Red Dead Redemption (PS3)

Red Dead Redemption PS3 box
7.66 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Mechanics: 7/10
Story: 7/10

Good action and shooting

Story is a bit weak | Open world is too big

Game Info

GAME NAME: Red Dead Redemption

DEVELOPER(S): Rockstar San Diego

PUBLISHER(S): Rockstar Games

PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360

GENRE(S): Open world 3rd person shooter

RELEASE DATE(S): May 18, 2010


 Red Dead Redemption (developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games) was released on May 18 to a public whipped into a frenzy by positive game reviews from various and sundry sources (this blog was not necessarily one of them). As usual, I was loathe to believe the incredible amount of hype associated with this game before its launch, but I did pre-order it just to be certain that I had my copy on release day. This decision was largely influenced by the loads of fun I had playing Neversoft/Activision’s western, Gun, back in 2006. I loved Gun, and I really wanted to like Red Dead Redemption too, but the closest I can come is having mixed emotions.

The basic premise of the story is that the main character, John Marsten, has been forced by the Federal Government to track down and apprehend (or kill) a former gang member. And this is pretty much all the exposition that the player gets before being thrown head-first into Rockstar’s Grand Theft Horse (take a hint and stay on the ranch for a good long while – it’ll make the rest of the game easier). The game world itself is huge and masterfully rendered. I have no problem giving Rockstar credit for crafting an amazingly detailed environment. But the story, and hence Marsten’s motivation, is disjointed and surprisingly lacking in depth and drive. It is literally easier to go wandering off and die than it is to follow the storyline in this game. And to compare John Marsten to Clint Eastwood’s Josie Wales, as some have done, is an insult to Josie Wales in the extreme.

The controls are quite good and lead to few, though memorable, gaffs. One being the sticky-targeting on a wolf or coyote that runs in front of your horse’s head causing you to shoot your horse (which has happened to more than one player that I know of). The Dead-Eye mechanic is very fun and impressive once you get the hang of painting multiple targets in bullet-time and then letting the lead fly. The multiplayer aspect suffers from the same disjointed, motivation-lacking thereness as the single player campaign, but again, the world is the real draw. And, griefing is absolutely rampant online even though instances of the multiplayer world only host 16 players at a maximum. For true fun, multiplayer is best engaged with 3-4 friends who have headsets and can work together.

The soundtrack is impressive – and was made available for download to those who pre-ordered the collector’s edition. I even have it on my hard-drive and listen to it from time to time. The music really helps immerse the player in the RDR world and plays seamlessly in the background during open world roaming. And again, the graphics of the RDR world are nothing short of astounding. Everything is rendered in high detail – maybe too much detail for some of the uglier NPC models – and the world itself is indeed amazing. It takes a little while to get used to being in such a wide-open world where anything can, and often does, happen, but it’ll be worth it players who like to explore.

In the end, Red Dead Redemption is a vast, open world that offers hours upon hours of gameplay. But the story in the single-player campaign is rather empty and not very compelling, whereas the multiplayer world is just rife with higher level players ready to grief a noob at the drop of a hat. Still, RDR offers many hours of gameplay if you are drawn to the environment, or many ours of rather boring travel if you’re not. I have mixed feelings about RDR and I hope that Rockstar works harder on the stories in its future offerings. I have yet to finish the single player story, and I’m not sure that I will, but it’s still on my to-do list. And when push comes to shove, I’d have to give RDR a 7.66 out 10. I realize that I am in the minority for not falling absolutely in love with RDR at first boot, but the surprising lack of a strong and compelling story never seemed to balance out with the large and masterfully rendered world. For me, the game has its moments, but somehow falls short of keeping me engaged and entertained.


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Author: Michael Bartok View all posts by

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