Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360

Game Description:Developed by Rockstar San Diego, as a follow up to the 2004 hit game, Red Dead Revolver, 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 team at San Diego have massively exceeded our expectations with the sheer depth of experiences in Red Dead Redemption," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "The seamless combination of breathtaking beauty and intense action, all woven together with strong plotlines in a massive vibrant, rural environment is mind-blowing. We think this game helps to push the limits of what an open-world gaming experience can be." Utilizing Rockstar's proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), Red Dead Redemption features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teeming 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.
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Red Dead Redemption Updated Impressions

Red Dead Redemption Updated Impressions

By Sterling McGarvey - Posted Dec 15, 2009

Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar Games has already established its legacy on urban exploration. There’s little dispute that Grand Theft Auto IV showed off a vibrant world teeming with plenty of activities, but with Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar wants to attempt the same feat in rural territory. Rockstar San Diego returns to the saddle nearly six years after Red Dead Revolver debuted on PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Hopefully, the team’s experience with rendering a vast recreation of the City of Angels with Midnight Club: Los Angeles has helped sharpen the dev house’s skills. I witnessed a 45 minute presentation of Redemption recently, and so far, it looks to bring the franchise in line with what has been accomplished with the Grand Theft Auto series.

Redemption takes place over three territories: West Elizabeth, New Austin, and Nuevo Paraiso in Mexico. Rockstar’s demo focused squarely on Nuevo Paraiso. In this section, the game’s protagonist, John Marston, is tracking associates through the terrain. In an era-inspired nod to GTA’s safehouse system, Marston can save at any camp spot. It’s the first thing I notice as he rises in the morning and mounts a trusty stallion. The second thing I notice is how smooth the animation on the horse looks. The musculature of the creature looks true to form. Or, as one of my cohorts succinctly blurts out, “I can’t stop staring at that horse’s ass!” Admittedly, the structure of the horse looks magnificent. Like vehicle classes, Redemption allows you to pick out your equine partner by breed. The black stallion that Marston rides in the demo is apparently among the most powerful in the game.



As Marston rides, he encounters a group of bandits robbing a stagecoach. Like other open-world games, Redemption offers up the chance to make binary choices that affect your renown or notoriety. For the sake of the demo, Marston takes down the banditos and helps the driver to safety. I ask whether Marston can simply ignore the robbery and suffer karma points for doing nothing. That won’t happen, says Rockstar. Since there are so many ambient events, docking points for doing nothing would be unfair. Coming fresh off Assassin’s Creed II, I inquire as to whether or not he can loot corpses. Indeed he can, says the producer.

After stripping some ammo off the dead bodies, Marston rides into the center of a small village. As I look at the cracked and peeling paint on buildings, the scummy fountain in the town center, and the in-game illusion of visual heat warp, I can only jot down “environments look beautifully ugly and aged.” The art style really captures a sense of a lived-in space. Marston strolls around a market where ladies sell pottery and butchers chop up meat. Cutting over to the sheriff’s office, he eyes a wanted poster. These icons of the Wild West are a device to kick off side missions in Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption

Marston takes up the mission on the poster, which involves capturing a notorious criminal. If you hogtie him and bring him in alive, you’ll earn a sizable chunk of cash. Of course, you can always bring the body back and reap some dividends as well. During this current renaissance of open-world games, distractions and diversions seem more apparent and pervasive. During Marston’s journey to nab the crook, he spies a man begging for help. He stops to help the guy, who knocks him off the stallion and attempts to ride off with it. He doesn’t get far. Fifty feet later, Marston whistles, the horse bucks the thief, and Marston pumps him full of lead. Back to the mission. Marston makes his way to the criminal in question, who’s surrounded by a gang of bodyguards. He shoots through the other associates before reaching his man. Unfortunately, he puts up too much of a fight, and Marston must put him down, content to take evidence of his death.

Rockstar fast forwards to another segment, this time at night. Marston joins up with some lawmen to put down an uprising in a small village. During the shootout, I notice the ways that Rockstar San Diego adapts video game devices and conventions to the Western setting. In lieu of red, explosive barrels, Marston can shoot at oil lamps, which set enemies ablaze. At this point in the demo, I ask about close quarters combat, since I felt that it was one of Grand Theft Auto IV’s weaker points. The producer replies with a close-range shotgun blast to one enemy’s face. It’s appropriately brutal. The targeting system also resembles GTA4, but lacks the auto-aim function. Amidst the blood-spattering violence, two things stand out to me. The producer aims Marston’s view upward, and I notice the stars. They’re bright and gorgeous in Redemption, and I see vultures beginning to loom over the town in search of fresh carrion.



In the final mission, Marston is hooked up with Abraham Reyes, a revolutionary who wants to storm a local army fort for supplies. Marston kicks off the raid with an explosives-packed stagecoach, which he drives into the base, before jumping off. One thing’s for sure: PETA’s not going to thrilled with the amount of equine death in Redemption. The base, from what I watch, feels like a deathtrap, and it’s a good thing Rockstar has God mode turned on. Around every crevice and corner, there are gunmen packing massive heat. After shooting his way through several soldiers, Marston climbs to a tower on top of the fort and commandeers a cannon so that he can cut reinforcements off at the knees.

Although Red Dead Redemption certainly has elements that are reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto IV, it’s a bit oversimplistic, if not unfair, to simply label it “Western GTA.” If Redemption delivers on its dark, brooding story and ambience -- reminiscent of Nick Cave’s 2006 anti-Western “The Proposition” or Sam Peckinpah’s tributes to the dying West -- then it could be a unique animal of its own. As it stands now, it’s a great-looking, wide-open world, and I’m looking forward to playing it some more. You should be, too.

Red Dead Redemption

Comments are Closed

  • robberdobbs

    watch gameplay of mafia 2 and this and you see some realy good simularitys

    Posted: January 8, 2010 2:57 PM
  • Jshaw71

    I am most defiantly looking forward to this game, i was interested in it for a while, but this gameplay video really sold me on the game, and i am chomping at the bit now, and it's like 5 months away... noooo, thanks for the preview, i think this will be a game i will enjoy...

    Posted: December 24, 2009 4:14 AM
  • jdmonmou

    2010's Game of the Year?

    Posted: December 23, 2009 11:56 AM
  • Jakestr9000

    looks really liek the game Gun

    Posted: December 20, 2009 1:59 PM
  • that1guy37

    I loved RED DEAD REVOLVER. All the characters were STYLIZED ARCHETYPES of old western lore. And it worked SOOO well. Now a days when people make anything related to westerns they aspire to the old SPAGHETTI WESTERN MOVIES. Which were great. I'm a huge fan but in terms of VIDEOGAMES, I think the style of the FIRST Red Dead game was far more clever and ambitious.

    ....I hope Red at least makes an appearance.

    Either way, this is still going to be an awesome western game.

    I was just hoping for a true RED DEAD REVOLVER 2.

    Scorpion Guns FTW!!!!!

    Posted: December 19, 2009 2:09 PM
  • milksoda

    Beginng to like this more and more each time i see it. I did notice the art styling of the cover splash was all too similar to Red Steel's for the Wii.

    Posted: December 19, 2009 6:27 AM
  • TheBanHaMmEr

    @smallvillefan um this is a trailer/the game is still in development the desception wouldn't lie there is no auto aim they probably havent implemented a sensitive reticle yet...
    and this game looks SICK. GUN back on the ps2 was sick this is like GUN 2 lol i know this is red dead revovler 2 but it's more simalar 2 GUN.

    Posted: December 18, 2009 6:40 PM
  • octavalgenie

    OK.... so this game looks like it is set to be on eof the bigger titles of the coming year. and in a genre, Westerns, looks to be the kind of game that could start a trend in western style gaming. I just hope that when it comes out it is longer than gun was. an with rockstar on the job im betting on quite a long and drawn out story with much to do. I am also hoping that it will have a few episodes of DLC after the main game. all in all it looks to be great.

    Posted: December 18, 2009 4:32 PM
  • jungleman67

    this looks amazing

    Posted: December 16, 2009 9:39 AM
  • alex707perez

    this is going to be soo sick !!!!!!!!!!! cant wait ive been waiting so long hopefully online multiplayer is like gta 4 go rockstar !!!!!!!!!!!! yeehaw !!!

    Posted: December 15, 2009 8:07 PM
  • smallvillefan27

    ok i dont get it, when he was holding the gun on the lady in town while he walked up the bullseye never moved, and i also noticed when he was in the shootout at the end of the video the bullseye was on this tower then, then suddenly moved right on the guy in the tower Sterling....are you SURE about the no auto aim

    Posted: December 15, 2009 7:13 PM
  • EchoEpsilon

    This game looks amazing. I've always wanted to hogtie somebody.

    Posted: December 15, 2009 6:06 PM
  • sadmoo

    this game look"s great...lets see how it unfolds,in time...look"s like another hit for rockstar

    Posted: December 15, 2009 5:56 PM
  • cwhas2godhands

    i wish rockstar would release some gameplay footage... and i know the the trailers are filmed using the game's engine.

    Posted: December 15, 2009 5:35 PM
  • bestclipfan

    This game looks great. I really can't wait to play it, hopefully it doesn't get delayed because next year is looking like it might be one of the greatest years for games.

    Posted: December 15, 2009 5:12 PM
  • Shiztacular

    This game looks incredible. The more I see of it, the more I'm impressed. Hopefully they can keep that awesome western movie-esque feeling the whole time.

    I liked GUN but it was painfully short and honestly there really weren't that many sidequests or much of an open world to "explore." Doesn't seem to be a problem with Redemption tho...

    Posted: December 15, 2009 2:41 PM
  • MasterNoble6

    I must have said wow 20 times. so much to say about how badass this game is going to be but i wont. even the way the John walks is badass

    Posted: December 15, 2009 11:40 AM
  • kidshaline

    I am so excited for this game!

    Posted: December 15, 2009 11:03 AM
  • sandboxgamer

    The game does look amazing and their are so few western games out their when one is made i have to get it but their are some similarities to the game GUN here with the wanted poster mission thing as a side quest but i'm looking forward to it

    Posted: December 15, 2009 10:59 AM
  • shackelfrdace69

    the first one was good.

    Posted: December 15, 2009 10:52 AM