Trouble Thinking

May 19, 2010

Red Dead Redemption First Impressions

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 11:45 am

So, you may or may not have heard about this new game coming out.

The game is called Red Dead Redemption!

Red Dead Redemption, besides being a really fun to say example of assonance, is a game about being a gunslinger in the Almost Not Wild West of the turn of the century. Things are changing fast with the adoption of rail, telephone, and automobiles. Revolution is afoot in nearby Mexico. You need to figure out how to make your way in the world.

Oddly enough, although Westerns are one of the most popular genres in recent history almost no games have been set during the Old West. Red Dead Redemption does the setting very well, driving home the changing times while delivering a heaping dose of Western style gunslinging action. Sure, in the actual old west, people probably didn’t really shoot each other for looking shifty-eyed and bandits most likely never really rode through towns shooting their guns in the air and hollering for no particular reason… but that doesn’t make it any less fun of a setting.

Red Dead Redemption is a game that basically drops you in the Old West with a pistol and a horse, and asks you to figure out what you want to do. Most of the meat of the game comes from either following story-quests by talking to significant people or just riding around in the wild doing challenges like hunting or sharpshooting until you come upon someone in need.

Quick thoughts:

-Controls are a little weird, with “pull back on left stick” equating to “turn left or right really hard”, which isn’t something I’m used to.I don’t think I like it.

-Animations of horse/player are too large. More than a few times I’ve had trouble aiming at a door to go through in a gun fight because I jog past it 2-3 times. I’ve also got a tendency to accidentally bump people or slam my horse into various things on the way into town.

-Horses are an excuse for good bounded travel, make them a little bit more nervy about going off cliffs/bridges.

-Single-player story not bad so far, a bit slow paced for parts. The opening isn’t as engaging as I’d have liked, too much slow walking and long cutscenes.

-Annoying that they don’t tell you which quests will be necessary for which features to open up. It took me forever to get rentable properties and a lasso because I didn’t do some of one questline.

-Mini-games (poker, horshoes, five-finger fillet) are all pretty fun and reasonable. They’re complicated enough to want to try out, but simple enough not to be a waste of resources making.

-Cougars will eat the hell out of you.

-Gunfights are generally fun, and Dead Eye lets you end small ones in style.

-Little side-events that pop up in the country are pretty cool, but I do wish there was slightly more meat to them, or that some mission things started from either Point A or Wilderness Happenstance B.

-There really needs to be some support for just being an ultra-lawman and arresting everyone. Shooting out people’s legs and hogtying them is too fun not to do it to like 20 gang members. As it is, the Sheriff only notices Bounties, not general undesirables.

-Because the game emphasizes John Marston’s desire to help out his wife and kid, I’d have liked if there was a little “build your ranch/whatever” sort of feature, something that indicated you were doing more with your money that wasting it on booze, but I suppose that’s not exactly a priority.

-I’ve barely put in time in the multiplayer but Free Roam is pretty amazingly vast, and high-level players will shoot the hell out of you. Should be the most fun with friends, though.

-Voice acting usually good, but sometimes not very good at all seemingly without rhyme or reason.

So that about covers my thoughts on it at the moment. I’ll have some longer thoughts when I’ve completed the single-player and done a bit more in the multiplayer. For now, though, if “GTA in the Wild West” or “Wild West” in general makes you start subconsciously going *powpowpow* and making little finger-guns you should probably get this game.

That is, if you think you're FAST enough, pardner.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Storytelling — Chris @ 4:11 pm I don’t particularly feel like writing a review of Red Dead Redemption. There are plenty of glowing appraisals of the game out there already, and all I really need to […]

    Pingback by How Red Dead Redemption’s Story Uses the Medium to Subvert Players’ Expectations « Trouble Thinking — June 16, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

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