Now, I’ve never been a fan of Grand Theft Auto games. Sure, I get one, play through the story for and hour or two, then I just give up, and head for the cheats. This is standard practice for me with most sandbox games, as when I’m presented with a massive world, the most exciting thing the game wants me to do is to ride around on a bicycle. I think the industry has given us so much, but only wants us to use a small portion of what they have given us.
This changes with the release of Red Dead Redemption. The majority of the world is open from the get-go. You don’t HAVE to follow the storyline, as there are plenty of things for you to if you don’t. Feel like hunting? Go and kill a bear, deer, or bird. You can skin your kills and sell their pelts and meat for money. Not interested in hunting? Then you can go and help a “stranger” out with a mission, whether they are looking for a missing child, want someone’s property or challenge you to a duel, you can find them littered throughout the map. Still not interested? Then you can always follow – what I like to call the “Force” path – and become either a savior of the land, or you can stop in every town you see and rob and kill them for all that they have. These choices affect you throughout the game, for example, killing an innocent person will raise your bounty, and performing even the slightest misdeed after this can cause the authorities to bear down on you with unmerciful justice…at least until you bribe one of them, that is
Red Dead features and amazing storyline, familiar to anyone who has seen a western or two. It completely captures the feel of the authentic Spaghetti Western style it is based on, with a grizzled, Clint Eastwood-esque main character, a disgruntled main villain, an insane grave robber, a hypnotic traveling salesman and, of course, a full cast of stereotypes, ranging from the bumbling Mexican sidekick, to the damsel in not-so-much distress.
From the opening cut-scene of the game, you can see the set up for the entire game occurring. While it may seem a bit stereotyped and overused, the story works well, thanks to the unique spin that Rockstar Entertainment’s team have put on it.
The game’s universe is incredibly fulfilling, with streets full of bandits and law-men duking it out, and random encounters that feature, say, a treasure hunter being held up. You can either help the gang kill him, or save him. Either way, you’ll kick off the start of a mission that can well last the majority of the game.
One of the new abilities that has been added to this game is the unique targeting system, known as “Dead Eye”, in which time is slowed down dramatically, and you are able to target either a person, a group of people or a specific part of interactive environment and let loose with all you have in your arsenal. This ability slightly reduces the difficulty of the overall game (without taking all the fun out of it), as it lets you take a few moments to examine the trouble that you have gotten yourself into, and take the right sort of action to be able to come out on the other side, hopefully safely.
The amazing graphics in this game are completely awe-inspiring, and, thanks to an amazing draw distance, completely submerse you in the amazing majesty that is the world of Red Dead.
Red Dead is an amazing game, and a perfect example of how an open world, sandbox style game should be done. The team at Rockstar have had a few games to work on perfecting their ideas and I believe that this is their crowning glory. It is certainly a game to come back to again and again, if simply just to experience the world in a slightly different way.