The Verdict: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Pack


Posted October 28, 2010 - By Jake Gaskill

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The Verdict: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Pack

Zombears? Check. Sasquatch hunting? Check. Taming the Four Horses of the Apocalypse? Quadruple check. A $10 piece of downloadable content that rivals (and in some ways surpasses) full-priced retail releases in almost every way? You better believe check.

The Red Dead Redemption zombie-themed add-on Undead Nightmare skews one of the year’s most well crafted and thrilling narratives into an alternate universe filled with mythical creatures, never ending undead massacres, and epic/terrifying adventures that take full advantage of the richly detailed and expansive open-world established in Red Dead Redemption. In other words, say hello to the best piece of downloadable content you've ever seen.

When you consider that Rockstar San Diego was able to turn one of the best action-adventure games ever made into a genuinely frightening and heart-pounding survival horror experience while still maintaining the performance and presentation quality of the original game, it's nothing short of spectacular. The acting, the writing, the animation work, it’s all, like Redemption, top notch, and really helps ground the supernatural narrative suprisingly well (which is no small feat given the game includes a depressed sasquatch and an actual unicorn). 

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Launch Trailer »

There are tons of small details that we could talk about if you really wanted to. Like the fact that the main story lasts around six hours — longer than some high profile retail games — or that there are 27 towns that you must cleanse of zombies by assisting survivors and regularly checking in to make sure they haven’t been overrun again, or that there are four types of undead, or that you can use zombie body parts as ammo in the newly introduced blunderbuss to blast other members of the walking dead to pieces. And that’s just single-player. The new Undead Overrun co-op horde mode pits up to four players against waves of zombies that would make Left 4 Dead very proud. I mean, if bang for your buck is your primary thing, you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to spend $10 this year (or any year, for that matter).

However, the reason Undead Nightmare is such an all around spectacular package, and why anyone who owns Red Dead Redemption should buy it immediately, is because it gives you exactly what you want out of a zombie apocalypse game: genuine terror but not at the expense of fun. One of my biggest problems with the Dead Rising series is that while it does offer you countless ways to lay waste to thousands upon thousands of infected, you are constantly burdened with requirements and time limits designed to make the entire experience more frustrating than fun.

The Verdict: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Pack

Undead Nightmare opens with John Marston’s family being bitten by Jack Marston’s infected uncle. After hogtying his wife and son, and stashing them in their house for safekeeping, John doesn’t see his family again until the end of the game. He doesn’t have to run back every few hours to administer pain medication or a sedative to keep them from breaking loose from their ropes. The various tasks John does have to perform, like burning coffins to clear out graveyards, or providing survivors with ammo and helping make towns zombie-free, while somewhat repetitive, never come close to being frustrating or annoying, and because the developers did a great job by designing the look and feel of the zombies (the costume design is stunning by the way), you are constantly wavering between genuine anxiety and unabashed joy.

Like Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City, Undead Nightmare also gives you a chance to see familiar characters in an entirely new context. Granted, in this case, that context is a fantastical “alternate” reality, not simply a particular criminal subset, and it means you’ll encounter zombified versions of several Redemption characters, and familiar locations abandoned and ablaze, but it works in a kischy kind of way and adds to the overall tie-in appeal of the story.

The Verdict: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Pack

The single-player campaign is clearly the star of the show here, however the new Undead Overrun horde-based mode is a fantastic addition and will provide countless hours of “Get off the ground now!!!”-fueled enjoyment as you scramble to climb onto rooftops while your friends attempt to hold back the unending hordes of undead long enough to keep you from becoming a zombie’s lunch. Sure, zombie horde mode isn’t original, but damnit if isn’t a whole hell of a lot of fun.

The DLC also adds a new Free Roam called Land Grab, which basically lets players claim areas around the map and try to hold it until the timer is up. It’s a fun little addition to the already varied Free Roam experience, which, thanks to the previously released Liars and Cheats Pack, now includes, multiplayer poker, Liar’s Dice, and horse racing.

The Verdict: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Pack

As you can tell, there’s enough content in Undead Nightmare to keep you entertained for far longer than should be allowed by a $10 piece of DLC. And, honestly, if turning the greatest western game ever into a top notch zombie-infested thriller doesn’t impress you, I really can’t help you. For everyone else, look out! Zombie cougar!

The Verdict: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Pack


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