Red Dead Redemption Review

Score: 98 / 100
Good: Live the old west, outstanding graphics, smooth and sexy gameplay, tons of weapons, elegant horse riding / breaking system, amazing combat, phenomenal multiplayer
Bad: Multiplayer menus
Reviewed On: PS3

The Backdrop...

Ever since I was a kid I have been hooked on old western movies. Perhaps it was because my grandparents loved them and I spent so much time at their place or maybe it was because every western I watched portrayed a complete badass as a main character. In fact, some of the most iconic names in cinema history were western characters or western actors: John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Wild Bill Hickok, etc.

Enter Red Dead Redemption. Not only can you play through the old west of 1911 but you get to play as John Marston, one of the most badass cowboys, that can't swim, ever created.

The Singleplayer...

Playing through this singleplayer can be easily compared to sitting down, blowing the dust off of your VCR, and popping in your favorite old western (after you rewind the tape of course). What I am trying to say here is that RDR has one of the smoothest, most in depth open world singleplayers your money can buy.

While the first part of the game might seem like a long tutorial, it is cleverly disguised with action and drama as the game immediately begins to suck you into its rich storyline. Trivial tasks, such as patrolling a ranch at night to get you familiar with the controls, soon become varmint shootouts.

As the storyline progresses, it starts to become apparent that Rockstar developed this title. With the ability to lasso new horses, acquire loads of new weapons, and shoot anyone/anything you see, Rockstar took the best parts of their GTA formula and implemented them into RDR. In fact, the controls for this game are almost identical to GTAIV.

John Marston's story will take you through the dusty American west, filthy old Mexico, and even the "new technologically advanced" western city known as Blackwater (not to mention some adventures into an American frontier mountain range). In each setting of the game, the Storyline advances to uncover your tireless effort to hunt down your old gang and kill its remaining members to free your family from the clutches of the government. I know that sounds somewhat cliché, but RDR makes it work...hard.

Some notable game mechancis include the easy to use and flawless cover system (as seen in such games as Gears of War), the "dead eye" Red Dead series slow-mo shooting system, the "sexy smooth but not always easy" auto-aim, and horse riding and roping. It basically comes down to this: take cover behind anything, smoothly target in on your enemies, and keep your horse hitch full of variety by being able to lasso, break, and own any wild horse in the game.

Multiplayer...

Take everything I have said about the singleplayer, add people and an unlock system, and you have RDR's incredible multiplayer. Few games literally let you play the singleplayer world online. Rockstar got it right with the GTAIV multiplayer and beautifully implemented it into this title.

A few of the multiplayer options include free DLC co-op missions, gang matches, open world roaming and killing with several other people, and old western style shootouts. There are also several game types that build off of these core concepts.

The Visuals...

I have to say that RDR might be the most beautiful game on any system. I would rather stare at this game than play Crysis on a system that can run it on full graphics any day of the week.

Where you see, you can go. Rockstar went above and beyond to capture the unsettled American west and delivered a title that can captivate anyone who sees it. At one point of playing through RDR, my 86 year old grandmother walked in the room when the sun was coming up over the prairie. I got to a good vantage point, sat my controller down, and we just watched it for 15 minutes straight.

The Disappointments....

I, like most people, will be the first to point out that the Mexico portion of the game seemed a little out of place. While it doesn't hurt the game, it just takes way too long to get through it. And, as you are leaving Mexico, you find yourself wondering why you were even there in the first place. It was fascinating to see old Mexico, but it felt like they should have ended the vacation a couple days earlier.

Also, the multiplayer menus are not friendly at all. They are probably the only learning curve this game has. In fact, they are so bad I have to give my friends tutorials on how to use them every time we want to play together. Shame Rockstar. Shame.

Overall...

If you like video games, own this game. If you like the old west, own this game. If you have ever wanted to tie people up, put them on train tracks, and twirl your wax covered mustache while laughing hysterically as a train comes barreling down the tracks to destroy your victims, own this game. I honestly could not list enough reasons for you to own this game if I tried. So I will leave you with this: Red Dead Redemption is one of the best video games on the market...ever.

PS there are a lot of other game features and mechanics that I didn't bring up in the review that add to the overall brilliance of this game (like the ability to play card games, acquire all kinds of outfits, and skin animals for their meat and fur).

- Tyler Sanders

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