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Red Dead Redemption Review

By Armando Garcia (06/06/2012)1161 words
Tagged: entertainment, gaming, review, videogame

Red Dead Redemption is an open world third person action/adventure videogame developed by Rockstar San Diego. It plays as a direct sequel to "Red Dead Revolver" for the Playstation 2.

The game is set in the old west. You control a not-so-nice cowboy named John Marston who is supposed to hunt down a few people who were members of the same outlaw group he used to work with.

This is when the fun begins, and I'm serious when I say FUN.

Red Dead Redemption begins with John Marston going to see one of his old friends from his former gang and openly tells him to come down so he can arrest him. Of course, his old pal tells him to bugger off and shoots the nong in the stomach. Marston is then rescued by a rancher lady who was conveniently traveling past that outlaw-filled fortress and, feeling extra generous, decides to take care of the wounds of our hero.

First of all, it is a sandbox that features, hold tightly to your seats and fasten your seatbelts: Freedom. Hell, you can explore every place on the map right away; ignoring all main missions (marked by a highly visual letter corresponding to the name of the person you are visiting) and you still find yourself with a lot of entertaining things to do.

Such things include: Recovering stolen horses, saving someone from a pack of wild animals trying to have him/her for dinner, helping traders who are being attacked, finding a criminal and bring him to justice or simply putting a bullet through his balls and declaring yourself a hero, hunting, and dueling; to name a few.

Hunting is probably the most engaging aspect of the game. While it is true that most of the missions are about shooting someone, recovering something or chasing something else; Red Dead Redemption manages to keep it always fresh. Like I said, you do shoot a lot in this game (of course you do, this is the old west and you are an ex-outlaw, what did you expect? to reason with the bad guys in a diplomatic manner?) but it is always fun, and makes you actually feel like an expert gunman.

Like I said, hunting plays a vital role in those "de-stressing" sessions gamers usually engage in, except here, instead of shooting hookers or random people on the street, you can take out your frustrations stalking animals, shooting them, getting their skin and meat and selling them to the closest convenience store to then bet your winnings in a nice game of poker (Texas Hold'em).

One of the details I loved about this game is that it has a little for everyone: You can be a respected citizen who hogties baddies and brings them to justice or you can be the dangerous cowboy who shoots every enemy on sight.

Also, you can choose to ride your horse through the greatly detailed roads while taking in your surroundings (which, actually make you feel like you are present there and not just looking through someone's' window to their garden); or you can simply set up camp and "teleport" via a quick loading screen to your destination.

There is so much fun to be had in this game that I can't help but repeating the word over and over to see if I'm not actually dreaming.

Something I deeply enjoyed about this game is that, unlike most games that give you an objective and once you are done with it let you play around in the sandbox just for you to quickly realize there's nothing more to do; Red Dead Redemption gives you a main mission, and once it's done, you still have new "main" missions to accomplish, as if the game was telling you: "Oh, you skilled player, you saved the day. What? You think you are done? Here, more for you!" which is of course a fantastic characteristic.

The music is good and engaging (with a bit where they make you feel all heroic with a soundtrack as you ride to receive your reward).

Have you noticed something here? I've used the pronoun "you" way too much. I should be saying "John Marston" or "The main character" or any number of synonyms that let you know that I'm talking about the man you play as, but that's the thing, Red Dead Redemption is so fucking immersive that (except for the cutscenes) you feel like you are in fact acting as John Marston's mind in his journey; Affecting his way of doing missions, his gambling and even his drinking.

If the point of a videogame is for you to get so interested in it that you forget your problems or pressures for a couple hours, by taking you to a nice fantasy world; then this game achieves that with flying colors.
Red Dead Redemption is not perfect though, it does have some flaws.

One thing that bothered me is the marshals and police officers' strange morals in this game. Here's an example: If an event occurs that has you chasing after a bad guy, you can lasso him and drag his body through town (like Bufford Tannen drags Marty McFly in "Back to the Future Part III") to then execute him with a shot to the head and no lawman will bat an eye. However, while on a chase, go through a town high speed and accidentally nudge a jaywalker with your horse and the dead penalty will fall upon you faster than you can say "Draw".

Most of the flaws are bearable though, but, there's one in particular I cannot look away from.
In the game, one of the villains John Marston has to kill is called Javier Escuella. For those of you who don't know, "Escuela" is "School" in Spanish. So, you are telling me that the development team spent countless hours making the game with great graphics, great voice acting, music, gameplay, and a wide variety of things for the player to do, but they couldn't spend a few minutes coming up with a better name than that?

It reminds me of the game Mission: Impossible Operation Surma, whose main villain is called "Simon Algo"; again for those of you who don't know, "Algo" is "Something" in Spanish; so, maybe someone said, "Hey, we need a name for our bad guy" and someone said "What about Simon?" the whole group agreed, but then someone insisted on giving him a last name "Let's call him Simon... something".

I'm digressing, the point is: they should have at least invested some time to come up with better names. This is of course a small complaint and in no way affects the hours of magnificent enjoyment awaiting everyone who plays this game.

To sum things up: if Red Dead Redemption were a lady, it'll be the beautiful blonde you can't stop staring at, hoping she'll turn around and smile invitingly to you, and you know what? She does!

Author - Armando Garcia (thumbnail)
Author - Armando Garcia
Armando Garcia is a writer and apprentice novelist. He often likes to play video-games when he can break the symbiosis between him and his computer, he also enjoys writing short stories as warm-up and still mourns the loss of his first novel draft to a virus he swore revenge against.