Video Game Review: Red Dead Redemption

Details: Originally released in 2010. Spent twenty-one hours playing through it on the Xbox 360. Official site is http://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption/

Score: 7.3/10

Red Dead Redemption is essentially Grand Theft Auto if it took place during the Wild West. I started playing this years ago and found it kind of boring compared to the Grand Theft Auto series. After my Xbox broke down on me, I gave up on the game. Fast forward to now and I’ve gotten my hands on another Xbox 360 and decided to give the game another try. Despite it’s age, Red Dead Redemption is mostly a fun game, though not too exciting.

Red Dead Redemption takes place in fictitious southern states in early 1900’s United States. It’s your stereotypical setting for a Western. You play John Marston. John used to be a criminal and murderer, when he later quit the criminal life, got married and had a kid. Federal authorities eventually catch him and take him and his family into custody. They establish a deal where if John can catch or kill all of his surviving former gang members, they’ll let him and his family go. John must now travel around the wild west hunting down people he once called family.

Despite the game’s age, it still looks really good. Unfortunately, it is stylistically a little boring. This is the wild west. Expect to see mostly desert wasteland, which is boring and monotone in color. It raises the issue of stylistic or historical accuracy versus being fun. It’s clear that the makers of this game did this deliberately because that’s just how Westerns are. The unfortunate effect of this is a mostly boring looking game.

Gameplay is standard third person shooter mechanics. You control a character and run around. There are various quest holders through the game. You go talk to one of these guys, a cut scene occurs, then you go on your mission. It’s the standard Rockstar game formula.

Most mission mostly consist of traveling to a place and shooting bad guys. There isn’t a lot of mission variety. There are one or two missions involving herding cattle or mandatory racing, or something else that is minor. But the game is mostly just shooting bad guys, which is kind of boring.

The controls are kind of loose and could definitely use some quality control. Most Rockstar games have loose control though and if you’ve ever played a Rockstar game, you know the feeling of being shot at while your character gets stuck behind some object and is unable to reach cover.

There were some bugs, though nothing too bad. The most annoying ones involve being teleported into an oncoming train when I fast traveled. Remember to save often.

The strongest part of the game is the story, which still isn’t a masterpiece. The repetitive Rockstar mission structure really hurt the pacing of the game. I didn’t really feel anything throughout the story until the ending.

Overall, this was fun, but boring in a lot of places. If Red Dead Redemption 2 is anything like this game, I’m probably going to skip it. Keep in mind this isn’t your standard open world game. This is a focused single player game that seeks to tell its primary story. There are not a lot of elaborate side quests.

Score: 7.2/10

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