It was embarrassing. There I was, sitting in the front room on my own with a massive grin on my face. My XBox was loading Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare and all of a sudden I shouted “Zombie Cowboys Bitches!”
I'm not proud of it. I'm a fully grown man for Christ's sake. But just the idea of returning to the world that I fell in love with earlier in the year only to find it covered with my favourite type of monster was enough to turn me into a child.
I did, however, have my reservations. It's so easy to have a cool concept and fail to deliver, and with this being downloadable content I worried about the amount of effort that would actually be put into it. Within moments any premonitions I had were killed. They rose from the dead at one point but I have my trusty rifle to blow their heads off again.
From the opening cutscene, Undead Nightmare
lays out its intentions for all to see. The main goal here is to make you laugh, and it'll have you doing that from the start. It's full of tongue-in-cheek dark humour that would feel out of place in any zombie film but sits right at home in the world of Red Dead
. It's rare that a game will genuinely make me giggle but as Marston told his son off for trying to eat his mother I'm not sure many straight faces could be kept.
John Marston is still a fantastic character by the way. His reaction to the apocalyptic world around him adds to the overall tone. The fact that the dead have risen and are roaming the earth for human flesh just seems like another problem for him to overcome. It's as if he's run out of toilet paper just before needing the king of all shits.
So, the adventure begins. After seeing his family eat each other and turn into zombies, John pops out into the Wild West to see what all the fuss is about. Turns out, humanity is fucked. So, off he trots around the familiar landscape to meet some old familiar friends. Which put quite simply, is a joy.
I found myself completely obsessed with finding out what had happened to the friends I had made during my time with the main game. Each is introduced via a cutscene that goes above and beyond what it should do. All are well written and directed. In fact, after the first, I looked forward to each one and was rarely disappointed. It's a shame then that it seems between them, mainly because there is an age between them.
One of the most common criticisms of the main game was directed at the amount of travelling you had to undergo. Those who hated that aspect will be further disappointed here. From the very start you are asked to travel all over the fully unlocked map in order to progress the story; after the hours put in previously, it does get a little tiring again.
Rockstar has tried to make each journey more interesting, with random encounters with struggling strangers, to Zombie ridden towns to save. Unfortunately these distractions can sometimes get in the way. Not all are worth while taking part in, and those that aren't simply slow your journey down, adding some frustration.
She's Lost Control
That's not the only frustration to be found here either. The control system hasn't been improved over the original. Red Dead Redemption
controlled fine until you were inside a building where your enemies were close. With the main objective of a zombie being to get close enough to bite, it feels like the controls could have done with a bit of work.
Turning on the spot is almost impossible, which is a pain when surrounded. Close range shooting can also be inconsistent, with Marsden occasionally taking control, shoving a gun in a zombie's face and blowing its head off. However, sometimes he'll decide not to do that but instead he'll take shots at a zombie who is 200 yards away - while he gets his toes bitten off.