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Review: Red Dead Redemption

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Red Dead Redemption Review

Rockstar gets it’s chaps on for an epic, Wild West shoot-out.

But with GTA available cheaply, is this new twist on the sandbox genre worth a fistful of dollars?

Uber-game developers Rockstar have a strong recent track record, with the multi-million Grand Theft Auto series redefining recent gaming.

However, some of us were slightly disappointed in GTA IV – ‘not quite the game we wanted’ tending to be the feedback. Whilst the DLC packs gave it back some street cred, expectations were set very high on this new take on the genre. Could Rockstar come out all guns blazing with Red Dead Redemption?

The answer is an overwhelming ‘yee haw’. Based strongly on the GTA engine and style of gameplay, Red Dead Redemption somehow manages to feel remarkably fresh and original.

Red Dead Redemption Screenshot 1Set at the turn of the 20th Century, the American Wild West is brilliantly brought to life – from the Sergio Leone-inspired music to the way your horse moves, this game oozes class. Taking on the role of former gunslinger turned family man John Marston, you’re forced out of retirement into taking down your former amigos & partners in crime.

Graphically, this is a real step-forward from previous games, with superb voice acting and a suitably adult storyline as is the norm from Rockstar. They’ve spent time tweaking and fine tuning the GTA control system too – adding in some cool new options such as ‘Dead Eye’ (where you can slow down time to practice your sharp shooting) and a clever fame / honour system – which tailors your gaming experience depending on how far you want to stray from the law.

The sense of freedom is awesome: panoramic scenery of the American frontier giving a huge scale straight out of the box in the addictive single player mode. The variety of tasks, side missions, mini-games, upgradeable skills, unlockable new outfits and a vast range interactive characters mean you never feel lost or without something new and exciting to do. One minute you’ll be searching for treasure followed by a game of poker at a local saloon, the next you’ll be herding cattle and taking out the gangs threatening local law & order. If you grew up loving cowboy films, then you’ll adore this game.

Red Dead Redemption Screenshot 2Value for money is immense then – and we haven’t even touched online yet. One of the main features we’ve been looking forward to at Gamecrawler is getting into a posse and ‘taking it’ to other crews online – whether it’s going on a wild animal hunt, gunning down fugitives for a bounty or duking it out with rival posse across various ‘capture the bag’-type scenarios.

Free roam allows you to explore the vast map and bring justice (or cause chaos) at your leisure. The Rockstar Games ‘Social Club’ is yet another cool way of encouraging an online community with secret unlocks / prizes in game (eg exclusive outfits, challenges and Avatar outfits). Nice work guys.

So….all things considered we’ve aimed our six-shooters at the game and have the following verdict on it’s overall value for money:

Graphics – some of the best we’ve seen 9/10
Music – subtle and high quality 9/10
Gameplay – variety is king here 10/10
Longevity – a likely Modern Warfare 2 beater 9/10
Online – much improved on GTA but not perfect 8/10

Overall, Red Dead Redemption is likely to be a game you won’t be able to put down. Good deals can be had right now, but if you’re watching the pennies then make sure you set up a Gamecrawler Price Watch for about £30 – you’ll be thanking us as you ride off into the sunset.

Paul @ Game Crawler

Zavvi have a special Red Dead Redemption promotion running, so avoid the cowboys and check it out.

Red Dead Redemption
Platforms: Xbox 360 & Playstation 3
Version Reviewed: Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now

Review Overview: “Get your six-shooters ready for one of the gaming highlights of the year. Buy this now, partner!”

Overall Score: 9/10

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 5:46 pm and is filed under General Gaming, Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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