Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Red Dead Redemption Review

Red Dead Redemption is an absolutely amazing game! I had serious doubts after playing GTAIV, but I assure you if you have been putting off buying this game NOW is the time!                    I can't get over how R* could make 2 games that use the same engine and are basically the same game and one be so amazing and one suck such tremendous balls. May I be so bold as to say John Marston should be considered in the same tier as some of video games most celebrated characters like Solid Snake, Master Chief, Kratos, Samus, Mario, Sonic and the like. I'm actually very surprised at how much more enjoyable RDR is compared to GTAIV. I think I need to attribute that to the main character, the time period, and the environment. John Marston is a much more appealing character regardless of how you play him compared to Niko Bellic who I found kinda grating. Or maybe it was his annoying as shit cousin. And the environment, as cool as it was....was still not that appealing, maybe because it was the whole Liberty City 2.0 or the fact that I live minutes away from Manhattan and Liberty city just isn't that exotic to me. 
On the other hand the American frontier at the turn of the century is fascinating, the push westward held for many the promise of a new beginning. And that is exactly where the games protagonist finds himself, Marston has returned to New Austin to track down men from a former outlaw life, bring them to justice so he can begin his new life with his wife and son.

Red Dead Redemptions' main story is broken into four chapters that take place in the three distinct areas, New Austin, Nuevo Paraiso  and West Elizabeth. These fictional area's are based on the Rio Grande area of Texas and Mexico. Throughout the story you will come across some very unique characters, The first person you meet after getting off the train in Armadillo is Jake, an old scruffy man who shows you the way to Fort Mercer where you're told Bill Williamson is holed up with his gang. Things don't go according to plan and you end up on the MacFarlane Ranch where you meet Bonnie, as the story progresses you meet US Marshal Leigh Johnson in Armadillo and offer to help him clean up the town of outlaws. You also meet up with Nigel West Dickens a purveyor of fine elixirs and tonics that can cure almost any ailment...he's a scam artist. John is informally introduced to Irish and Seth Briars, the later a gollum-like grave robber/treasure hunter, the former a....you guessed it a drunk. These men offer to assist you in capturing Bill Williamson. 
In the second chapter John tracks Wiliamson to Mexico and meets up with a host of new personalities like Landon Ricketts a legendary gunfighter from Marston's childhood, the revolutionaries Abraham Reyes and Luisa Fortuna, and Captain De Santa who eventually helps you capture Javier Escuella. By the end of the second chapter John has tracked down Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella and helped  Abraham Reyes topple the government.
The third chapter has John travel to West Elizabeth where we learn more about his motivations for hunting down members of his old gang. At this point in the story works directly with agent Edgar Ross, and agent Archer Fordham to track down the leader of John's old gang Dutch van der Linde. With the help of 
Native-American informant Nastas we find Dutch's hideout.
The final chapter show's John reunited with his wife Abigail and now teenage son Jack on their ranch.
The final chapters show John struggling to rebuild his ranch as well as his family, seeing John trying to mold his son into a man the player sees that Jack is very different from John and the two have very little in common.  Interestingly it's guns that tore them apart years ago and guns are what bring them together....

I cannot stress how impressed I was with this game, the story, character development and environments are honestly better than some hollywood  movies. I said it before, John Marston is one of the most interesting well developed video game characters I've ever played, by the third chapter the player has a clear understanding of his motivations and a vested interest in his story. The ending is phenomenal, it's bittersweet and will leave players and those just watching feeling like they were bucked off their horse.   The towns of Armadillo, Black water, and the rest are perfectly reproductions of towns seen in so many spaghetti westerns and the environments across New Austin, Nuevo Paraiso  and West Elizabeth Chuparossa  have captured the beauty of the American South West.
Aside from the main story there are hours of "side quests", Ambient Challenges in four different aspects that constitute the men of that time- Treasure Hunter, Master Hunter, Sharpshooter and Survivalist. Throughout the story you'll also stumble upon secondary characters that offer you mini tasks to complete, these staranger missions help flesh out the world of Red Dead Redemtion even more. And if that wasn't enough there are six mini games offered all around the towns in Red Dead Redemtion, Five finger Fillet, Arm Wrestling, Blackjack, Horseshoes, Liars Dice, Poker...I'd like to thank my wife for getting a ringer in Horseshoes or I might still be struggling to reach 100% completion of the single player game! 
Red Dead Redemption is a masterpiece that has an incredibly memorable story and main character, with a gorgeous and expansive environment populated by some very colorful characters. If that wasn't enough R* has also included a multiplayer game in RDR  that utilizes the entire single player world. There is plenty to keep players occupied in the multiplayer game from FFA, TDM, Free Roam etc.
R* also incorporated their Social Club into the game, by registering on R*'s Social Club website you can track your progress in the game meet other players and see when R* plans to host Multiplayer events.
For parents I recommend this game for kids at least 15 years old, it's nowhere near as controversial as the GTA series but there is graphic violence and occasional F-bombs.