Red Dead Redemption PS3 review

July 1, 2012

/ by Tin Salamunic

Developer(s): Rockstar San Diego
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: May 18, 2010

There’s something very exhilarating about being able to ride a horse on some of gaming’s most breathtaking landscapes - from the dangerous and snowy Tall Trees to the arid Mexican plains. Add a compelling storyline and one of the best soundtracks ever composed for a videogame, and you have Red Dead Redemption, released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms in 2010 by Rockstar Games.

The Good
- An open-world masterpiece set in the Wild West
- A gut-wrenching campaign, on top of an even more massive multiplayer experience
- Gorgeous soundtrack adds to impeccable voice acting

The Bad
- Adult-oriented elements may be off-putting to some
- Multiplayer can get frustrating at times - a few glitches here and there

RDR sets the bar very high for open-world games, recreating 1911’s American Wild West with impressive fidelity. The game is nothing like GTA IV, although it has similarities at its core. Players are given so many things to do, and Rockstar always finds ways to keep everything interesting. You can play poker, hunt animals, pick flowers, help strangers, duel mano-a-mano – all while completing endless challenges and constantly being rewarded. The game is definitely adult-oriented, given its thematic elements of redemption/vengeance, a very explicit sex scene and hints of necrophilia (!).

The campaign introduces us to John Marston, a former outlaw who is trying to stay away from his past. John is married to Abigail and they have a little boy called Jack. They are kidnapped by the government, which forces John to hunt down and kill his ex-gang members, led by ultimate psycho baddie Dutch. Twisted as this “imposed request” may sound, John ends up complying: by turning the page, he will be able to get back to his family and really start a new life. On his journey, John meets several unique characters, like the fraudulent Mr. West Dickens and the native Nastas, not to mention the inspirational Bonnie, who saved John after he was left to die.
The soundtrack (mostly composed by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson) has been consistently praised, and it really stands out as one of the best elements in the game. When John first crosses the Mexican border, “Far Away” by Jose Gonz├ílez beautifully introduces the tone of the new environemnt. It’s an absolutely stunning and meaningful moment, and one that many players will never forget.

TECHNICALITIES – A cover-based shooter by nature, Red Dead Redemption has tight controls and an auto-aim feature that makes the game relatively easy to learn. The weapons range from pistols to shotguns and carbines, but are all balanced. If you’re going bear hunting on Bearclaw Camp, make sure to carry a powerful Rifle. The voice acting is impressive, and there’s so much dialogue in the game - and we never hear the same line twice. The Spanish is beautifully spoken, which enhances the notion of being in Mexico. The textures look great, and the weather changes are very realistic. There are notoriously funny glitches, like horses floating, but nothing that prevents the game from achieving masterpiece status. The multiplayer experience is even more massive than the campaign. Maybe you’d like to join a posse and eliminate some gangs, play a poker game at Armadillo or simply go against other free roam individuals: the possibilities are endless, and they are all tremendously fun. Also worth mentioning is the Undead Nightmare DLC, in which John fights hordes of zombies. In this pack, the unicorn and the Four Horses of the Apocalypse can be tamed and the rare Chupacabra can be killed. It doesn't get cooler than this!

Review by Leonardo Rodrigues

Final Score “A Masterpiece” 9.5
Amazing environments and great character models. This is Rockstar’s finest.
Incredibly precise controls. The slow motion mechanics are a blast.
John Marston’s story is very dark, but Rockstar never forgets their signature humor. Superb.
No one does voice acting and music like Rockstar. A true masterpiece.

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