Features// Read Dead Redemption

Posted 11 Jun 2010 17:37 by
Companies:
Games: Red Dead Redemption
Our initial review of the single-player campaign in Red Dead Redemption was glowing. So, I thought, this is getting too sugary. SPOnG is going soft.

Let's invite some other people in to look over the game in offline ? and online. Let's get a second opinion.

With this in mind we've invited David Turners of Joypod fame, and Mat Murray of SPOnGCast fame to share their thoughts.

First up, David Turners...

When I first looked into Red Dead Redemption as a potential purchase it wasn't down to its single-player. At the time, I was spending most of my gaming hours in front of Left 4 Dead and Battlefield Bad Company 2. I just didn't have the thirst for a single-player campaign.

I did, however, like the idea of my friends and me trotting through the Wild West, discovering new landscapes, people and missions. Working together to build up each other's experience points to unlock better guns and take on any fool that happened to stand in our path.

I wanted my posse to be feared across the West by gamers and NPCs alike. So, after watching the first Red Dead Redemption multiplayer promo video, my excitement was in overload. It was as if Rockstar had found my 'buttons' and wanted to push every single one of them repeatedly until a party popper went off in my underwear.

So, when SPOnG asked me to write up my experiences I was more than happy to do so. I was looking forward to telling tales of how my friends were the meanest cowboys since Marty McFly; of the trouble we got into with the law and how it made me feel like a kid again. Unfortunately, I can't. I didn't feel like a kid. I felt cheated.

This has been the hardest article I have ever had to write. I love Red Dead Redemption. The single player is one of the single greatest gaming experiences I've had since GTA3. I find it hard to be negative about a game I have enjoyed so much but in terms of my online expectations, I have to be.

When I was first dropped into an online game, I invited my friends to come and join me and within moments they were in the game. We met up in the middle of the desert all on donkeys and tried to navigate our way through the menu system in order to join up as a posse. This was the first thing that disappointed me.

The menu system in RDR online is set up as though Rockstar wanted to hide all of the features you'll use the most as much as they can. Nothing is easily accessed, and when you have a free flowing un-pausable gaming experience this can be frustrating. I don't want to have to hit pause and go through a set of menus to invite someone to my posse while my horse slowly gallops into a pack of hungry cougars. I do of course understand that the game must keep flowing while selecting these options. However, if there was a more direct and easy way to do these tasks then I could control my horse while sending out my invites. See Burnout Paradise for example, with everything accessible by a quick tap on the d-pad.

My posse and I then decided to see what tasks we had on offer in order to upgrade our characters and unlock new weapons and mounts. We opened up our journal and checked the tasks. Why these couldn't have scrolled along the bottom of our screen in order to keep us interested in these missions is beyond me but I'll let it slide.

?Kill 5 birds? the journal demanded, and that we did. ?Kill 5 Rabbits? it then barked, and off we went. Before we knew it we had unlocked new weapons, characters and even a horse! Fantastic, I could finally get rid of this god awful donkey. It was time to upgrade my character.

Here lies my second major criticism. In order to use anything that you have unlocked, you have to exit the current game session you are in. You enter a menu, upgrade your character and, when you are done, you get dropped into a completely new and empty game. You have to be invited back into the game session to meet up with your buddies again. That will only work if someone hasn't taken your place in the public game you had left - which they will, forcing all of your mates to start a new game just to be together.
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