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Red Dead Redemption

aka: Grand Theft Horse, RDR
Xbox 360 Specs [ all ]
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Description official descriptions

Red Dead Redemption is a free-roaming western game and the spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver. The game is set in 1911, where players take control of John Marston, an outlaw who is forced to turn on his peers when federal agents threaten his family. He is sent to the American frontier to capture his former gang members, especially the notorious leader Bill Williamson.

In the open world, the player is free to follow the storyline or partake in the various events that occur while exploring the West; similar in overall design to Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series. Horses are the main means of transportation, and the player can whistle for their mount at any time. Players can also visit towns, talk to other characters, and join or intervene in events such as public hangings, ambushes, and robberies. Many of these are random, including dangerous animal attacks and bandit ambushes. Other activities include hunting, gambling, duels, and standoffs, with guns as the main weapon.

Based on the player's decisions, two morality systems (honor and fame) influence how the environment and other characters react to Marston. Marston can shoot while riding a horse and capture people by lasso, combined with a cover system with specific targeting or wildfire. In the recharging "Dead Eye" targeting mode, time is slowed down to target different enemies in specific locations, and then execute the shots in rapid succession. The player can also set up camps anywhere in the world to fast travel to known locations or save their game.

Multiplayer is supported through free-for-all, team, and capture-the-flag modes, introducing crates with weapons and power-ups. Games start with a Mexican standoff where the survivor receives some extra time to gather items while the others are respawning. Similar to Grand Theft Auto IV, there is a continuous free-roaming mode where players can team up in posses to form a party and engage computer-controlled gangs. Posses are made up of a maximum of eight players and all multiplayer games support a maximum of sixteen players. During multiplayer, the characters can level up and gain access to new mount breeds, character models, and weapon skins.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

1,256 People (1,255 developers, 1 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 93% (based on 80 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 110 ratings with 3 reviews)

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.

Xbox 360 · by Asinine (957) · 2011

John Marston tops Tommy Vercetti as a great character.

The Good
LET’S TALK GAME-PLAY:

  • Camera is Co-operative, it does little things to help you out when it comes to cover/etc.
  • Missions are coherent and to the point, you don’t need to check notes to understand what you need to do.
  • Failure and death are forgiving, they’ll put you back in the action quickly.
  • Map is well-done. The in-game map and the printed map from the keep case actually each have different tips on them, using both is helpful.
  • The Weapon-switching wheel is innovative, although if you’re spastic you might fumble it.
  • Scaling (how big the map is and distance between points) is appropriate; a long journey feels long but is maybe 3-4 minutes.
  • The auto-aim is one of the best I’ve seen, it almost makes it too easy.
  • In the words of the Eidos Manual for Thief: The Dark Project “You are not a tank.” If you eat two loads of buck-shot at close range you’re dead. I like that danger.
  • The physics engine is usually really good.
  • They gave me my mini-games. No complaining there!

LET’S TALK GRAPHICS:

  • John Marston is one bad-ass looking guy. He’s like if Clint Eastwood got in a brawl with a wolverine.
  • A lot of the characters are ugly, hard-living people who I know must smell bad. I love it!
  • Good palette, nice texture mapping, good perspective focus. Good job all around.
  • Blood is handled in an interesting way, it stains realistically and then fades in reverse.
  • Interior spaces only suffer from a slight ‘huge’ perspective. Pet peeve in most games, okay here.
  • Very good attention to period clothing.
  • Fire is done well, as well as realistic dynamite explosions.

LET’S TALK STORY:

  • You can quote me: “Not since Yakuza (1) have I seen quite this much ‘right’ in a story.” I’ll talk about this more below in the sum-up.
  • These guys did their homework about the time period. This game is just rammed full of historical, religious, and literate references that work wonderfully.

LET’S TALK SOUND:

  • Gunshots, ricochets, Wilhelm screams, all great.
  • The voice acting is superb. Seriously, the dialects are right, the FBI guys sound right, the NPC’s and whore’s sound right. It takes serious effort to get this right.
  • The music is very fitting and dynamic. When the music spurs you on it’s doing a good job. When one of the battle theme's kicked in while I was rescuing a friend the music got the hairs on the back of my neck up. I love that!
  • The random things John says when performing tasks really add to his character. Looting corpses, skinning foxes, doesn’t matter – the man is great fun to play as.



The Bad
LET’S TALK GAME-PLAY:

  • There is a dichotomy between writing and general execution in this and most other Rockstar games. The sheer amount of people you kill in this game is terrible. It’s actually disconcerting just how many guys you kill and it makes human life and killing (a central plot focus) lose some of its kick. Bethesda is really good at scaling the amount of murder you do, Rockstar could learn a lesson from them.
  • The ambient quests (activities you can do at any time, herb collecting, gold finding, hunting, trick shooting) feel too much like World of Warcraft. These are the things you had to do in WoW for crafting professions/etc. RDR doesn’t have that kind of scope to it to allow for ambient questing. I don’t need this busy work when there are better developed quests out there that I won’t play because I got bored of the game picking flowers.
  • The dead-eye trick shooting wasn’t really that useful to me. The auto-aim actually out-performs it. So the specialist feature of the game is kind of underwhelming.
  • Some of the AI and a bit of the engine is a little wonky. Funny Story:I was on a thin little path on the side of a cliff looking for treasure map gold. My expensive horse walked by me during the cut-scene. Already I’m thinking “Oh, you do not fall off that cliff!” I get control back, walk forward, no horse. He’s just gone. So I try to peek over the edge to see if I can see his body, and John just pitches forward off this cliff head-first. Except the physics engine can’t have that. I GLIDE at a 30 degree angle, head first, towards the river. My legs are flailing comically, and I swear he reaches up and grabs his hat before plunking into the river below. It was instant death because water is fatal. Hi-larious.
  • Every other weapon on the wheel gets an upgrade except the knife. It just stood out as weird.

LET’S TALK GRAPHICS:

  • Typically the engine is solid, although if enough camera-jerking is involved the textures degrade for a while.
  • The default camera distance Is a little far back from what I’m used to.

LET’S TALK SOUND:

  • Nothing really to complain about here.

LET’S TALK STORY:

  • The main storyline is the best I’ve seen since Yakuza. You want my advice; for the best experience do the main storyline all in one go. Come do the mini-stuff after or just whichever quests you think are best later. I’m not going to spoil it for you, and trust me, I haven’t.



The Bottom Line
“I’m a semi-literate farmer and hired killer. I ain’t in the power game.” – John Marston

When Duke Nukem : Forever came out there was something suddenly obvious about Duke: He’s a shallow asshole character from the 90’s. He’s not cool anymore. Characters in games have evolved so much since then; it’s no longer enough to have a stereotype. I blame games like Silent Hill and Metal Gear for this, giving writing an honest hand in a character. When Rockstar gave us GTA: Vice City I was enthralled with Ray Liotta’s ‘Tommy Vercetti’ character. Since then they've been pretty decent.

They’ve upped themselves considerably with John Marston, and in many ways he makes the game worth playing. Here’s a man who grew up believing in personal freedom, following a rougish Robin Hood style bandit who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Unfortunately his idol went a little crazy. The gang left John for dead at a shootout with the law.
When his wounds healed John decided to start a new life, a straight life, with his wife, daughter, and young son. The law hadn’t forgotten him though, and as the game starts the newly formed FBI is blackmailing John into rounding up members of his old gang. What this arm twisting does and how it affects John Marston is what gives his character so many nuances. Here’s a man who has little qualms about killing, trying hard to live a good life by the law despite his violent past. Now the law comes and takes his family as black-mail and forces him to hunt down his former friends. At every turn he is used by others for their own goals, and it doesn’t take much pushing before John tells you kindly that he will shoot you in the head. When the FBI commander asks him how he feels about killing an old comrade John calmly replies “I’d rather kill you 100 times instead”.

This is movie-worthy characterization. Good direction, good writing, good acting. The GTA format is rejuvenated by something this well-crafted. The timing is poignant: it is 1911 – World War I is wrapping up and the Wild West is becoming tamed. Men like John Marston have got to play by the rules now, no more free living – the government is federalising, the FBI doesn’t tolerate groups of free men doing whatever they like.

They gave this guy a backstory that is directly relevant to the plot. The writing does a great job of leaving enough mystery and ambiguity in John’s past, which is never shown but talked about frequently. It’s hard to do that well when you have flash-backs at your disposal, but here it feels right and ads tension. You see characters that you’ve been hearing about for hours for the first time and it’s exciting because you already have an idea of what they should be like, and you get to weigh them against your expectations.

And maybe best of all is the character motivation: Family. He has to turn his former family over to the law in exchange for his new one back. And he doesn’t want to; he’s being exhorted into it. You spend the whole game watching John trying to rein his patience in as he’s jerked around by people he’d gladly have killed in the past for crossing him. The point is he just wants his damn life back, and you want him to have it. When John is civil to his friends you admire and respect him for it. He calls himself a semi-literate farmer, but in reality he is well self-educated and has a wide vocabulary. He’s honest, open, and doesn’t like b.s. He’s a good man but a hard man, and he will go biblical on you with little provocation. And if John gets his family back, you get to see what you were fighting for this whole game. How often do you actually get the prize in a game?

PlayStation 3 · by Kyle Levesque (905) · 2012

Simply, a fun game

The Good
The game is set in the wild west, as the sequel of Red Dead Revolver. Like in GTA, it is possible to steal vehicles like horses and many more. When looking at the gameplay, you can say it's fairly easy. Anyone who has played GTA wont have a problem playing this game. A lot of missions, which consist of races are easy to complete. However, there are some missions which require a second try. But after all, this wont be a problem for the average game. Moving on to the graphics and sound, I think they are wonderful. Everything looks and sounds like in the really wild west, and there was never anything wrong at any time. On the other hand, the multiplayer option gives you the ability to free roam or to play death match or capture the flag style games. This was very much fun and very addicting.

The Bad
The only thing that bothered me, are the repetitive story missions that you get in the first half of the game. After that, I think everything in the game gets better.

The Bottom Line
This is a fun and action packed western game, better than its competitors and one of the best free roam and western games ever made.

PlayStation 3 · by Deleted (381) · 2010

Trivia

References

The famous Wilhelm scream known throughout many movies since the 50s makes an appearance in the game. During various times in the single player and multiplayer modes the sound effect will trigger when a person is shot and killed.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2010 – #2 Best Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2010 – #2 Best Graphics of the Year
  • GamePro (Germany)
    • 2011 - Best Console Game in 2011 (Readers' Voting)
    • 2011 - Best Console Action Game in 2011 (Readers' Voting)
  • GameSpy
    • 2010 – Game of the Year
    • 2010 – Action-Adventure Game of the Year

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  • MobyGames ID: 46614

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Pseudo_Intellectual, Big John WV, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Victor Vance.

Game added May 20th, 2010. Last modified September 1st, 2023.