Red Dead Redemption (31417)


  • Long, engaging storyline
  • Sandbox style creates endless replayability
  • Good gunplay
  • Satisfying weapons


  • Movement controls can be imprecise at times
  • Not much to do end-game in the way of missions
  • Online portion cheapened by auto aim mechanic

Full Review

Rockstar developers have never been known to disappoint. In the past, when they have promised something to their fans they have always more or less delivered. In the case of Read Dead Redemption, they promised a free roaming western game that would hold the player's interest for hours on end, and that is just what they presented. After the game's release on May 18, 2010, I was able to purchase it and play through both the story mode and the multiplayer aspect of the title. What follows are some of my impressions of Red Dead Redemption.


I found the game's graphics to be excellent, given the large area of detail that was on screen for the majority of the game. They were much on the same level as Grand Theft Auto IV, another title from the same developer. RDR took the good graphics from that title and improved upon them with its own more rugged western style. Aside from the environment, character models are also very appealing and detailed. You will find many different NPC bodies in any given town, and if there are any repeats they will still have some minor variation to them. Since much of the time spent in game is on the back of a horse, the player will be delighted to see the level of detail that went into these animals. The extent to which Rockstar studied that anatomy and mechanics of real living horses actually attracted a lot of attention and generated considerable hype prior to the game's release. You can even see many of the horse's different muscles working as they carry you throughout the game world.


Without giving any significant plot spoilers, it can be said that the main character, John Marston, is forced by the government to take down his old gang as a sort of atonement for the many crimes he committed when he ran with them. In return for this, the government agents will return Marston's family to him so he can go back and live the normal life of a law abiding citizen. This quest entails working your way across the American southwest and later into Mexico chasing the fugitives that used to be your adopted family. On the way, you meet many interesting characters and perform various tasks for them. These ranged from farm duties such as herding cattle and breaking horses, to more risky ones like hunting criminals and helping rebels ambush a Mexican army caravan. Some of these quest givers actually feel like 3-dimensional characters, and over the course of your working for them the gamer actually feels a relationship grow and it starts to feel as though you have a history with them. As far as story length goes, if you stick to the main missions you can be done in 20-25 hours, but if you take your time and enjoy all the side jobs it can add up to 15 additional hours to your time. That's around 40 hours of potential gameplay not including multiplayer!


The gameplay in RDR can get repetitive at times, but it is usually very enjoyable. Much of the action will involve gunfighting, but there are also things like horse races and missing person missions to mix things up. As far as gunfighting is concerned, there are two elements that the player will have to combine in order to be successful. The first is the usual targeting system employed by most third person shooters. Holding the left trigger will bring up a reticule that can then be used to direct your gunfire towards your enemy. This all happens in real time and can be done on the run. The second element is called Dead Eye. It is a sort of ability possessed by John Marston that allows him to focus and slow down time, and the player can tag targets that will then be shot in a sort of quick draw once it is executed. There is a dead eye meter that runs out with use, and it can be replenished by several consumable items or simply killing your enemies.

The multiplayer portion of the game holds the potential for endless more hours of gameplay with its many modes. Perhaps the most popular is free roam, which allows up to 16 players the ability to run wild in the entire map used in the single player campaign. There are various mini games and challenges such as gang hideouts or land grabs that players can form posses to complete. Or, they can just have fun and kill each other. There are also more conventional game types such as a capture the flag variation and deathmatch modes.

In Closing

Red Dead Redemption is the perfect game for anyone looking for a good sandbox experience set in the Wild West. It features a rich story coupled with entertaining online game modes. I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for something like it, as you won't run out of things to do anytime soon with Rockstar continuing to release new DLC content.