Red Dead Redemption (RDR) is a brilliant game. While not without some flaws, it’s still an incredibly engaging and well put together story. It’s got the classic open world GTA design, fun “on rails” gun design, deeply flawed characters, and a gritty atmosphere.
If you’ve been gaming for a few years, you may remember RDR as “GTA 4 in the wild west.” That’s a pretty fair assessment. My summary would be “GTA 4 in shades of brown in the wild west.” Yes, unfortunately for you colorblind gamers out there (myself included) this game is awash in an endless sea of browns and muted yellows. While it is perhaps accurate, it’s a low point in an otherwise excellent game.
There’s also the issue of the ‘dead eye’ mechanic. This is the slow motion feature where you mark your targets then unleash shots after the slow-motion time ends. You can do it throughout the game. The thing is, except for the dueling mini-games (which seem designed around this mechanic), it just doesn’t seem to fit the gritty realism of the game. And it’s completely unnecessary, seeing as how I never used it (except for the aforementioned dueling mini-games).
Fortunately, the compelling storyline and interesting side-quests kept me so engaged I hardly noticed these minor quibbles. I spent a few hours early on just hunting animals and flowers in the wilderness, fighting off bandits each night as the sun went down. Later, I would spend the 2 hours each day I had to play RDR slowly working through all of the side-story arcs available in the game (much as in any GTA-type game.) Three weeks in I realized I had been playing this game for quite some time. That’s a good thing.
As the credits rolled on RDR I was honestly sad the game was over. Sad, but satisfied. The story had a concrete arc, resolution, and a very satisfying revenge aesthetic. Rockstar still hasn’t ported it to PC, so the chance of a sequel coming our way soon is slim to none. Still, I know there’s a zombie DLC waiting for me that’s supposed to be quite meaty (if you’ll pardon the pun.) I rate Red Dead Redemption 92/100. A slightly flawed game that shines with excellence.
There’s a lot to like about RDR, and if you can get past the bland graphics you’ll find a compelling and well written story with a fun cast of interesting characters.
Note, all images in this article are copyrighted marketing material from Rockstar. Yep, we’re still waiting for a PC port (if just for the modding and easy screenshots!)