|image courtesy of wikipedia.org|
In Red Dead Redemption, you play as John Marston, a reformed outlaw who has been forced by the government to kill his former running mates in exchange for his family and to clear his name. Marston is sent to the territory of New Austin to kill his former friend Bill Williamson, but instead it is Marston that nearly dies. From there, Marston must rely on help from a wide variety of characters, from a ranch hand's daughter named Bonnie McFarlane, a snake oil salesman, an aging gunslinger now residing in Mexico, and a crazed treasure hunter who is not above digging up corpses in his never-ending search for treasure. The main storyline is quite immense, with 57 missions in all. While there is some variety in the missions, from herding cattle to racing horses, most of the missions usually end with John shooting at a whole bunch of people. It gets kind of repetitive after a while, but at least the missions have more variety than, say, GTA4. Also, there are a few 'stranger' missions, in which Marston encounters a series of random characters and tries to help them out in some way, from giving a sick person medicine to convincing a man not to cheat on his wife. These stranger missions are a nice diversion to the main storyline, and add some variety to the game.
What separates Red Dead Redemption from other western games is all the things that you can do outside of the storyline. Players can wander the great outdoors, from the deserts of Mexico to the forests up north, and hunt down a variety of animals, from wolves to rabbits to bears. Skinning those animals will give your player meat and fur to sell to shops around the area in exchange for money, as will plants that you can pick up along the way. Also, a number of random events can occur during the game, from a person having their horse stolen or having a relative captured and hung by outlaws. If you choose to do so, you can help out these people in need and build up your honor and fame ratings. Although all the random events can be a little annoying at times if you really want to go somewhere, it does break the monotony of the game outside the story. There are also a number of parlor games to play, from poker to blackjack and five finger-fillet, which I wasn't good at at all.
The controls to Red Dead Redemption are rather straightforward and easy to master. Gunfights are quite well done here, and the 'dead-eye' meter allows you to slow down time and pick apart your enemies until the meter runs out. The hand-to-hand combat in this game is a little awkward at best, and the dueling system in this game was a bit confusing at times to me, but overall the game has smooth controls. Graphically, the game is superb, as the old west setting looks spectacular and the character models are nicely rendered. The one problem with the graphics is that you will get glitches from time to time. For example, I was in the middle of the road one time and all of a sudden a chair appears. As for the sound, Red Dead Redemption features one of the best scores I've ever heard from a video game, as the soundtrack is reminiscent of an Enrico Morricone scored western. Also, the sound effects of guns, animals, and trains, etc, as well as the voice acting, are all top notch.
Overall, I have very few bones to pick with this game. Red Dead Redemption is a top-notch game with a variety of activities to do and a great storyline to boot. True, some of the missions can be repetitive, and you may not like a lot of the characters who you're forced to work with (personally, I couldn't stand Nigel, or De Santa, among others) but if you can get past those problems, then you'll invest hours and hours of time into this game and never get bored. This is easily the best western video game of all time, and one of Rockstar's stronger efforts. I'd give Red Dead Redemption a 9.3 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you any ideas for future posts, or thoughts about this post, than either leave a comment on the blog or send them to me at e-mail at KtheC2001@gmail.com.