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Red Dead Redemption: AWESOME
on 2 December 2010
*contains no story line spoilers*
I can't quite possibly put into words how excited I was when I found out there was a zombie expansion pack coming out for Red Dead Redemption. In fact, only days before I had pondered how awesome a cross between Red Dead Redemption and Dead Rising - Read Dead Rising? - would be and then, low and behold, my wishes were granted. Rockstar games released this expansion pack and suddenly a world of free roaming cowboy zombie mayhem (on horseback) was at our fingertips.
One thing I will say from the off - I don't think you should buy this disc if you haven't played the original Xbox 360 title. While this operates as a mighty fine game in itself, it is in effect a game mode rather than a fully-fledged game. And by that I mean, you really need to have played the main game to fully appreciate the world that this title throws you into. Only having spent hours riding through this landscape, interacting with the characters and completing the quests do you fully experience the feeling of a zombie uprising - coming into this game without that experience simply thrusts you into a zombie world that doesn't take the time to adjust you to the game play as the first title did, and as such you'd likely have an entirely different gaming experience. For example, the B-movie horror contrasts well with the realism of the main title, but may not work so well if it's your first viewing of the world.
The game play stays the same of course, and this mode plays out pretty much exactly as you'd expect it to, which is a good thing. The first time around you occasionally had to defend a few towns from outlaws - here you have to save towns from the zombie hoards in much the same way from the off, and these "safe" zones then provide a little respite from the action and a place to save. You again have the option of fast travelling to locations if exploring the games vast world is not for you but you're truly missing out with all that the zombified landscape has to offer. Pretty much every type of encounter from the original game is duplicated with an undead spin.
One thing about the zombies in this game is that they are a cross between the classic "slow" and "fast" brain munchers, usually in the sense that they stumble around until you get close and then charge at you. What this means is that you can quite easily find yourself suddenly surrounded and it's easy to misjudge a situation. In the original game I rarely used the dead eye function but it comes into play quite a lot here in order to stop yourself being overwhelmed.
My only slight (and it is a slight) complaint is that you're launched into an already zombified world whereas it would have been nice to have seen it gradually overtaken by the undead as the disease spread. This also might have thrown up some nice side-missions too such as getting as much ammo as you can. But overall this isn't anything that takes away from the game too much - perhaps the sudden transformation feels more abrupt because of this game discs physical detachment from the original - and if you enjoyed Red Dead Redemption and love zombie films, this is for you.