After having purchased the rights from Capcom; Rockstar began to craft the spiritual successor to the PS2 hit, Red Dead Revolver. This charismatic western sandbox game would be titled Red Dead Redemption and would go on to forever raise the bar of multiplayer formats, in me ‘umble opinion. I’ll talk more on that later, fear not. Now this game had a lot of hype preceding it, and I was justly stoked about this acquisition until I laid my eager paws upon it and was forced to come to terms with its blatant mediocrity. Well, I’ll spare you further vague proclamations and review this bitch.
Let’s start with the first menu screen. You will not find a series of inane and cumbersome options that take 7 minutes to navigate, no sir. You will only be accosted with two potential options; to press “A” for single player or “X” for multiplayer. The rest of your multiplayer decisions are made in games with your posse. Ah yes, the posses. The posse system is one aspect that really heightened my standard for multiplayer set-ups in video games. To hell with sitting in some boring lobby and being forced to endure some ambient music that supposedly conveys the theme of the game! RDR throws all that garbage out and in its place allows you to enter a free-roam where you can hunt, partake in co-op missions, whisper your secrets to your horse, kill your horse cause he knows too much, fight the Mexican army, attack other players at random, or just get drunk and talk like a cowboy. This promise of such freedom is what elicited that compulsive purchase on my part. There is a certain brutal joy in gathering your posse of hard shooters, bringing up the map and locating a group of nerds trying to complete some co-op nonsense, and riding on them fools with your pistols ablaze. This facet of the games experience greatly contributes to the whole “wild west” vibe the game tries so hard to convey.
The various game modes offer a variety of the types of action you would expect from a shooter game. There is nothing terribly revolutionary here, but still manages to be fun. You have the free-for-alls, the team deathmatch games, as wella s the classic capture the flag. I enjoy the initial quick-draw that takes place before every hardcore gang shoot-out! Each team is lined and facing each other, waiting for the crucial moment where we all haul leather and brazenly attempt to lay waste to the opposing posses. How charming is that? Well, I enjoy it when I’m not the one getting my head shot off! Oh, did I mention that you can fist fight between rounds? Hell yeah! You punch some punk-ass kid straight in the mouth, watch him roll in the dust, and never hear from his mother. It’s quite gratifying!
The story campaign was certainly not the main selling point for me. If you found that tripe to be alluring then you are in dire need of some literature in your life, my friend. This cliché-ridden western tale is one of the retired outlaw having to seek out his former posse and lay them out, so that he may enjoy the good life with his family. His quest to do so is laden with fetch quests as well as situations where you can choose one or another, thus reflecting upon the simply two-dimensional “Honor system” The campaign was certainly not the appeal for me in this game.
Ok, let us delve into what aspects of this title that cause me to regret my hasty purchase of this game. Well, there is the presence of auto-aim. I hate auto-aim and I think even less of gamers when I realize that many people online don’t mind it because they genuinely need it. Weak sauce bastards would much rather take the simple route as opposed to actually aiming accurately and earning those head shots. There is also the even more cowardly “casual aiming mode” that further sickens me. I’ll refrain from emitting the chain of obscure vulgarities that come to mind when I contemplate such trash.
Oh, this game is plentiful in terms of glitch bugs and loading problems. There have been so many occasions where the last bad-guy in a gang hideout is stuck in a wall, thus rendering all my time wasted as I cannot complete these missions due to the douche-brown stuck in the wall. The hit detection in this game can be appalling as well. You think you’re shooting between those wood planks, but no, nostalgia of PS2 games comes to the fore as you see those bullets ping off the invisible walls, just like in the good ol’ days! In terms of graphics, I think they had quantity over quality in mind as the structures, ground, and the bushes are all very last gen.
The weapons you can unlock are essentially the same until someone gets their hands on the uber-rape high-powered pistol that really resides in a class of its own. Now when I think of westerns I think of thundering revolvers that rend flesh to hamburger and offer no chances for rebuttal. These pale imitations offered in RDR all feel like 22. Caliber pistols and all sound like air-soft guns. Not only must you endure these wack ass weapons, but you must struggle to wield them utilizing one of the most cumbersome and clumsy control schemes I’ve suffered in quite some time.
Despite the freedom to be had in free-roam games, I found myself quickly tiring of shooting wolves, chasing down my obstinate horse, and firing off the lame weapons at slow moving targets. I cannot help but feel that this game was heavily slanted towards “casual gamers” (people with little in the way of reflexes or strategic capability) so it’s no surprise when this game really lacks in terms of excitement. I cannot recall my heart rate ever increasing, standing up as I was playing, or maniacally cursing with joy or frustration, as I have been known to do with other, more competent, games.
The Judgement: Rent
Dear Buyer; beware the siren call of the sandbox western that makes the sweetest promises of open-world freedom. I know the ideas the game represents are truly fascinating, right? Rockstar has proven themselvesto be a more than competent set in the past, right? Well, do not fall victim to the shapeless hype-ghoul and refrain from buying this one without a little hands-on research! Mayhap you need that auto-aim and love tedious fetch quests, then this game would be a comfy fit right in your collection. At times the joy of being an inebriated asshole can help me to overlook the games blatant flaws and seems to a fun experience, but that’s just me and I can see more serious gamers absolutely hating this one. So take into account what you have learned here and tread carefully, my ninjas!
Joseph Bryant – SwiftGlassEater