Thoughts on… Red Dead Redemption – Rockstar (PS3, Xbox360)

Red Dead Redemption

So first off, this is not a review of Red Dead Redemption (or Grand Theft Horsey as it is fast becoming known as) because I’ve not played it. Furthermore, like GTA in all its inceptions, I probably won’t end up playing it. For some reason this game leaves me as cold as GTA did despite the fact that it is clearly excellent. (I adored GTA’s Lost & The Damned DLC, but had no desire to do anything other than watch, weird, huh?)

However, it is Mr Moviegrrl’s game of the moment, so I’ve still seen a hell of a lot of it. So what can I tell you, based on the ten hours or so of gameplay that I’ve watched from the sidelines.

– it’s gorgeous. Totally, wonderfully gorgeous. Rockstar have created a beautiful world of epic landscapes, amazing skies, almost photorealistic in places. Seriously, it’s breathtaking.

– compared to other Western games like Gun and Call of Juarez, RDR stomps all over them. Better looks, better plot, better gameplay. Which of course you would expect, but there has been no evidence of Rockstar resting on their laurels.

– gameplay is similar in style to GTA, you have missions that you can pick and choose from as well as key story moments. The map gradually opens out to you, and you can travel easily from place to place should you choose not to take the pretty route.

– there’s a very healthy slice of American Gothic here with all sorts of unusual appetites rearing their ugly heads. (My favourite is the man in love with a corpse who looks like a dessicated Margaret Thatcher).

– you appear to be riding Champion the Wonder Horse. When Mr Moviegrrl’s horse was killed by a cougar (and watch out, because that can happen A LOT), and he’d skinned the poor creature, when he whistled for his horse a couple of minutes later, it came storming up, as good as new!

– the dialogue is a bit ponderous… it’s kind of hard work listening to them characters. This is a shame because it’s clear that Deadwood was a major influence on the look and soundtrack, and is clearly what the writers aspired to. That it falls short is saddening, especially considering GTA IV.

– you’re a muthafunkin’ cowboy! You get to lasso and break in horses, round up rustlers, play poker, be quick on the draw… and that is a very gleeful experience.

So while not for me, if you’ve not yet bought this game, the very simple question is “why not?”. And just to whet your appetite further, John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road) has directed a short film of RDR using solely game footage. See? Gorgeous…

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on May 27, 2010.

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