I got my hands on Red Dead Redemption at the end of May but have only now had the opportunity to play it. I’m about ten hours in (and about to cross into Mexico) so I thought I’d post my impressions here. I am well aware that this game was released over a year ago but that’s just how I am with games now. Steam has trained me well and a deal or discount has nowaways become a prerequisite for me to buy a game. Thankfully, due to an Amazon Gift Card given to me by a friend for my birthday (not necessary but thank you anyway) I was able to get it at a really cheap price.
Graphically this game rocks. I was a bit miffed at some of the aliasing but seeing as this is the first real console game (not including XBLA) I’ve played in a while, I can live with that. The draw distance reaches incredibly far, there’s no noticeable pop-in, the character animation, particularly of the horses, is just so fluid and the environmental effects are not too shabby either. Of course since it utilises the RAGE engine behind GTA IV this much was to be expected. Unfortunately, the somewhat clunky controls of GTA IV also make their appearance here. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Rockstar makes open-world games where every object in it has a real weight to it, but I think Rockstar have sacrificed some of the fun gameplay in lieu of realism. I’m not saying the controls are impossibly frustrating, it’s just that they take some getting used to. Then again, if this was on PC and I were using a mouse and keyboard (like I do for GTA IV) than I bet I would complain a lot less.
Rockstar gets top marks in the gameplay and story department as well. There is a huge variety of things to do like hunting, skinning, horse-racing, gathering plants, playing the bounty hunter, etc. There’s a morality system but it’s not in your face like with some games. The story is pretty decent with very some good voice-casting and some very believable, funny and completely insane characters. It’s not as good as some podcasts say it is, but it more than gets the job done.
The score is worth mentioning as well. It’s beautifully atmospheric yet powerfully sweeping when it has to be. I know it’s weird for me to expect this but as I hopped on my first horse I immediately tried to turn on the typical GTA radio stations, only to realise that I was being silly.
So all in all, if you’re a fan of westerns, the original (Red Dead Revolver), open-world games, Rockstar or you’re just pining for a decent Western videogame ever since Outlaws came out, do give this game a whirl. It’s pretty damn enjoyable.