Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare – Review (PS3 DLC)

Following on from the stunning Red Dead Redemption, which took home my Game Of The Year award for 2010, Rockstar Games have served up Undead Nightmare – a large enough slice of downloadable content that it warranted it’s own retail disc release as well.

But isn’t Undead Nightmare ‘just another Zombie mode?’

In a way it is but at the same time it’s the best produced and enjoyable DLC I’ve encountered for a while.

A lot of DLC that arrives these days is for use within the multplayer part of the game – for example Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s Onslaught DLC or Killzone 2‘s map packs. That isn’t the case here as Undead Nightmare also features an impressive single player campaign to boot.

In my playthrough I finished all of the main missions and side missions but certainly didn’t make it through all the challenges and other fun stuff there is to do. My finish time was a little over 7 hours, which actually puts a few other main game releases to shame.

The style of this DLC is very much tongue in cheek and is set up almost like a B-Movie in tone – with a wonderfully creepy voiceover and some great music.

The campaign finds John Marston trying to help find a cure for a plague-style disease that has hit the area and is turning the deceased into flesh eating Zombies.

This all takes place in parallel to the story of the main Red Dead Redemption game and I won’t be discussing anything else story-wise for fear of giving anything away. All I will say is that it was great to revisit some of the characters from the main game and that the campaign’s story was a lot of fun.

As Marston you’ll be tasked with helping out troubled towns as well as completing story based missions. When you first arrive in a town you’ll need to help the survivors fight off the Zombies before being able to use it as a save point and fast travel destination.

From time to time a ‘safe’ town will be struck again by Zombies and you’ll need to get back to help them out – once a town is overrun (all other survivors die) it is gone forever, so it is worth giving them a hand.

Speaking of overrun the online part of this expansion, Undead Overrun, is truly panic inducing. I thought Seige mode on Uncharted 2 (in which you face wave after wave of enemies) was tough but my word, Overrun tops it. More for the sheer mental torture it inflicts as between four players you try your best to survive as long as possible.

Different types of Zombie come after you and at times there can be 20 or 30 of them chasing you. It really is tense stuff.

If you buy the retail disc or the full Undead Collection DLC you also get the previous few DLC packs which are strictly online but give you access to new gang hideouts and the ability to play poker and liar’s dice online (both brilliant) and also take part in horse races, along with a new territory based Free Roam game called Land Grab.

Overall then Undead Nightmare is a must buy if you loved Red Dead Redemption. You will easily get your money’s worth from the campaign alone but the multiplayer additions are definitely worth checking out – killing Zombies has never been so much fun!

Rating: 10/10

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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

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