Red Dead Redemption is an expansive free roam adventure game that takes place in a western setting. Transporting players back to 1911 you’ll adventure across the plains creating your own story, participating in a multitude of side quests and developing your wild western character. Serving as a spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver players will trek through the blended realistic and fictionalised game world as John Marston in a third person perspective on horse and foot.
John Marston is a former outlaw who is now settled down for a peaceful life with his wife and son until the government comes knocking for his services. Holding his family hostage so that Marston will bring his previous gang members to justice you’ll embark on a journey as a government puppet in order to free them. With your past gang members also moving on with their own lives players will track down Bill Williamson who now leads a gang from New Austin which turns into an entire adventure as you recruit allies by helping those in need along the way. In time players will eventually travel to the American state of West Elizabeth and the Mexican state of Nuevo Paraiso that are based on real world locations although also feature many fictionalised elements.
Just like the popular GTA series also published by Rockstar Games players have access to a massive western game world which they can roam freely. Players can either focus on the main storyline or take to the roads less travelled to explore the random dynamic events and structured content throughout the game world. These random dynamics events include ambushes, people in need of assistance, animal attacks, ride-by shootings and much more which all contribute to that sense of a realistic living game world. In between these random events players will also find that there are a number of activities that players can complete for money to spend on new horses, healing items and weapons to help your main quest progression.
Horses in particular are central to your adventure as they are adept for traversing the rugged terrain between towns and settlements with each having their own attributes for some light RPG mechanics and sense of progression. Outside of horse players can also quick travel to particular locations provided a train line exists to connect them together. With combat also pivotal to your adventure new weapons similarly provide a great sense of progression with multiple weapons across the archetypes of pistols, rifles, scoped rifles and shotguns. With each having a different power, range, rate of fire, reload speed and ammo capacity to consider each player will have a favourite with a general sense of higher overall stat values as you progress through your adventure.
Actual combat in Red Dead Redemption focuses on a cover mechanic given the console origins of the franchise. From this position of cover players can target specific enemies, blindfire for reduced accuracy or freely aim instead. To further assist with this and allow players to be effective against the multitude of enemies you’ll have the support of the Dead Eye mechanic that in its ultimate form slows down time while marking targets before firing in rapid succession. Reaching this point though is tied to your story progression with the basic level 1 version only slowing down time which allows for players to be equipped for the increasing number of threats.
It’s not always about shooting and asking questions later in Red Dead Redemption though with two systems that will make you think twice before you act. The first is the underlying morality system known as honour that impacts how NPCs react to your presence and comes primarily from the morality of game actions in activities and quests. With low levels of honour resulting in entire towns closing their doors on you while on the other end of the scale players can get discounts and earn additional money for jobs that they complete if they are considered to be honourable.
Alongside honour a wanted system adapted from the Grand Theft Auto series reflects your immediate decisions and prevents players from a crime spree by generating a bounty on their head. Witnesses are core to this system and if players can prevent witnesses from seeing your crimes or reporting them to the authorities you’ll be able to negate the consequences. Should your bounty increase though you’ll find increasing numbers of law enforcement chasing players across locations until you pay money for your crimes or obtain a pardon letter.
- One of the best free roam games ever made with a realistic western adventure over a fictionalised United States and Mexico.
- Honour and wanted systems make the game feel realistic with consequences for your actions.
- Huge amount of activities and side quests to experience that are fixed and dynamically scattered across the western world.
- Develop your hero with new horses, guns and the Dead Eye system to grow your power level.
- Originally available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Review Platform: PS3