Red Dead Redemption

So I finished the main storyline of the game last night.

Overall, I enjoyed the mechanics and the gameplay, but I’ve got to say the storyline in general and the structure of the storyline didn’t really do it for me.

All the mini-games and the WoW style go fetch and gather quests worked together quite nicely and did a good job of making the world feel alive-ish. I say alive-ish because, it had to be a huge pain in the ass to populate a world that size with interesting stuff and Rockstar did a solid job of it, even if it does become repetitive after a point. That can be easily forgiven.

All the controls are fairly standard Rockstar/GTA, unfortunately that’s not a total success, they work… kinda. Your character handles like he is on a unicycle and has a crappy turn radius. You get stuck on doorways, miss ladders etc… it’s frustrating as hell, and it’s a consistent problem with the pedestrian controls in this and GTA IV. *shrug* I can only assume they know about it and the issue will only get better, or it will stay the same, whatever… it wasn’t game breaking, just frustrating at times.

My biggest problem has got to be with the story, and how its presented.

You start the game by being put on a train and told “Go do this stuff or we will kill your family.”

Reasonable place to start right? Wrong.

Rockstar makes the assumption that everyone has played the first game, problem is, not all of us have. So, I’m supposed to know who this guy is, and who these people are just magically? This is storytelling 101, at least do a flashback, set up the story, SOMETHING. “Last time on Heroes…” C’mon guys, this isn’t hard.

From there we get a 20 minute cut scene, great, this tells me nothing about my character, what I’m supposed to do etc… Then, I get off the train and ride out to a fort to talk to one of the guys I’m hunting, and he shoots me. Keep in mind this is all without any real gameplay, and barely any actual player input. Oh wait, I got taught how to drive a horse. Super, and now I got shot. This is off to a wonderful start. I would have laughed my ass off if they rolled credits right here, would have been AWESOME!!

From there you get taken to a ranch where you get to learn how to do all kinds of monotonous ranching minigames, yay.

Note to Rockstar: I don’t care how much you like your herding cattle minigame, its not fun. It’s just not, at best its downright aggravating, please don’t make things like this part of required quests… thanks.

So you do all your ranching stuff, wander around, do your cowboying, choose Jedi or Sith… er… yeah, all of that. Then at the end you kill the big bad guy and return to your family.

And then spend the next 2 hours with a dysfunctional turn of the century farm family with an emo little shit for a son and a nagging wife who apparently is a terrible cook… Oh and you get to do more ranching minigames.

So, my payoff for all those hours of playing through this story is mediocraty? Really?

To be honest they actually went a different route than I expected with the ending. I was counting down the time till my family got brutally murdered and my character snapped and went on a vengance filled killing rampage, but that didnt happen. I got Young Guns-ed. Only not quite as cool, I didnt get to hide in a trunk /sadface.

My problem with this structure is that I never saw the family the character kept talking about, so I never really gave a damn about them. Structurally it would have made more sense to do all of the farming minigames and tutorial stuff BEFORE where they started, then get them taken away, then get sent out to do the bounty huntin’, then at least Ive been introduced to the characters I’m supposed to be getting back to, and I have some sense of loss when they are taken.

That one change to the order of events would have tied it all together in my mind so much better and I may have actually cared about the last 2 hours of the game. The way it played out all I could think of is… “Why am I opening the barn doors, there’s a hay loft and I have a backpack full of fucking dynamite, plus there’s only like 12 of them, I just got through gunning down like 50 US army troops, I’m scared of this why?”

Now I’m in free roam, and it’s cool. I may eventually get around to doing all the sidequests and strangers and such, but I doubt it. I have a lot more fun just wandering around the world. One of the things that Rockstar NAILED was the world, visually its pretty damned stunning. I think this is one of the few sandbox games that I almost never fast traveled in, I used a stagecoach maybe half a dozen times the entire game, it’s really just that much fun to run around on your horse and check stuff out.

The other home run is the soundtrack, they did a phenomenal job here. I loved the way the tempo of stuff changes based on what you are doing, the scoring was done very well. The only part of the game that really hit an emotional chord for me was the track that plays when you are riding back to your family for the first time. The music is spot on, and does its job perfectly.

Overall the game is a lot of fun, and I have had a good time with the little bits of multiplayer I have goofed around with, I’m slow at finishing games though so most of my friends have moved on, or are just going to dynamite me and my burro as soon as I log in… my friends are great, yeah, I’m talking about you Bob.

I give it 4 out of 5 4-Assed-Monkeys, well worth playing, if only to tie people to train tracks. hmmm I wonder if I can do that to other players on-line.

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  1. muckson
    July 20th, 2010 at 09:33 | #1

    good write up. it hit spots that other reviews may not and since you and i play the same stuff for the same reason i know now that there is no reason for me to rush out and get this game – or at least i don’t feel bad that i didn’t play it day one.

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