Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 09, 2012
Red Dead Redemption

Nothing but a long, rainy Easter weekend to catch up with the games in my library I never got around to playing. I started Red Dead Redemption on Saturday and have it around three-quarters complete by now. At first I thought I wouldn't get far with this game, as I had a horrible time hitting anything. I don't play many shooters, and if I play them, I do so on the PC. Red Dead Redemption is console only, and aiming fast with a little thumbstick isn't easy when you aren't used to it. But then I fortunately found the auto-aiming "casual" setting which solved that problem.

Red Dead Redemption reminds me a lot of other Rockstar Games. It's a "Grand Theft Horse" in all but name. But the story is good, and the atmosphere of a Western is well achieved. And it's long enough to include every single Western cliché you ever heard of, from gun-slinger duels to train robberies to participating in the Mexican revolution.

By reducing the difficulty level of shooting, I basically played the game in interactive story mode. There were still plenty of times where I had to retry stuff to succeed, because there are other challenges in the game than just shooting: Racing horses or coaches, or breaking horses, which might actually be the most difficult part of the game. In principle there are also moral choices to make, but I found that these choices inevitably lean towards the good side. Doing quests gives you honor, and to reach negative honor you need to do out-of-story stuff like shooting random strangers and stealing horses. You *can* be an outlaw, but it isn't driving the story forward.

Well, I had bought the game when it was already selling for half-price, and Red Dead Redemption was certainly worth that. There isn't much competition of Wild West games, and Red Dead Redemption lets you "live" in the Wild West for a weekend or so. Recommended!

I've played it quite a bit on the 360 also, but I would have really loved playing it on the PC. :/
If Red Dead has put you in the mood for a cowboy shooter I can recommend Call of Juarez and its sequel Bound in Blood. Both games have strong story lines (BiB is actually a prequel even though it came out first) and like Red Dead they cover all the cliche's you expect from the movies.

The games have some flaws, combat is not the highpoint of either game, but are well worth playing. I still remember a hilariously frustrating scene from the first game where you have to hunt rabbits with a bow and arrow.
Red Dead Redemption was my favorite game of 2010, even over Mass Effect 2 which made all of my friends think I was crazy.
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