Red Dead Redemption PAX East 2010 PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Mar 26, 2010
What We Know: Rockstar Games has finally answered the call of many a Grand Theft Auto lover and created a massive and gorgeous open-world western in Red Dead Redemption that has all the hallmarks of a killer Rockstar title: compelling characters, a sweeping and brutal narrative, and more content than you can toss a lasso around. We got our eager eyes and hands on the game during PAX East 2010, and came away thoroughly impressed.
What We Saw: I've been hearing plenty about Red Dead Redemption around the G4 offices. Whenever someone returns from seeing the game, their mouths are agape. I'm happy to join the chorus round, though, after playing a few minutes of Rockstar Games' western epic at PAX East earlier today.
Red Dead Redemption so far feels like a healthy evolution of the sometimes contentious gameplay mechanics that help drive the company's Grand Theft Auto games. We all tend to casually overlook the fact that shooting thugs in Grand Theft Auto isn't very fun because the rest of the game is fantastic. Red Dead Redemption moves Rockstar's premiere style of game into more baseline competence. Meaning, the shooting is much, much better here and Rockstar has even incorporated some special features to make the shooting even easier along the way.
The game's "dead eye" mechanic is not unlike Ubisoft's "mark and execute" feature in the upcoming Splinter Cell: Conviction. In Red Dead Redemption, players have the ability to click the right stick, slow time down and have the game start auto-targeting enemies (you can even shoot them multiple times in different areas of the body) by pointing your reticle at them. The PAX East demo, however, had "dead eye" fully powered up. In the full game, players will have to upgrade the feature over time, starting with slow motion and moving towards auto-targeting. It's a welcomed addition to the also improved gunplay, however, for those trickier moments.
I didn't get a chance to experience much of Red Dead Redemption's world, unfortunately. Rockstar representatives let me head from one location to another, taking me through a cemetery and a mostly deserted and wrecked town, but stopped me from seeing much else. Even in those brief glimpses, Red Dead Redemption is one hell of a good looking game, and I'm interested to see how Rockstar manages to keep it visually interesting for hours, given the endless look of the desert. It's a gorgeously detailed desert, though, so it's a good place to start.
There was something that bugged me, however. When is Rockstar going to let its characters run without requiring button mashing? Can't we just hold down A instead of endlessly tapping? I'd say it's just a small thing, but in a game with an expansive open world, running becomes a critical part of making ground at a fast pace, so you end up tapping A a lot.
I have a feeling this is going to be a good one, folks. A really good one.