Red Dead Redemption Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
Red Dead Redemption screenshot
Red Dead Redemption screenshot

As a result of the emphasis on travel and exploration, there are times when you feel as if you're playing a cowboy cousin of Fallout 3 or perhaps Fable 2. Hints of RPG have been creeping into the GTA series for some time now, and here the feeling of genre-blending is even more pronounced. As you ride from place to place you'll frequently run into other travellers, and if you pause to meet them these encounters will usually turn into an impromptu mini-quest (help the lawmen capture a missing prisoner; rescue someone from a lynch mob) or in what essentially amounts to a random battle. Even if the action doesn't find you, there's plenty of stuff to occupy yourself with: animals to hunt and skin, wild horses to be caught and tamed and cryptic treasure maps that consist of simple hand-drawn sketches depicting notable bits of scenery.

In town there are yet more distractions: as you progress through your adventures people will start to recognise you, and before long you'll have people openly challenging you to duels in the street. At the less violent end of the spectrum there are gambling opportunities – arm-wrestling contests, blackjack and a very decent simulation of Texas Hold ‘em, to name but a few. If you manage to find yourself an elegant suit to wear, you can also cheat at some of these games – but if you do, you may wind up in hot water. There's something particularly satisfying about cheating, getting caught, and then blowing away your enraged rival after he's challenged you to a gunfight in the street. Each of these mini-games has their own simple set of mechanics, and they all work extremely fluidly.

When you're not engaged in some form of mission or activity – legal or otherwise – you'll probably be travelling from A to B. The horse-steering controls take a bit of getting used to, since your mount behaves like an autonomous creature rather than, say, a car with legs. Handbrake turns don't exist in this world, and instead you have to learn to anticipate where you want your beast to go next, slowing your horse well before encountering any sharp changes of direction. At the same time, there's a neat system that requires the player to monitor their horse's stamina: spur her too hard and she'll whinney and grumble; keep pushing, and she'll eventually buck you off. On the other hand, the longer you remain with one horse the closer your in-game bond will grow, boosting the animal's stamina.

In all probability, you'll find a similar bond developing in real life. In GTA IV you changed cars every five minutes or so, but here I ended up sticking with the same horse throughout the entire game – I grew that attached to the caramel nag I caught and tamed in the wild. By tapping up on the d-pad you can magically call your horse to your current location, and at times I would jeopardise a mission by pausing to swap from a beast I'd been forced to use to my loyal and trusty Binky (an unusual name, I know, but it stuck).

Speaking of missions, you'll notice that I've barely mentioned the campaign so far. This is partly due to the fact that I don't want to go into spoilers, but it's also because, for me, I initially found the stuff surrounding the campaign to be more interesting than the central narrative. Over time, this faded and I got deeply sucked into Marston's plight, but I'll admit that initially I found the story to be a bit slow. In the game's defence, the plot is clearly intended to work this way: in the beginning Marston is a stranger to us, reluctant to confide his situation even to the most helpful of NPCs, but eventually the truth begins to seep out – and as the story builds, so too does the weight behind the major plot beats.

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Highest Rated Comment

guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

Quote:
my boner for this game is poking me in the eye

What? you mean you actually managed to get it out of Wes's arse!
Posted 01:41 on 22 May 2010

User Comments

ayreon2084's Avatar

ayreon2084

Video review with Miss Hungary! :P

It's a bit late, but who cares? hot chick!! :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntvWn9epZDk
http://bit.ly/c6zQs1
Posted 14:16 on 11 June 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Hilarious...
Posted 09:07 on 22 May 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

Quote:
my boner for this game is poking me in the eye

What? you mean you actually managed to get it out of Wes's arse!
Posted 01:41 on 22 May 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ SexyJams

lmao!
Posted 20:52 on 21 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

No just kidding about it man,
my boner for this game is poking me in the eye :p
Posted 20:47 on 21 May 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ SexyJams

I can sense you growing an erection over the excitement lmao. jk
Posted 20:45 on 21 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Seriously SERIOUSLY hope this arrives tomorrow.
Posted 20:31 on 21 May 2010
Marink's Avatar

Marink

It seems a lot like Gun, which I actually quite enjoyed playing. Also, I have been told to get this, so therefore I shall try and get this quite soon.
Posted 17:32 on 21 May 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Cheers Neon for the cracking review. I really enjoyed the read. Liking your style dude.

I have a dilemma. My PS3 is nearing the end of its lifespan with repeated visits of the YLOD. I have managed to get a bit of game time over the last week or so but I fear that it will all come to a drastic halt very soon.

As someone who has never been too fond of Western genre anything, I can honestly say that RDR looks to change that for me in a big way. I have two days off come Monday. I am seriously considering buying it in the hope that I may be able to muster at least one all night session before the end. Next on the list however is either a new console, or an attempt at a DIY fix. I'm not convinced the DIY methods will result in any sustained lifespan for my console though and it could be up to 2 months before I can afford a brand new PS3. I've done all I can to avoid using the credit card.

Any news of an RDR package deal anyone???
Posted 17:28 on 21 May 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244@ mydeaddog

cheers deaddog either way just free roaming with your posse sounds awesome
Posted 21:46 on 20 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Just read this review for a second time!
One question:
are there going to be cheats?
I really hope not... I never used them in GTA IV anyway, but I want it to be a pure experience for everyone :p
Posted 20:55 on 20 May 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Damn it, someone mentioned Fallout 3 and i was reading on another forum about that post.....my bad.
Posted 17:12 on 20 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ cousinwalter

It could very well but I was only talking about the similarities of RDR and GTAIV.
Posted 16:47 on 20 May 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Yea, both have gimmicks that make the game easier and let you think you're good at the game when in fact you're not. (VATS and Dead Eye if i really need to point it out)
Posted 16:43 on 20 May 2010
cousinwalter's Avatar

cousinwalter@ El-Dev

Surely that describes most if not all open world games and most rpgs not just the 2 you have mentioned
Posted 16:33 on 20 May 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Red Dead Redemption
10
Out of 10
Red Dead Redemption
  • Absolutely nails the Western atmosphere
  • Incredibly pretty
  • A huge amount to see and do
  • The story takes a little while to get going
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/05/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 518
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