GOONL!NE Advent Calander 2010: #11 – Red Dead Redemption

By Will Swarbrick.

It was Niko’s walk that really got me in GTA IV. The way the immigrant swaggered, shoulders rolling, feet pumping the ground, leaning into each corner. It put so much character into something as simple as walking; you knew, right from the start, he was here to chew gum and kick ass.

So, Red Dead Redemption is leisurely strolling to our consoles, and the walk is back, albeit changed slightly. Arms slightly outstretched, large, unnatural sides, palms facing backwards, and a look that’s melt and burn butter simultaneously.

Red Dead Redemption is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. The story of former outlaw, John Marston, Red Dead Redemption takes players on a great adventure across the American frontier.

The game expands and builds upon GTA IV’s RAGE Engine, and as with every Rockstar game, Red Dead Redemption features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teaming with wildlife, and perilous mountain passes – each packed with an endless flow of varied distractions. Along the way, players will experience the heat of gunfights and battles, meet a host of unique characters, struggle against the harshness of one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, and ultimately pick their own precarious path through an epic story about the death of the Wild West and the gunslingers that inhabited it.

Basically, it’s GTA with more dust. I know how harsh that sounds, but it’s possibly the best compliment you can give the game. Everyone knows how cool cowboys are, and replacing cars with horses, cities with outbacks and solving all problems with a shoot-off only makes the deal sweeter.

RDR (it’s easier to type) has one big advantage over it’s brother, though. Think back to every Western you’ve ever seen; the Clint Eastwood ones, 3:10 to Yuma, There Will Be Blood – they’ve all got those incredible long shots of the great dusty planes, mountains piecing through the horizon in the distance, spots of vegetation littering the hard-baked earth. That’s what you’ll probably spend most of your time in RDR doing. On a horse, heading to your objective, and taking it slow. Watching the world pass by, tipping your hat to the locals, watching wild dogs sprint across the beaten path – yeah, that’s what they did those days.

Oh, apart from shooting. There was a lot of that. We can expect pistols of all sorts, repeaters, cannons, miniguns, lassos, and shotguns, all used for your actions; shoot an escaping outlaw in the foot, tie him up, and take him to the local Sheriff to get honour and some coin. Or, if you’re the sort of person who likes drowning kittens, wait along a road, ambush a caravan and steal all the goods. If you chose that path, you also get to wear a little bandanna thing around your mouth. I know, how cool is that?!

There’s very little we can see going wrong with Red Dead Redemption. Deep characters, huge landscapes, great shooting mechanics, hats, horses, a wonderful weather system and wild animals. All it needs is bank-robbing co-op and we’ll write Rockstar a blank check.

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