Customer Review

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Once upon a time in the west", 23 May 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Red Dead Redemption Limited Edition (PS3) (Video Game)
If you entertain a pathological dislike of westerns then this game may not be for you but if like me you grew up on a diet of films like "Once Upon A Time In The West" "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", "Big Country", "The Magnificent Seven", "Rio Bravo", "True Grit", "The Sons of Katie Elder" and many, many others; you're going to love "Red Dead Redemption" with a passion.

So Rockstar has finally made the break from setting GTA in the same environments and given us a Western sandbox to play with. I would suggest that it was entirely the right decision. Let me just say now that there is far too much in this game to even begin to cover it all in one short review.

As wonderous as Liberty City became during it's last outing the world of Red Dead Redemption is so very much better. There is a breadth, scale and life to Western Border States that delights with each new discovery. Gone are the purely abusive passers-by and what replaces them are characters who all seem to serve a purpose other than pavement skittles. The level of detail is almost fanatical in it's love of the Western mythology. The towns and small settlements ooze authenticity from the layout and architecture to the town drunk, ineffectual marshal, snake oil salesman, bar-room girl and self-righteous bible-basher. Every western film cliche is here and you're only too glad to see them.

As the stranger-on-a-mission you enter this world and thankfully find yourself taken in by friendly ranchers who through a series of small missions teach you all you need to know about the game world (riding, shooting, roping etc) The characters are well acted, believable and likeable where appropriate which is a welcome improvement on the usual line-up of GTA freaks. Moral ambiguity isn't really an issue for you but you can still take the less honourable path through various misdeeds but be prepared to face the consequences when the inevitable posse comes after you.

By this stage you will probably have accessed the "Limited Edition" content via a simple code entry system. You get the "golden guns" "warhorse" and "deadly assassin's" outfit. The outfit (which has advantageous properties) is provided in the form in a "unique" quest which you must undertake to unlock it. Some have complained about it not being immediately available to wear but I like the fact you have to work for it...more gameplay and a reward can surely only be win-win.
The "Golden Guns", that give more fame per kill, are negligible in their usefulness but the "Warhorse" is a visually distinctive and very fast mount which can be re-summoned via a "deed of ownership" if you happen to carelessly get it killed like I did...twice in one day!

edit: I feel I must add that due to a bug in the game some people have not been able to claim their "Deadly Assassin Outfit". While you could possibly claim that this is a disgrace and an outrage because as a purchaser of the special edition you are due this outfit I would suggest that not having access to it is hardly going to ruin or even spoil your enjoyment of the game (and also Rockstar are working on a fix a.s.a.p).

From here on the game world opens out into a totally epic experience. The first time I jumped from horseback onto a moving train and then rode atop it taking in the achingly beautiful countryside made me come out in goosebumps. The landscape is utterly gorgeous and yet totally familiar at the same time. Buttes, mesas, canyons, forests, cacti filled scrubland and cattle pastures are transplanted wholesale from every western you've ever seen. Sometimes I will catch myself letting John Marston just stand as I soak up the game's atmosphere. The sound of impatient hooves on dry earth and water burbling somewhere nearby interrupted by the cries of coyotes and maybe sporadic gunfire way off in the distance as the sun sets spectacularly behind the trees casting a radiant pattern of blinding light slivers that dapple the ground all around me. Then I snap back to reality as a grizzly bear chases off my horse and smashes me to the ground with one almighty swipe of it's paw.

There is an ever present and bustling ecosystem which you will no doubt butcher and uproot to your heart's content to bolster your finances and also fulfil a series of minor wilderness challenges. Alternatively you can complete missions, rob banks, passers-by or corpses, bounty hunt, play cards, dice and horseshoes or help out various strangers in random encounters. It all has the GTA formula but there is just so much more to do here. One of the many trophies on offer is for knocking someone out during fist-fights in every saloon. You just walk up behind someone and shove them with both hands...that usually kicks things off.

Obviously we have the gunplay to consider and it's basically an improved version of the GTAIV mechanic but with the trademark Red Dead "Dead Eye" mode. For those who haven't played Red Dead Revolver; you basically enter a sort of bullet-time effect and hurriedly target all your shots before real time reactivates and your hail of lead is spread accordingly. There are diffrent levels of this feature which unlock as you play. Initially you'll find the L2 auto target and one or two shots quite sufficient. The starting guns can be replaced by bigger and better models as the local store gets a larger stock, or alternatively you can sometimes find them after completing ghostown/gang hideout challenges.

I can take or leave multiplayer to be honest. I get bored of just killing and re-killing the same people but the free roam posse option could be interesting.....time will tell. The single player is so good that I really can't see myself spending much game time away from it.

A special mention should go to the horses in this game. All the animals are well done but the love that has been poured into creating the horses is obvious. The animation, sound- effects and small behaviours are an absolute triumph.

So the "Limited Edition"..worth buying?.
If you can buy it at a reasonable price then it probably is...but only just. If you plump for the normal version instead you'll find it's still so much fun and so thoroughly engrossing that you won't actually feel as though you're missing out on anything.
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Review Details

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4.4 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews)
5 star:
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Reviewer

G. Thomas
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: Canterbury UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 22,158