Previews// Red Dead Redemption Multiplayer

Posted 8 Apr 2010 18:00 by
Games: Red Dead Redemption
It's difficult to play Red Dead Redemption and not think of Rockstar's most famous open-world game, Grand Theft Auto. This much I already covered in my previous playtest of the interactive Western.

But in John Marston's adventure, I really get the impression that the San Diego studio is trying its damnedest to push the boundaries beyond what GTA IV has already accomplished.

If that wasn't already evident from the huge dynamic wilderness, law-bringing systems and gameplay improvements in the single-player mode, then it was most definitely proven in the multiplayer.

Perhaps the biggest element in the online mode to scream 'evolution' is the Free Roam - a world for connected players to explore, take on challenges and harass NPCs together.

This Free Roam mode was the first thing I saw when I connected to an online game with a couple of fellow journalists and Rockstar representatives. No menus, nothing.

I was at least expecting the usual list of Gamertags that would have to suffer the threat of lobby boredom with me as the group leader fiddles with pointless parameters.

Instead, I was plopped straight into an open world, similar to that of the single-player, and designated a posse with some friends. If you could have translated my confused face, it would have probably said something like ' I dead?' as I wandered around, shot things out of the sky and picked on my online friends.

When that got boring, there were small missions to take on while we waited for the party leader to decide on a multiplayer match. I'm sure I'd forgive myself for thinking that I had made a mistake and ended up accessing some sort of co-op. But I didn't, and it wasn't a co-op mode.

At least, not in the way you and I would define it. Put simply, Free Roam is Rockstar's way of replacing traditional multiplayer lobbies with open-world gameplay. I was levelling up my character and taking on collaborative and competitive challenges, in what was essentially an elaborate pre-game chat interface.

And there's plenty to do in this lobby. Up to 16 players can enter a single Free Roam world, who are then split into two posses of up to 8 players. Accepting invites to a posse will transport you directly to the leader's location, at which point you can tackle various side-quests as a team.

The challenges available include hunting down dangerous animals; discovering rare herbs in the world map; sharpshooter tasks that involve pinging hats off of enemies on horseback; or taking on AI gangs at various hideouts.

I was able to experience the Lawbringer missions, and it was a great way of passing time before engaging in some competitive multiplayer modes. In fact, I almost forgot that I was waiting for a posse leader to push the button.

The particular mission I played was a similar one to that found in the single-player, where you must track down a gang of outlaws to a location Marston visits to save a farmer's daughter. In Free Roam though, you're just taking out yellow-bellied varmints. Waves and waves of them ? once you clear the building a whole bunch of reinforcements come gunning for you from behind.

Completing missions in this mode earns you experience points, and you can level up your gunslinger to unlock improvements to your horse, weapons and other things. I was told there will be 50 levels to access, with menu options visibly locked to tease you into finding out what's in store.

I didn't get to see much levelling up in my play test, so hopefully Rockstar has balanced out the system so that Level 50 outlaws don't have a supreme advantage over piddly Level 1's.
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Games: Red Dead Redemption

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DrkStr 9 Apr 2010 18:35
Freee roam sounds like online mode in Burnout Paradise.
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