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 Hands-On Preview

Red Dead Redemption Hands-On Preview

By Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jan 28, 2010

Red Dead Redemption

After months of showing off the tech, the physics, and the heat effects of Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games provided me with the most important step that it could do pre-release: Passing the controller over to me. After Rockstar’s last presentation in late November -- which I noted for the impressive landscapes of Nuevo Paraiso and aesthetics that will feel familiar for Grand Theft Auto players, but not so much that the “Grand Theft Wagon” nickname is quite fair -- I was about ready to take down some outlaws and get the lay of the land myself.

Although I had the chance to test out RDR for myself, the controller exchanged hands on several occasions, as X-Play’s Abbie Heppe and G4 Editor-in-Chief Adam Sessler also tag-teamed on the RDR missions that Rockstar had on display for us. So while I wasn’t able to play every mission, I had the chance to observe Rockstar San Diego’s efforts on display.

If you haven’t followed RDR until now, the sequel follows John Marston, a reformed gunslinger who is thrust into the moral ambiguities of the West just as the US government is trying to transition “wild” to “mild.” The days of lawlessness are behind men like Marston, but in Peckinpah-esque nature, he’s being called in for one last big job.

Red Dead Redemption

In the first mission, Marston is in pursuit of a former colleague. But uttering the man’s name strikes fear and hesitation into the hearts of anyone who hears it. Therefore, Marston gets roped into a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” scenario with a marshal who’s not afraid to help, but needs some assistance of his own with an outlaw gang leader. For me, the mission served as a good display of “vehicular” navigation as I hailed my horse. It’s reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus, since you can summon your equine pal from near anywhere. If you time it right, you can even jump on the horse while it’s in motion.

As I steered the horse alongside the marshal, I found that riding seems intuitive and easy. Marston can shoot while he rides, but at the expense of accuracy. Also, while spurring the horse gets a similar result as mashing the run button in GTA, you don’t really need to keep it up. Not only will the horse work at a steady speed, it will usually stay on track with members of your party, a bit like GTA4’s chase cam.

Upon arriving at the gang hideout, I sided up against a wall and began picking off bandits, one by one. Although the cover system resembles GTA4, there’s no auto-aim to help you pick off enemies. There is, however, Dead Eye, a slow-motion effect which lets you target body parts and surgically strike them down. It’s good for those moments when you aim to maim, which usually gets you a better payout when you’re out on a bounty. I discovered that it’s especially useful when you’re stuck in a nighttime scenario and your target visibility is low. I discovered that during a minigame in which I picked off buzzards languishing outside a shootout under the stars.

Red Dead Redemption

Immediately following the bandit takedown, I rode to a small ranch, where bandits had taken the rancher’s daughter hostage. Yet again, a good chance to test out cover and Dead Eye. It also provided a glimpse into the potentially dynamic in-game moments you can get from side missions. I shot my way through several gang members -- as pointed out in my last preview, close quarters kills are rather violent and nasty -- before making my way into the rancher’s home, where the gang leader had his daughter hostage. One of my cohorts failed to save her during another playthrough, but I found that cover and Dead Eye allowed me to dispatch him easily...and shoot him in the crotch several times for some virtual schadenfreude.

Side note: After playing through Assassin’s Creed II, I’ve coined the term “squirrel moments.”  These are dynamic and random elements in an open-world game that, like Dug, the talking canine in Pixar’s Up, cause you to immediately stop whatever you’re doing and chase them. Upon hopping aboard my trusty steed again, a Rockstar rep mentioned that Marston can earn extra cash by killing and skinning wild animals. This revelation was the “squirrel moment” of the demo. Suddenly, I steered the horse toward a pack of wild deer. After blasting the tail off a white-tailed elk, I was able to skin it for cash. And no, it’s a “camera fades in on flayed carcass” presentation, you sicko. The real problem was when I attempted to skin other creatures for money. During this point of the demo, I discovered that neither horses, dogs, nor squirrels can be skinned for money. I was also told repeatedly that I am a horrible person for trying.

I watched the final mission hands-off, which features an alcoholic Irishman who Marston saves earlier in the game (and including a snippet of menacing dialogue that’ll go down as one of the best one-liners you’ll hear in a game this year). Marston needs a Gatling gun to invade a military fort. Irish knows where it is. Unfortunately, he’s as trustworthy as he’s a teetotaler and the gun’s nestled in the gold mines of very hostile terrain.

At this point, Dead Eye is upgraded to the point that Marston can hit multiple targets, and sure enough, my co-worker was able to take down armed miners with ruthless efficiency. Ultimately, Marston liberated the Gatling gun and got out of the mine in one piece. Irish managed to procure a mine cart to easily transport the weapon out of the mine and into the clutches of mutual parties. At this point, the term “on-rails shooter” took on its most literal form as Marston clung to the back of the cart and picked off gunmen while he rode along the tracks to safety.

After getting my first hands-on time with Red Dead Redemption, I’m much more excited and interested in playing it. Yes, the tech on display is impressive, but I saw that during my last presentation. It’s the promise of a vast world that’s teeming with activities off the well-traveled dirt roads that holds a lot of promise. And while some of the controls are still being fine-tuned, I sense that it’s all falling into place as I type this, and mostly for the better. I’m usually quite averse to Westerns, but after this first-run, I have a feeling that early May will be spent skinning deer and shooting bandits in the nether regions. Perhaps you should consider getting on board, too.

Comments are Closed

  • patrickct

    I shoot to wound

    Posted: May 16, 2010 11:18 PM
  • blondbeast555

    i think its a great idea that rockstar is moving on to another game like RDR. gta is great dont get me wrong i was raised on those games but im serouisly digging this whole western look. i know its gonna be good and i hope it franchises like gta haha maybe there'll be more hot coffee in this too

    Posted: February 9, 2010 8:38 PM
  • woot116

    Nice, finaly a good western

    Posted: February 5, 2010 4:44 PM
  • glanesb

    The wait.....oh the wait.
    Call Of Juarez has had its go....was a very temporary fix for the genre.
    Now if I could just wait a few months......will get rid of girlfriend, job, family.
    My life will be booked.

    Thanks Rockstar

    Posted: February 5, 2010 7:11 AM
  • kakarakukara


    Posted: February 4, 2010 5:36 AM

    squirrel moments!
    this game is gonna be sweeeeeeet!

    Posted: February 3, 2010 9:32 PM
  • Thakker

    Call of juarez meets GTA.

    Posted: February 3, 2010 3:36 AM
  • Dacotah

    Loved the first one can't wait too play the second game its going to be awesome!!!

    Posted: February 2, 2010 9:59 PM
  • Dacotah

    Loved the first one can't wait too play the second game it looks like its going to be awewsome.

    Posted: February 2, 2010 9:54 PM
  • youngvash

    ...I'm so effin excited about this game.

    Posted: February 2, 2010 7:12 PM
  • EmbryonicGod

    and then....I JIZZED IN MA PANTS. This game will be awesome. What will be even better is this tag and shoot system coming over to GTA V with modern weaponry.

    Posted: February 2, 2010 5:09 PM
  • irmoslinga92

    wow i cant wait for this game i was a huge fan of red dead revolver im excited to see what the campeign/multiplayer is going to be like...graphics look amazing...great job!

    Posted: February 2, 2010 2:14 PM
  • xxRiCkY1543xx

    This game will be another winner. I hope Rockstar is hard at work on Manhunt "3" and of course GTA "5" also..

    Posted: February 2, 2010 1:11 PM
  • stricking spider

    is good,in soviet russia Red Dead Redemption plays you

    Posted: January 30, 2010 2:58 PM
  • Slayer9393

    This is the game I will be palying for four years straight.

    Posted: January 30, 2010 6:55 AM
  • SniperZoz

    Preordered already .... can't wait!

    Posted: January 29, 2010 3:51 PM
  • 6R39

    I hate them yellah Bellay PayEhsThray Luvers *Spits Chew Juice in the hollowed remains of a broken PS3* Oh and doesnt the main character look like Eric Bana(Hector) from the movie Troy after he gets beat up by Achillies(Brad Pitt).

    Posted: January 29, 2010 1:07 PM
  • sandboxgamer

    The more i see of this game the more i want to play it i think the west has finally been perfected.

    Posted: January 29, 2010 12:32 PM
  • zenmastersamuraimonk

    im not a huge western fan but red dead redemtion looks awesome so now there are two games with red in the title that im looking forward to and that would be this and redsteel 2.

    Posted: January 29, 2010 8:18 AM
  • BigPoppaChunk

    I am totally psyched for this game.it would be over the top with killer multiplayer.Friggin possies and cut throat gangs sweet!
    Their ain't nuf room in this town for the two of us. ( spit tobaco juice )

    Posted: January 29, 2010 6:20 AM