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Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)

Mature
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
92
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Aug 19, 2011
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

I got myself one of d'em good games, partner

The Good

When I think about Rockstar, the first thing that comes to mind is a big city with lots of cars and skyscrapers, a world that looks impressive, but at the same time very crowded and overpopulated with potential murder victims. It's quite impressive to see how that same company made a version of the Wild-West that looks just as impressive as the cities in GTA, but without all the people and buildings. Both Mexico and America look beautiful and all the plants and animals that wander around give the impression that the world is truly alive.

As impressive as the world is, it is going to get pretty boring when you have to travel back and forth between towns to pick up missions, but Rockstar fixed this by throwing in an amazing amount of random events. If you spend some time in the open, you will run into quite a few ambushes and people that need your help with a quick job (like getting their horse back or killing a bandit) and these are good for some quick action and money. If you really don't feel like travelling then you can usually pay for a ride to wherever you need to go.

The story is pretty good and probably the best I have ever seen in a Rockstar game, you play as John, a former bandit turned farmer who is forced by the government to track down his former gang-members. In order to do so you must take on missions and travel all over an American state and even cross the border. The best part of the story are the many interesting characters you run into (and a quick sex-scene) and the many good jokes they make while you ride with them to the local gang hide-out which they want you to get rid off.

Once you get to the shooting in this game, you will notice that this is just a little different than in most games because machine guns were scarce in the Wild West. You will spend most your time in cover while using pistols and rifles to take down the enemies which more often then not outnumber you greatly. It can get pretty chaotic at time and those are the funniest moments because they give me an excuse to use my strongest weapons. I am also pretty fond of fighting while riding a horse because you can't get any more Western then that, it works very well and I never really had any problems when doing it.

The slow-motion ability is a bit out of place, but it works very well and it often saved my life when a bandit and his friends suddenly leveled up their AI and started flanking me. With a simple press off a button you slow everything down, allowing you to line up some good head-shots to make quick work of bandits, soldiers and drunkards. There are also some interesting moments where you use a turret, which is quite an experience after getting used to the slow-motion.

The Bad

While the characters all have very interesting personalities and it's interesting to learn more about them, I just hate the amount of negativity that oozes out of them. Every single character is either paranoid, drunk, a fraud or just wants to use you without doing anything back for you. I read in a recent review on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City that the same problem is present in that game and it just annoys me because I played through the entire game and I couldn't name a single character that I liked afterwards.

There are several glitches which often caused major problems, one time I was on a raft getting shot at by Mexican bandits as part of a mission, but suddenly John launched himself into outer space and I had to re-do half the mission again. A more recurring problem is when you want to kill bandits because sometimes you commit a crime by killing them even though they just finished stabbing a hooker in the breasts. I wouldn't mind this at all because the same happens in the few GTA games I played, but here you are supposed to be the good guy and committing a crime results in an hour long chase before you can continue doing your missions.

I played the multi-player a few times and every time I did the servers were almost completely empty and the few players I did run into weren't anywhere near as good as me and died every ten seconds after they spawned. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what I was supposed to do in the multi-player world which didn't get me anywhere and after that I just logged off because I don't really like playing with or against people I don't know and even if I did, I could name at least three games with a better online mode.

The Bottom Line

Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Horse as most people seem to call it, is a pretty swell game with a great story, atmosphere and gameplay. I really enjoyed playing it and the ending is one of my favorite video game endings in a triple-A title to date. Online it's a mess and there is something seriously wrong with a story where the most enjoyable character is your mount (not counting Mr. Ed), but overall this is a recommendation for fans of GTA and Western games.