Red Dead Redemption Review
The game's story missions start you off slow and easy, and serve to teach you a lot of the game's mechanics like riding, shooting, and lassoing. Before long you'll get into the meat of things, with story missions are that are varied and interesting, touching on just about every Western theme and situation that you can think of, and then some. But it's not just the story missions that are fun – the entire living, breathing state of New Austin is a constant source of random encounters and things to do. You might be riding down a dusty trail and hear gunfire from bandits trying to hijack a stagecoach, hear the screams of a woman being kidnapped, or witness a thief trying to steal a horse. You can also hunt game for skins and meat, gather herbs to sell in town, search for hidden treasure, or try your luck at a number of gambling games such as poker, blackjack, and liar's dice. Or you can simply go exploring the massive game world to see what lies out in the badlands. You're never lacking for things to do and it's very easy to get lost in the game for hours at a time.
The floaty cars and clunky shooting mechanics of the GTA games are not issues in Read Dead Redemption. The former is not really a problem because there are very few cars around in 1911 and the developers have managed to make the experience of riding a horse in the game both smooth and intuitive. Aiming and firing weapons work more like you'd expect them to in a shooter than the way they did in GTA IV, and the game's cover system works well. Also, the better that you shoot, the more deadeye power you'll accumulate. This power drives the game's deadeye feature which slows down time and allows you to pinpoint your shots right on target. When you stop deadeye time or run out of power for it, you'll fire your weapon off rapidly and automatically hit every point you painted while in deadeye mode. This mode is particularly helpful when trying to disarm a foe with a well-placed shot or when trying to hit a fleeing rabbit while you're on horseback.
There's a lot to see and do in the single player game, but Red Dead Redemption gives you even more bang for your gaming buck with a deep and interesting multiplayer game as well. Rather than starting you off in a lobby of some sorts, when you enter the multiplayer game you're in Free Roam mode. This mode takes place on the same large map that the single player games does, and you're free to do whatever you like with the other players in your instance. You can all shoot it out, or form posses to work together to bring down an outlaw or take on a gang holed up in a ghost town. All of your actions will earn you experience, allowing your online character to level-up and making more skins, mounts, and weapons available to you. You can also jump out of Free Roam and into more traditional multiplayer matches that are similar to death match or capture the flag game types, both free-for-all and team-based. These matches begin with a showdown which places all of the players in a circle with weapons drawn and then lets the mayhem begin. There's plenty enough content on the multiplayer side to keep you busy for a while. It would have been nice if the game had let you create the look of your character instead of forcing you to select from a stock collection, although that collection does grow as you level up. And that burro you're forced to ride as your first mount is rather cool to the noob who just entered the game and is trying to get his/her feet wet.
My only complaints with the game are relatively minor in that they didn't hurt my overall enjoyment of it. Horses are a bit difficult to control in tight spaces and when you need to make a tight turn, and why is water deadly to you and your horses? I wouldn't mind if it was simply a matter of not letting you cross large bodies of water, but I died a few times traipsing across or accidentally falling into what looked to be mere creeks and developed a severe case of in-game hydrophobia as a result. Lastly, some gamers may be disappointed to hear that the game is not too challenging. All of the missions are relatively easy to accomplish, so if you're looking for challenge more than for story and immersion you may not like the game as much. Personally, I would have preferred more challenge, but overall I found the game to be so much fun that I was able to looked past that.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 94%. A true western epic.