Red Dead Redemption – Review (PS3)


Rockstar Games have a history of making great, innovative products so my interest is always spiked when I know they’ve been involved in a game.

Red Dead Revolver on the PS2 was a title they inherited when Capcom gave up on it and after adding some finishing touches a very decent western third person game arrived.

So having had a number of years to come up with a next-gen version of the wild west would Rockstar’s pedigree come into question? Or would they deliver the goods?

Undoubtedly they have delivered with Red Dead Redemption. I don’t recall a sandbox game with such a fascinating and well realised world. The way the world around you continues regardless is reminiscent of GTA games but everything here just makes you feel a part of something larger.

Let me start by saying that this isn’t a perfect game (if there ever can be such a thing?). There are glitches here and there, with some people reporting a whole host of problems. Personally I only saw a handful of graphical glitches (someone getting stuck in a wall etc) and only one ‘game-breaker’, where I could not interact with anything in the world at all (reloading my last save thankfully got everything back to normal).

The duelling system, while great fun, is never properly explained in full.

Some of the missions do feel a little samey at times but the variety of AI in your enemies, as well as your colleagues, keeps things different a lot of the time.

The positives are numerous, for one the story, voice acting and characterisation in Red Dead Redemption is fantastic. This is up there with the Uncharted series for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

The game is well paced and the final third – I certainly don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail – is quite a bold move that seemed to upset a few people but was something I thought was superb.

There is so much to do in the world that it is crazy – I’m not a big player of cards but I found myself spending 40/50 minutes at a time playing poker or blackjack. Or horseshoes. Or arm wrestling. The list is huge.

One of the highlights for me was the handling of the side missions. You have a set amount of ‘Stranger’ missions on the map that you can do but alongside them random events will happen as you make your way through the game world. Someone man handles a prostitute out of the saloon into the street in front of you and threatens her with a knife – do you intervene? Or leave them to it? There’s no right or wrong answer. Occasionally these were repeated but I loved the way Rockstar put them in there.

A quick nod as well to the music and soundtrack which is brilliant and really helps to set the mood.

Graphically the game is amazing, with a ridiculously great day/night cycle and some nice weather effects. Some of the views from up high are fantastic and the character models on the whole are impressive.

The multiplayer is split between your usual deathmatch/capture the flag etc and free roam mode – where you and your friends can posse up and take on AI controlled (or other human) gangs, go hunting for rare animals or even just shoot some towns up and get the law after you.

It’s fun online and with 6 free DLC co-op missions you’ll always find something to do.

Red Dead Redemption is a huge game with a lot of extra distractions to get involved in, whether on your own or online. I finished it in around 24 hours of gameplay but that included the odd side mission here and there and plenty of time playing games and ‘relaxing’ in the game world.

It has been a while since a game had me smiling, eyes wide and with goosebumps on my arms at what was unfolding in front of me but Red Dead Redemption managed it. This for me is the best game I have ever played – not an accolade that I use lightly but one that is fully deserved.

Rating 10/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine