So, an open-world, sandbox RockStar Games game. For many gamers that will fill their black hearts with black blood at the thought of a GTA V sneaking in under the radar. For me, it has the opposite effect. I can't stand GTA IV. Red Dead Redemption, however, that's another story.
After this brief introduction, there will be no more GTA IV
references. If you've played and love it, then you'll enjoy this. If you've played and hated or were entirely unmoved by it, then you'll enjoy RDR
. If you've never played GTA IV
or any of the series, but you are a gamer, then you'll enjoy RDR
A couple of things before we begin.
One: if you've not played 2004's Red Dead Revolver
don't worry about it. I mean, not at all. It's not relevant. At least it wasn't to me.
Two: yes, it's a game set in the Old West. Well, it's a set in the fictional Old West state of New Austin (Texas to you and me). Not so much the Wild West as the 'West that's about to become quite civilized.' It's a turning point, it's 1910. The Indian Wars are largely over (save for the Battle of Bear Valley). The railroads are encroaching and bringing the 'civilising influence' of the Eastern Federal Government.
Three: it has a plot that is not laughably hacked together by people more concerned with being seen as TV writers. The plot is there to move you through the game. The game and the plot are there to complement each other. The plot, as with all good Westerns (and most good plots) is simple: you are John Marston. You used to be in a gang with one Bill Williamson. You were a killer, so was Bill. You have now been tasked with coming to New Austin in order take your former brother-in-arms down. If you don't achieve this, then your family will be harmed in some way. See, simple. Simple but bloody effective as it provides a sturdy framework of goal + incentive to drive you onwards.
Four: the side missions and mini-games are pleasurable. Some of them are even compulsive.
Five: the morality system is subtle and elegant. Now, I loved inFamous
but that was despite its morality system. RDR's
comes with a 'Fame' and 'Honor' (sic) system. Much like the Fallout 3
Karma system, if you're honourable then nice people will deal with you more readily. If you're famous, expect prices in the various retail outlets to favourably reflect this... and vice versa. The elegance with RDR's
version, however, is that at no point are you faced with a dialogue box or huge flashing sign that demands ?Make your Morality Choice Now! This Will Change Your Game Play Totally!?. Basically, you've just got to make your call and then watch your meter change.
As usual with games that do indicate ethics and/or morality, my first play-through was as a good guy. When I say 'Good' I mean ?Flower-picking, romantic, non-whore-handling angel?. Was it fun? You're darned tooting it was.
Despite this I did manage to get Wanted status for doing unfortunate things such as accidentally killing someone's horse, accidentally shooting an innocent bystander, accidentally killing a harlot when I was actually trying to rescue her. It's not an easy life out there.
Okay, so far, this review has largely been laudatory. It'll keep that up, believe me because RDR
is a vast, pleasurable, wonderfully playable game. However, there are flaws. The two major ones (if you exclude the Invisibility Glitch
) are: John's movement and the cover system.