Sibby Reviews – Red Dead Redemption

The old west never looked so good.

Recently I picked up a copy of Red Dead Redemption,with never playing the first one, and began playing it with utmost excitement. The game starts out as any other game with the government telling a man to kill another so that he can save his family. You are this man. You play as John Marston, an ex-outlaw, who is sent to kill one of the men who he used to do outlaw type stuff with. Together with various other locals John has to find a way to bring his old brother-in-arms to justice.

The setting is the old west, more specifically New Austin aka the Texas-Mexico border. Rockstar has done a wonderful designing the old west with loads of browns, light browns, and dark browns. That is to say the game is very dessert-y at the beginning. There are a few cacti and brush around that add a bit of green to the no man lands that is New Austin. And when you get further north they add whites and blues.  And the towns luckily all look different as they should. The scenery reminds me of Fallout 3 with it’s grays,light grays, and dark grays, but luckily Rockstar got their scenery right and it’s not that easy to get lost in New Austin if you never look at the map.

The gameplay is very nice. Marston does whatever you make him do. This can be anything from shooting to riding his horse to playing horseshoes. This is very nice when you’re running from some random gang who want you dead for seeing something that you should not have seen. And that happens quite a bit in this game. As does someone taking your horse. All of which can be easily fixed or avoided. The game implements two kinds of recognition bars: fame and honor. You start with no honor, no fame, and have to work to get them up or get them down as you see fit. Fame will only go one way, and the more famous you are the differently people treat you. Honor however goes both ways,  as the game progresses you can either gain or lose honor depending on your actions. However both sides of the Honor bar give you certain perks,  like people not reporting your crimes until you kill someone. They also put in a system called “Dead Eye Mode.” This allows John to target multiple opponents at once and then shoot them rather quickly. It reminded me of the VATS system from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but trickier to use. First off Dead Eye doesn’t stop time like VATS. It slows it down to a crawl allowing you to set up your shots, but at the same time allowing your enemies to shoot you back, by moving your aiming reticule over your enemies and then pulling the trigger to shoot all of your targets. Later in the game you can target certain parts like their guns, arms, and legs. There are four modes of travel in RDR. By foot, by horse, by carriage, and by train. The first two are free as John can run and starts with a horse, but the carriage and the train cost money depending on how far your going. Going by carriage is good for when you need to get somewhere off the train tracks, and can get you there without worrying about being attacked by bandits. The train is alright but can only stop at places that have train stations but is faster than all the other modes of travel.

The multiplayer is alright in my opinion. You start out like most multiplayer games now a days at level one with a gun and a mule. Every time you kill someone, player or npc, you get exp to increase your level which unlocks new weapons, avatars, and mounts. There are games to play and sights to see. I took my stint in multiplayer mode to familiarize myself with the games areas so that I could better play the story mode when I went back to play it. You have the ability to either join or form a posse. Which is pretty much a party like other games have except not as good. You can shoot things with your posse, or complete in game events. But that’s about it, the only good thing about them is that you can teleport to your posse leader if you need to.

The audio for this game is amazing. It helps set the mood correctly, and makes you feel like that you’re back in the old west where you could get into a shoot out at any moment. The voice acting is superb and very spot on.  The sound clips for all the guns and animal noises were nicely done as well.

I do have some complaints with this game as it is not perfect. The music is extremely repetitive.  And doesn’t really change until you either A) enter a saloon, B) start shooting other people, or C) a movie is playing. But the humor can be dry sometimes, and some jokes just don’t seem that funny when big words are added to them. Big words do not a joke make. Also did everyone in the old west read the thesaurus before speaking. Every character you talk to seems to have a big word for another word that they would know. I hardly doubt settlers and bandits had time to speak eloquently when facing down the barrel of a revolver. Something else I found rather obnoxious is the weather. In New Austin the weather is either sunny or cloudy. That’s about it, there is no random weather changes that you would expect in a game of this caliber. The only time the weather changes is if the mission you’re about to do calls for it. And that means that it’s going to rain. Yes the game goes from not a single cloud in the sky to raining cats and dogs depending on the mission. Also the multiplayer bugs me as well. Not only do people just randomly kill you, but you spawn so far away from either the other players or a town in general that most of your time spent is trying to get to where your going in the first place.

Overall Red Dead Redemption is an almost perfect game. It has a lot of good points but at the same time the little things work against it. I could tell that the team who created the game did their research very well and went in-depth into studying the time period that the game was set in.

I would have to give it a 95 out of 100 if I had too, but since I don’t go by numerical scores or grades let me say this, do yourself a favor and go pick up this game. I don’t care if you don’t like it, but I think that everyone needs to play this game at least once in their lifetime.

-Sibby

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