Friday, May 21, 2010

Red Dead Redemption

I never played Red Dead Revolver, the first title in what I assume is now a series. I skipped waiting line at PAX East because I wasn't interested enough to stand around to see one game. When asked to pre-order at my local game store brick and mortar, I rolled my eyes and told them I'd wait for a demo. Despite my efforts to turn away Red Dead's advances though, it has won me.

The first salvo across my bow came in the form of a multiplayer trailer Monday night care of Penny Arcade. The second and final strike came Tuesday morning when a wave of stellar reviews washed over me. Even though I am mid stream in a play through of Bio Shock 2, I went Tuesday night to pick up Red Dead. I've since shelved Bio Shock for a later date and fallen head over heals for an open world western.

What the game does best so far is nail the sense of place. Sure the story is good, the voice acting is great, the controls are spot one, but the environment is the big seller here. Trotting out of town at midnight on my horse reveals an expansive sky filled with stars and a sense of loneliness that is palpable. Where some games might attempt this they usually fall short and end up feeling lifeless. The foliage, wildlife and ever changing terrain keep Red Dead out of this rut. It is simply beautiful to play.

Since I have not finished it yet, I won't ramble to long here, but will take a moment to recount some of the great moments I have experienced. The single player core missions are fun, but also scripted to a certain degree. What I have enjoyed most so far are the random encounters I have come across:

  • A man being chased by a pack of wolves, screaming for his life, only to be saved by some quick sharp shooting on my part.
  • Coming across and overturned stage coach, a hobbled lawmen and two prisoners attempting to escape on foot. I chased down and shot the first prisoner in the back and lassoed the other and dragged him back to the injured guard.
  • Another broken down stage coach, which saw highway men ambushing a farmer. Two shots center mass for the first bad guy and a bullet in the head for the other. The farmer took off after his escaped horse following my rescue.
  • A man and woman spill out of the local saloon, the woman screaming for some one to help her. The man seems to be in the process of what will eventually be a rape. In an attempt to shoot the man, I fire wildly and accidentally kill them both. On lookers scream out and call the local authorities before I explain my good intentions. My horse meets me half way out of town and I escape into the country side.
  • Two miles outside of town I see a gentleman attempting to flag me down on the side of the road. I pull up just short of him and he explains that a group of men are attempting to hang his friend. When we arrive the man is hanging from a noose kicking and grasping at his neck. My first shot should have been the rope, but instead I kill the bandits. By the time I shoot him down from the tree it is too late. The man who waved me down falls to his knees weeping over his now dead friend. I feel awful and wish I could offer condolences, but there is no button press for that.
  • After midnight I leave the bar to head to my room and step into the middle of the street where bandits are shooting wildly on horse back. Attempting to be a hero I walk out in front of them and I am trampled to death.
Moments like these, the county side and the perceived joy I will get from the multiplayer and forthcoming co-op pack are putting this game at the top of my list for 2010. That's right Mass Effect 2, you better watch your back!

2 comments:

Crystal said...

Sounds like a good game, but poor old Bioshock 2 :(

Wreck said...

I'll love it again one day.

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