairly simple. There is a basic cover system, and between that and the auto-aim, it's pretty hard to lose a fight. The enemy AI isn't very isn't very smart; they rarely move, they don't try to surround you or work around your cover, and they often fire round after round at you while you're safely behind a boulder. Most of the times I died were when I got into a fight I wasn't expecting. For example, as you ride around the game world, you occasionally come across random situations that need your attention. Sometimes it'll be a guy who wants help picking flowers, sometimes a stranded citizen will need a ride back to town, and sometimes a group of bandits will be hijacking a horse and carriage. Since you often can't tell what's going on until you ride up to them, you'll have times where three guys suddenly turn and start shooting you in the face, which is hard to recover from.

Mounted combat is a little less predictable. In addition to riding your horse, you'll have missions where you're driving a cart or a carriage, or riding on a train, and have to defend against hijackers. Since you don't have cover, it's a bit more hectic trying to shoot down everybody before you take lethal damage, and thus a bit more fun. Health and damage isn't tracked explicitly by the UI; instead, as you get shot, your screen starts to turn increasingly red and bloody. If you can avoid fire for a few seconds, the red will recede, and you'll heal back up. (Another gameplay conceit, since it's unlikely outlaws in the old west could shake off a few bullet wounds by hiding behind a rock for a few heartbeats.)

The guns themselves are mostly unremarkable. You get the standard pistols, rifles, and shotguns, which behave similarly with slight variations. You can punch people, which gets old very quickly, and use a knife. More interesting is the lasso, which you can use to subdue wild animals and people alike. Once you've caught a person, you can hogtie them and carry them around, or throw them on your horse. Subduing somebody without killing them is usually rewarded. Or, if you're feeling like a jerk, you can drag the person behind you on your horse. Or toss them on the train tracks like a true olde tyme villain. Lawmen tend to frown on that, though.

Infrequently, you'll get other toys to play with, but once the novelty wears off, they aren't much use. You can't use the dynamite to collapse walls or knock a train off the tracks. The throwing knives don't let you turn into the dude from Thief. The regular guns, on the other hand, have some fun uses. If you're squaring off with somebody, you can shoot the gun out of their hand. Pulling this off in duels impresses the spectators and boosts your fame. You also have an ability called Dead Eye, which you can activate to slow time to a crawl and paint a red X on multiple targets. When you pull the trigger, you shoot each X extremely quickly. It's an odd ability for a historical shooter. I can only suppose it's intended to give a quick-draw feel, but you can literally kill half a dozen targets in the time it takes them to draw their weapons. It seems excessive, especially when combat is already stacked in your favor.

The main story is divided up into missions you go on with particular NPCs. The individual missions themselves are fairly short, perhaps 15 minutes on average, part of which is travel time. When the Marshall wants your help taking down a gang, you actually get on your horse and ride to their hideout. It's a few minutes where you aren't doing anything, but the characters keep up a running dialogue during that time. You get details about the mission, information about Marston's past, and background about the other characters all while watching the pretty scenery, so it's not as boring as it may sound.

The main characters are well-written, and the voice acting is excellent. Marston's character is built as much from the tone of his voice as by his actions, and some of the supporting cast is extremely good at investing a great deal of emotion into a few short lines. Listening to the Marshall express skepticism over the government's motives, or hearing the snake-oil salesman work himself up to a new pitch almost makes you forget it's a video game. The animation work on the cut scenes is absolutely top-notch as well. The way shots are framed, the way the characters move, and in particular the way background characters and animals move seem incredibly natural and realistic — some of the best I've seen in any game.

By contrast, most of the other NPCs in the world might as well be fenceposts for all the conversation options they offer. They'll nod a greeting at you, swear at you if you shoot at them, and pick randomly from a selection of common phrases, but you can't meaningfully interact with the vast majority of them. Unless you want to kill them. The roads are flush with travelers, saloons are packed, and even the churches have a few visitors, but they're essentially just scenery. Add to that the uniformity of the parts of towns you interact with (i.e. every town has a general store, and they're all pretty much the same; ditto poker game, gunsmith, train station), and the immersion brought on by the fantastic visuals starts to fade.

Red Dead Redemption has a lot going for it. In addition to the story, there is great breadth of gameplay — there are a lot of different things you can go and do to pass the time, even if none of them are particularly deep in themselves. The gameplay elements also come together in strange and satisfying ways — you can scare somebody into starting a bar fight and then watch them get taken down by a deputy, or pull somebody off their horse, then ride over and knock off a poker game to get money to pay your bounty.

The story and characters are engaging, and if you're looking for a game where the fighting and strategy don't get in the way of a great old west adventure, then this is right up your alley. If you want complex combat mechanics, gameplay that's balanced and challenging, or more shooting and less storytelling, then you'll probably want to pass. All in all, Rockstar should be extremely proud of the world they created. With this game they've nicely demonstrated the viability of a western setting for this type of game.

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Review: Red Dead Redemption

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  • GTH (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @11:59AM (#32337176)
    I thought they were going to call this Grand Theft Horse?
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:01PM (#32337206)

    I've been playing computer and console games as long as they've existed and the environment in RDR blew me away. Great set design and decoration, wonderful sound and lighting. As impressive as the density is of cityscapes like GTA 4 and Saints Row 2 convincing nature settings are extremely hard to pull off but RDR does it. Sun, dust, shade, scrub, elevation changes... it makes the attempt by games like Oblivion and Fallen Earth almost laughable.

    I've spent the first hour just riding around and hunting, or looking for people to interact with.

    • Just Cause 2 also has a really nice environment, I haven't played RDR yet though. I saw an ad for it at one point but I didn't realise it was an open world Rock Star game. Just finding that out alone makes me want to try it :)

    • by justin12345 (846440) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @03:40PM (#32340300)
      I have to say I agree with the review. The art and sandbox activities are great -- the combat system, not so much. I love hunting, and roping wild horses. The beauty of the landscapes honestly made me want to go out west again this year for vacation (though I can barely stay on a horse at all).

      As far as combat goes, I quickly got to the point that I wasn't even bothering to use the cover system, just doing the most tactically ridiculous thing possible, usually running (inappropriately on horseback where possible) into a crowd of enemies to see if I could survive dispatching them all, which usually I could. Not only do they make it extremely easy to do naturally (you can get shot about 5 times before needing to take cover for 5 seconds to heal), but you have medicine and Deadeye at your disposal, at which point you might as well be invincible.

      Setting the combat to expert doesn't help, as it simply makes combat frustrating. Aiming in free mode is impossible as the cursor moves too slowly to react. Its like moving underwater.

      Its funny that you mention Oblivion, as I find myself comparing this game to another Bethesda title: Fallout 3. The scenery is similar, as is some of the weaponry. Both blatantly recycle game engines from previous titles. The two games are somewhat opposite to one another as far as what they get right and what they get wrong. The art, animation, voice acting, and attention to detail go to RDR, probably because Rockstar has more money then god to throw at art. The controls and combat go to Fallout 3: I would very much like to be able to switch to first person in combat in RDR, and VATS is much better then Deadeye, especially with its slow motion cinematic kills. With RDR you don't really get the "feel" of the gun you are using like you do in Fallout 3. In Fallout 3, the 44 Magnum "feels" a lot different then the 10mm, even on "very easy" where they both do about the same damage. In RDR, it doesn't really matter what gun you use. Some are more powerful, but the game doesn't "fetishize" the weapons like Fallout 3 does. Speaking as someone who owns some of the weapons portrayed in RDR, they missed a huge opportunity there.

      Fallout 3 also gets right that you need to pay attention to your character's overall well being. Part of being in the Southwest is that the environment itself will kill you. You need water, shelter, sleep, food, etc. So does your horse. In RDR you can ride for 5 days and nights having never slept or even gotten off your horse to no ill effect; In Fallout 3, by then you would have radiation poisoning, be addicted to a few drugs, and maybe have a few crippled limbs had you not maintained yourself.

      Don't get me wrong, I love both games, but it would be great if Rockstar could steal a few pages from Bethesda's playbook, and Bethesda could spend a little more attention to graphics, physics, voice acting and all the little things that draw you into RDR but you have to just try to overlook in Fallout 3 or Oblivion.
      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        Both blatantly recycle game engines from previous titles.

        Not to disagree with your other points, but I don't understand this complaint in particular. "Recycling" a game engine is the entire point of creating a game engine. Quite frankly, it's a waste of money to rewrite an engine too often. Money otherwise spent re-inventing technology can be put into art and gameplay development.

        • Actually I didn't mean it as a criticism, just as a fact. I meant to say that neither company was introducing significant, new technology; something I would take into account when making a comparison between two games. By using the word blatant I meant "openly" not "unashamedly".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dalambertian (963810)
        As far as maintaining your character is concerned, I think that's something Rockstar tried with San Andreas. The majority of people complained that their character had to eat and exercise to stay in shape. I think it's partly that feedback and in part because Rockstar is trying to reflect a lot of the tropes of Western cinema. For example the dead-eye mechanic does a pretty good job of making you feel like the-man-with-no-name: walking up to a bunch of bad guys yammering at you and taking them all out in a
        • Yeah San Andreas did implement that poorly, and Fable 2 for that matter was also annoying. Having to micromanage your character's physique is never fun. Few people take true pleasure in micromanaging their physique even in real life, and I have a feeling their aren't the target demographic for most video games. (I'm not making the lame joke that gamers are all fat slobs; in fact I just got back from the gym... I just hated every boring minute of it.)

          With the maintaining you heath (as opposed to physique)
          • You're right, it's about whether such features add to the feel of the story. By the way, I once saw a man in RDR rear his horse suddenly and jump down for seemingly no reason. I stopped my horse and walked it over to him. The guy was taking a leak on the side of the road. When he finished, he muttered something, got back on his horse and kept moving. I couldn't help feeling a little embarrassed.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      With the GTA games and now this under their belt, it looks to me like they could go for something space-based.

      Like, oh, the Firefly/Serenity franchise. That would be awesome.

  • ...I recently had the misfortune of discovering a couple of older gems on the Nintendo DS. Etrian Odyssey, Summon Night: Twin Age, and a couple of others have been taking up nearly all of my gaming time lately :/

    • Kudos to you on summon night. I've got swordcraft story 1 & 2 for the gba.. i love them both

      PLENTY of time logged into them
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        The one for the DS ("Twin Age") feels like a cross between Diablo and Seiken Densetsu 2. I don't generally dig games on the DS that are stylus-only, but it's good. The storyline at first glance follows a generic formula, but it's done so well that I don't even care...it got its hooks in me early!

  • That immersion is broken a bit by how many people you end up running into. The towns and farms have an appropriate number of NPCs wandering about, but the number of bad guys you run into during your travels must outnumber the normal folks 10:1. As you ride around the wilderness on your horse, you frequently come across other travelers, or NPCs that need help (or want to kill you), and it makes the game world seem much more populated than it could ever be in reality. It's a gameplay conceit, and I can't really fault them for it; a game world with a truly appropriate number of people would either be infeasibly huge (think Daggerfall) or so barren that you have almost nothing to do.

    why not just generic terrain thats dynamically created, and make an encounter system, and just make a huge, real world size map which will work with coordinates ? remember how fallout and fallout 2 handled it ? a huge, real life size map, with real life size travel speed, on which you could have encounters. you can generically create the encounter environment and the environment can be limited, therefore maintaining the memory and resource constraints. and this still would maintain the immersion. after all,

    • I find travel maps in and of themselves to break the immersion in a game. They're necessary in many games, don't get me wrong, but I actually like traveling around by memory, where that bush really is a landmark I use. Fallout 1 & 2 were great, but I wouldn't hold up their random encounter system as the best approach. Personally, I'm a fan of the way the handled it in Fallout 3; the map is available, but if you want to play it with greater immersion, walking everywhere is feasible. They just collapsed t

      • by unity100 (970058)
        immersion in fallout 3 ? you encounter some town, you walk 1000 meters, you encounter a whole bunch of super mutants with miniguns, who are enemies of the town you saw before. one would think that if they fired their miniguns from 1 km, they would obliterate the town they are the enemies of, but it doesnt happen that way, for some reason.

        entire factions, technologies, resources are placed in some few km2 areas. THAT breaks the immersion.

        in addition, had you been doing this thing in real life, you WOUL
    • Haven't played Daggerfall but I think its similar to how you described. The area available in the game is supposedly twice the size of Britain, most of which was generated randomly. The Wikipedia article says that it is still the largest amount of explorable terrain in any game to date. (May, 2010). Apparently, its also downloadable and runnable in Dosbox, I'm going to have to check it out. Anyways, the point I was trying to make:

      For these kinds of games, you -NEED- a fast travel kind of mechanic. You can't

      • by kalirion (728907)

        Haven't played Daggerfall but I think its similar to how you described. The area available in the game is supposedly twice the size of Britain, most of which was generated randomly.

        I wouldn't be surprised if its even larger than that. However most of it is empty of anything other than said randomly generated terrain, and the occasional random encounter with an animal or bandit.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          However most of it is empty of anything other than said randomly generated terrain, and the occasional random encounter with an animal or bandit.

          If you generate terrain randomly, then you also need to generate content randomly/procedurally. That means starting with an empty world, generating geology, laying out cities and such and letting them develop in simulated history, then using that data to generate the final terrain (with buildings, random encounters, quests etc.) during the actual gameplay. I'm pre

          • by kalirion (728907)

            Well, Daggerfall has plenty of random cities and dungeons (not procedurally generated history though). There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cities and dungeons and tombs and what not in Daggerfall. However that's kinda like saying that the galaxy is full of stars - there might be a billion stars in the Milky Way, but you wouldn't want to fly to the next one without an FTL drive.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Do it like Arcanum: You have the World map and can walk anywhere either on that or in the local area map. No fast travel (unless you use teleport magic, trains or ships), but you can still travel across a small continent in a reasonable time - and find special locations by passing near them.

        It's nowhere near perfect due to technical limitations of the engine, of course; for example, there are no roads or railroads between cities because that would require them be placed manually (as opposed to being able to

    • by Like2Byte (542992)

      and this still would maintain the immersion. after all, in real life, you do not remember every bush you pass by while traveling a 1000 mile road, do you ? nor you even care.

      Ah, yes, I practically do. I travel a lot. A lot. So much so that I live, full time, in an RV. Being able to recognize your surroundings is a basic human trait so one can "orient" their inner mental image of their own personal map so they know where they are in relation to everything else.

      Some objects, bushes included, can be center to

      • by unity100 (970058)

        Some objects, bushes included,

        youre talking about TYPES of bushes. whereas im talking about a SINGLE, PARTICULAR bush.

        • by Dun Malg (230075)
          No, he means individual bushes, as in "there's that gnarled creosote growing right next to a chunk of sandstone; that's where I turn left". Yes, that is how you remember things in the real world backcountry.
          • by unity100 (970058)
            yeah, over 1000 miles distance ?
            • by Like2Byte (542992)

              Yes.

              I have a question for you. Have you ever lived outside of your own city? or have you only lived in a few cities in your life.

              I travel extensively and practically know the entire eastern seaboard from Massachusetts to Florida stretching to Kansas City (in my adult life).

              My Pre-adult life I spent a great deal of time in CA, HI, and CO.

              • by unity100 (970058)
                yea i have lived outside of my own city, and i traveled a lot, and my country has a lot of distinctive features in every mile you go. however, despite i have passed from the same roads by bus maybe 100 times, i dont remember most of them.

                if i was a traveler traveling alone by horse in anywhere, including american midwest, i wouldnt be taking my directions from random bushes and trying to remember them, but watching for never changing landmark geographical features.
    • I like the way Arcanum handled the world map. Cities and fixed locations were hand-designed, but outside of these areas terrain was randomly generated according to the whichever part of the map you were on, desert, forest, mountains etc.

      What really impressed me was that you could travel everywhere without ever using the world map. Sure, it would take you ages to travel anywhere by foot in real time (go realism!), but you could if you wanted to. Everything was connected by proper distances instead of some in

      • by unity100 (970058)
        235 km2 is still too small, despite the idea sounds good.
  • Bah (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:11PM (#32337352)
    Let me know when it comes out on PC, till then, bah.
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Narishma (822073) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:20PM (#32337470)

      If it's anything like their previous game, it'll come out on PC in 6 months and require a 4 or 6 core CPU to run correctly. They'll probably also want you to subscribe to 2 or 3 different services that you will have to run before you can start the game.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yeah, Rockstar can go fuck themselves when it comes to PC ports, which are usually of a shitty quality to top their insane DRM. Actually, given that I do not have a console and will not get one, they can go fuck themselves completely.
        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Their port of Vice City was pretty sweet, actually. Then again, that was, as The Dark Crystal put it, another world and another time.

    • Even then it might be a lame port where the controls are horrible.
    • Re:Bah (Score:4, Informative)

      by kitserve (1607129) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:36PM (#32337664) Homepage
      Not that the two games are in any way on the same level of polish, but if you're wanting some multiplayer cowboy fps fun on the PC, I suggest checking out Smokin' Guns [smokin-guns.net]. It's a free game based on the Quake 3 engine, been around for a few years now, it's showing its age but I've had a fair few entertaining evenings playing it with my gaming buddies.


    • I'm with you. I prefer PC shooters. But don't get your hopes up. Console shooter ports are tied to a poor mapping of the controls from the original platform. All kinds of annoying menu systems and such, too.
  • "Five Finger Fillet," a game where you tap buttons in a certain order and rhythm while Marston correspondingly drives a knife into the table around his splayed fingers.

    Anyone else remember doing that in the bar in Full Throttle, except you had to click between the fingers very quickly?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I most definately do. I also remember clicking on different part of the hand just to see how bloody and scarred I could make it.

  • by kyz (225372) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:17PM (#32337416) Homepage

    As a bonus, if you get the game now, you can also check out some of the hilarious bugs in the game, like the amazing donkey-lady [youtube.com] or the woman flapping her wings [youtube.com].

    I knew I was going to get something full of bugs when the Rockstar Spouse [gamasutra.com] told us about the mismanagement at Rockstar San Diego - burned out coders and testers working 6-7 days a week don't notice things like women with the face of a donkey, or dogs that shoot guns, or flying people.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      I was thinking of getting this game this week - and after seeing that donkey bug, now I KNOW I want to get it. That's one of the best. bugs. ever.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @03:10PM (#32339980) Homepage Journal

      dogs that shoot guns

      So the saloon door swings open, the piano player stops, and a dog with a bandage on one foot and packin' a six-shooter limps in.

      He heads up to the bar, tosses a coin to the bartender, and laps up a glass of whiskey.

      Then he turns around, looks out at the folks in the saloon, and growls, "I'm lookin' fer the man who shot my paw."

    • Don't forget about cougar man [youtube.com].
  • Appropiate (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:19PM (#32337452)

    Don't you think the western is much more appropiate to the life you'll probably live in a Grand Theft Whatever game?

    After all, in a modern world it's quite a stretch to imagine you can enter a city, kill twenty people, steal a car, go away and never be found. However, in the far west it's just something that could happen and that they were specifically aware about.

    I hope it comes to the PC so I can see how well they implemented the possibility of killing an entire city and burning down everything until only a long stain of blood and ashes remains.

    Otherwise I'll be forced to carry on with my plan to conque... Some personal project I'm not ready to talk about.

    Yet.

    • by mike260 (224212)

      The irony is that it's actually a lot more restrained than GTA. Things always had a way of escalating into horrific, indiscriminate massacres in that game, whereas you can quite easily get through RDR with only a handful of deaths on your conscience.

      The flip side is that you can be really, really unpleasant when you feel the situation warrants it. The last guy that tried to steal my horse got dumped in the middle of wolf country on a moonless night, along with a healthy dollop of animal-bait.

  • Got this day opening day. Was difficult to get; went to 4 places and they were sold out. Number 5 hit the jack pot. Looking forward to spending long hours playing this like I did with GTA-IV. I can't say enough about the on-line play. R* did good work on history and a lot of the slang from the 1900's. A few of the structured on line games are a bit confusing. Random interactions with other players and their posy's is true to the lawlessness that you would run into with people with weapons and questio
  • by Itchyeyes (908311) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:29PM (#32337560) Homepage

    I've been playing this game pretty much non-stop since last week, and loving every minute of it. I've never been a fan of the GTA games, but despite RDR playing almost identically it appeals to me significantly more.

    Perhaps it's just the atmosphere, but it feels much more like an RPG than a shooter or action game. It's certainly every bit as much of an RPG as Mass Effect 2 was. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something good to play.

  • "It's a gameplay conceit" ...

    No, it's a compromise.

  • This game is amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@gamerslaC ... minus physicist> on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:36PM (#32337654) Homepage Journal

    truly a great game. I can't stop playing it.

    If only rockstart would do a pirate game like this now.

    That would be great!

  • LOVE this game... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AdamTrace (255409) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:42PM (#32337730)

    I've been playing computer games for about 30 years now, and RDR has grabbed me like few other games before it. Very few games would compel me to take time out of my day to write a post about it.

    I don't like or dislike Western movies/games any more than the next guy, but they really nailed the atmosphere and setting. The game is beautiful. I've stopped to admire the vistas by starlight, and watched the sunrise from the porch of the general store while I waited for it to open. Riding through the wilderness in a thunderstorm, I was struck at just how wet and miserable everything looked. At atmosphere is great.

    The writing and voice acting in the game is superb. Seriously, top notch. The writing is especially smart and poignant, and very engaging.

    I really enjoyed both GTA:SA and GTA IV. I'm a big fan of the open world, where you can choose to follow the story line missions, or do side missions, or simply go out and explore. RDR has this in spades. It's so fun to load up your game and decide "what do I want to do today?" You always have a list of jobs to do, and they are all optional, so you can choose your own adventure. Hunting animals for skins (to sell for money), playing poker and other mini games, deciphering and following treasure maps, getting in shootouts with bandits, to say nothing of advancing the storyline by doing the set missions.

    I haven't set foot in multiplayer yet, but I hear that is a lot of fun as well. I feel like I could go on and on. I'm completely smitten by this game.

    A brief caveat is that there are some bugs. I've only seen one or two myself, but lots of people are reporting lots of issues.

    If you've watched or read any reviews and the game sounds at all interesting, I can't recommend it enough.

    Adman

  • As someone who grew up in the southwest and spent a lot of my childhood hiking and camping, the best part about this game was the setting. The developers obviously made a huge effort to make each area of the game's world realistic. Each region has it's own flora, fauna, and geology, all drawn from real life. I can match every region up to part of Arizona, Utah or Colorado that looks just like it. Outstanding work!
  • Dead Eye (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @01:47PM (#32338658)

    I like how the review complains about Dead Eye, and notes that being able to shoot a bunch of people really quickly with a pistol is an "odd ability for a historical shooter." Have you ever even SEEN a Western? The lone man fanning the hammer on his pistol and dropping four people in moments is pretty standard fare in any of the spaghetti/Eastwood westerns.

  • I prefer to play cowboy with real guns.
    http://www.sassnet.com/ [sassnet.com]
  • Uh, yeah? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @02:59PM (#32339838)

    It's a gameplay conceit, and I can't really fault them for it.

    Well, yeah, what with it being a game and all.

  • How is this game compared to old Outlaws [wikipedia.org] game for PC/DOS?

  • I grabbed the free "classic rockstar downloads" from rockstar.com (GTA I and II, in particular) some time ago for my PC. Since then they have sent me weekly updates on the progress of red dead revolver / red dead redemption as they progressed along. Yet in all of that advertising they never seemed to care that I ended up on their lists after downloading PC games, and they were singing the praises of games that are at this moment not slated to ever see a PC release.
  • So it's basically "The Elder Scrolls: Texas"?
  • by harl (84412) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:00PM (#32342160)

    The auto target system works in multiplayer. Yes you can actually lock onto other humans. There is zero skill involved in shooting someone.

    The one game I tried with Expert targeting it game me a 100xp expert targeting bonus. The problem is that every game I've played with normal targeting I've received a 100xp normal targeting bonus.

    Obviously this completely breaks multiplayer.

  • The first half of the game didn't need to be set in 1911. It would have worked in any time period of the Old West. You help the town marshall, help a rancher's daughter, and hunt down a gang. The second half of the game takes place in Mexico during the Revolution. I don't care for it much. The first mission that sets you on the path to helping the revolutionaries is frustratingly difficult. You have to maneuver a wagon in a set amount of time while killing some federales. The killing isn't so hard.

    • Interestingly there appears to be no Native Americans at all - none I've seen mentioned in reviews anyway. Presumably a political decision.

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