Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare screenshot
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare screenshot

Undead Nightmare is one of those games that, when played in a busy office, can act as a Weapon of Mass Disruption. For starters, there's the odd spectacle of zombies swarming all over Rockstar San Diego's carefully constructed Western wilderness, disrupting the cut-scenes and generally making a mess of things. Then there's the utter racket made by the undead hoards - the wails and howls boxers-browning shrieks that attract people from the adjacent room. The occasional frustrated yell adds to the disturbance, but that's nothing compared to the excitement that greets the arrival of a rare mythical creature. "WHAT THE ***K IS THAT?! Is it... wait... no! Can I ride it? I can ride it! And it's on fire!"

Thankfully for the rest of the staff here, I've now finished my battle against the plague-ridden denizens of New Austin. The fight took a surprisingly long time to finish, however - far longer than what you might expect from an 800 MS point / £7.99 piece of DLC. Undead Nightmare gives you an awful lot for your money: a new single player campaign that will take five to six hours to wrap up, a quartet of fresh weapons, and a long list side quests and challenges to complete. After you're done with all this, there's new multiplayer material to get to grips with: the territory-snatching Land Grab match-type, and a co-op mode called Undead Overrun - essentially a zombie-based variant of Gears of War 2's Horde, pitching four human survivors against 10 waves of re-animated nasties.

Aside from the volume of additions, the impressive thing about Undead Nightmare is its sheer thoroughness. Rather than going for the easy money, and perhaps just lobbing a few new enemies into the existing framework, Rockstar has opted to completely overhaul the Red Dead experience in fine detail. So alongside the new quests, foes and weapons - the kind of thing you expect from a typical expansion pack - the developers have changed the whole appearance of their world, redressing the land in gloomy hues. There's a revamped soundtrack too, including a few licensed psychobilly tunes and even new cheeky comments for Marston himself as he loots the bodies of his rotten opposition.

As detailed in the preview we ran earlier this month, Undead Nightmare finds 'reformed' outlaw John Marston attempting to stop a mystery plague that's giving everyone a serious case of the brain-munchies. Right from the word go, when the slimy voice of a Vincent Price sound-alike sets the story in motion, it's clear that Rockstar is out to have a bit of a laugh. The ensuing story ends up revisiting most of Redemption's principal cast, and in most cases the accompanying cut-scenes are genuinely laugh out loud funny. In addition to mocking B-movie conventions, this expansion is more than happy to send up the more serious moments of the original game. Racist shopkeeper Herbert Moon, for example, blames the zombie outbreak on a British Catholic homosexual conspiracy.

As amusing as it is to see Rockstar subverting its own hard work, it's the changes to gameplay that really make Undead Nightmare so refreshing. Long-range gunplay is swapped out for a frantic riff on classic survival horror: ammunition is limited, and your swarming opponents will absorb bullet unless you aim for the head. John's slow-motion Dead Eye ability becomes an absolute lifesaver, but since your meter invariably depletes before you've despatched a fraction of your opponents, most large-scale battles become tense, hard-fought affairs. Of the new weapons, the Blunderbuss stands out as a clear favourite: a slow-firing cannon of explosive, giblet-raining doom. To reload this beast you'll need to harvest shrapnel from downed zombies - their ribs, ears and tongues - and as I described in the preview, this mechanic ends up having a fairly significant effect on the way you approach each fight.

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12 Comments

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Highest Rated Comment

reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Bloodstorm

But when most people have played the game to death it often needs something different to get people playing it again. I reckon their player numbers have rocketed with this - it's just great marketing. Sell a decent product at a good price and it's win-win: you make money and more people play your game, so you make more money.

As a big fan of RDD I'm not unhappy to see something different, with the caveat that it absolutely has to be done well.
Posted 21:12 on 27 October 2010

User Comments

scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

whether this will justify me keeping the game or not is another thing but just finding the main quest very repetitive and boring
Posted 19:33 on 28 October 2010
bigfacebrian's Avatar

bigfacebrian

Great review. I love the Zombie Overrun mode myself. Check out my review of Undead Nightmare sometime: http://no1equal.spruz.com/blog.htm
Posted 01:05 on 28 October 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I for one am very eager to try it. I think it's a great idea, and a great addition to the world of RDR.

But then:

DATA CAP EXCEEDED!!!!

Click for Image

I could let it run for the next three days and it likely will still not be finished.
Posted 00:55 on 28 October 2010
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Bloodstorm

But when most people have played the game to death it often needs something different to get people playing it again. I reckon their player numbers have rocketed with this - it's just great marketing. Sell a decent product at a good price and it's win-win: you make money and more people play your game, so you make more money.

As a big fan of RDD I'm not unhappy to see something different, with the caveat that it absolutely has to be done well.
Posted 21:12 on 27 October 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

I just don't see why they need to turn a game into something it's just not.

This is GTA with horses, not Resident Evil in the old west.
Posted 20:52 on 27 October 2010
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Bloodstorm

If people keep doing zombies stuff that is this good then I've no problem whatsoever.

Agree, cheap pointless zombies for the sake of it just to make cahs - get rid. But brilliant zombies like this are to be heartily encouraged. I love zombies!
Posted 20:48 on 27 October 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Oh look, zombies......how exciting and original.

Why does almost every game need to have zombies these days, zombies don't belong in this.
Posted 20:23 on 27 October 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11

I'm happy that Rockstar releases some good single player stuff for RDR, I will download this for the weekend, I think.
Posted 20:03 on 27 October 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Downloading tonight, ready to play tommorow, if I feel up to it!
Posted 19:28 on 27 October 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Nice, downloaded this last night. So I'll give it a go later.
Posted 19:22 on 27 October 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

Good review Neon as always.

Been wanting this for ages now and I'm glad it's really good.
Posted 18:07 on 27 October 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Awesome;
now here's the list of things I need to buy over XBOX Live:

-Costume Quest
-RDR DLC
-ME2 DLC
-Alan Wake DLC
-Super Meat Boy
-Enslaved DLC (when released)
-Limbo
-Halo Reach DLC (when released)

Why is this happening...
Stop releasing stuff people!
Posted 18:01 on 27 October 2010

Game Stats

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
9
Out of 10
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
  • Genuinely funny
  • Loads of content
  • A departure from the main game
  • Controls occasionally suffer under stress
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 26/10/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360
Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 2,471 13
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